“It’s a Petite Syrah.”
It looks good. May I have a sip? Maybe I’ll order the same thing.”
“Why don’t we get a second glass from the waitress and I’ll happily share.”
“Do you have a cold?”
“Not at all. I have food allergies. I’m severely allergic to nuts and fish. If you take a sip of my wine and say, you ate salmon today, I could be in trouble when I then take a sip after you.”
“Wow. I did have salmon for lunch and some cashews this afternoon. I’ll just order what you’re having. So, what else should I know about your food allergies?
Natural openings to have The Talk about your dietary needs in a clear and confident way happen all the time. Even on a date with someone new. And you can make it an easy part of the conversation.
This vignette happened just before Christmas with a new guy. He asked to take me out to dinner for our first date so I suggested a restaurant that I’d been to often. I know this resto group has a food allergen policy in place and the food is yummy. (It was 5 Napkin Burger and here’s my list of other NYC spots.) I had arrived early and ordered a glass of wine.
That glass of wine gave him an entre to share something with me – my taste in wine. Also, it’s an intimate act to share food or drink with someone so by asking to share my glass he was showing me his romantic interest as well – both clear signals.
I didn’t want to shoot down those signals but as I do need to keep myself safe, I opted for a “Yes, let’s share” option that was still safe for me – a second glass.
He took what could have felt like a rebuff, “I don’t want to share my glass with you”, and asked for more information: "Do you have germs? Is that why you don’t wish to share?"
This was a perfect chance to reassure him that I don’t have germs and, generally, I’m happy to share. My version of sharing included a new piece of information: I have a serious medical need which necessitate some extra steps for my safety and I’m clear on how to execute those steps.
He received that information as it was intended and after that one sentence he now understood that drinking from my glass was out and that in order to move forward with me on an intimate level, he needed more information about my medical needs.
Such a simple seeming conversation but the transaction was deep.
Next up: he asks to cook me dinner (and I let him).
Have you had The Talk lately with someone new?