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The Advice Goddess: August 2019
Tuesday, 06 August 2019 22:25

The filet of the land

Syndicated Columnist

I’m a 36-year-old single man. I see buying a woman dinner as a nice part of courting. Lately, however, women keep pretending to be interested in me only to vanish after I’ve taken them out for an expensive dinner. How can I avoid women who just want to use me as a meal ticket?

— Duped


A first date should be an opportunity to get acquainted -- with you, that is, not wine from Napoleon’s private stock and steak from a cow that attended French boarding school.

 Welcome to the “foodie call” — a woman dating a man she isn’t attracted to in order to get a free meal. Social psychologist Brian Collisson and his colleagues surveyed heterosexual women to see whether they’d deceived men to get free eats. 

Though the women “generally” rated foodie calls as unacceptable, about a quarter to a third of the women they polled reported engaging in a foodie call.

 Helpfully, Collison and his team found that there’s a particular type that tends to milk men out of meals, and it’s women who scored high in the “dark triad.” 

This is a three-pack of antisocial personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism (named for Niccolo Machiavelli, author of “The Prince”).

 Machiavellianism involves a tendency to manipulate and deceive others for personal gain. Psychopathy is marked by a lack of empathy and remorse.

The researchers note that people who score high in it are unlikely to consider their date’s perspective and “the intense negative emotions” that come from being led on. 

And finally, there’s narcissism. Narcissists are self-adoring, self-focused, entitled creeps who tend to be “socially adept.” (“All the better to separate a man and his disposable income, my dear!”)

As for how to filter out the gourmet grifters, I always advise that first dates (and maybe even second dates) should be three things: cheap, short and local.

I write in “Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say the F-Word” that you should meet for happy hour drinks or coffee for an hour or two — at most. 

“This helps keep things from going too fast (a big source of misery and resentment).” 

Additionally, “If a date turns nightmarish, it will at least be a Hobbesian nightmare: nasty and brutish but also short.” 

Finally, and more to the point of your question, it’s pretty hard to feel taken for a ride on a coffee date: “Man, did she ever play me for that double decaf latte!”
(c.) 2019, Amy Alkon, all rights reserved. Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ( Weekly radio show:


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