The year is 2019. All across the world, men and women are scared to acknowledge the idea of dating. “Hanging out” seems to be a favored term, making the allergy conversation oh so much more difficult.
Hanging out. As friends? As more? As a maybe if you don’t bore me in the first hour? He already knew about my allergies, but not the severity/extent of them. Having the conversation before our (maybe) date was going to be a bit tricky.
Panicked about how this was going to go, I anxiously sat on it for a bit before group texting my mom and sister:
How do I tell him to not eat my allergens so he can maybe kiss me?
After much deliberation, back and forths, and reassurance my "cooler than me" sister would send a similar message, I finally crafted the “perfect” texts:
So kinda weird request but get used to it if we’re going to be hanging out lol
Can you not eat *ALLERGENS* tomorrow? Since my asthma’s been so bad I have to be super careful and make my friends not eat those things if they want to hang out with me haha
I clicked send and immediately regretted ever agreeing to go out with him. But let’s take a minute to really dive into this text here. If you’re not being set up or meeting off an app, how do you really know if it’s a date? While the unknown seems exciting and fun under normal circumstances, it just creates more confusion when someone needs to avoid an entire food group if they do plan on dating you.
Past boyfriends have been my friends first, where they fully understand the extent of my food allergies and the severity. It was easy to know when we were crossing the line of friendship, and since we were already comfortable with one another, they felt confident enough to text me any ingredients or products they were concerned about.
Now, I wasn’t going into this expecting or telling him to kiss me, which is why I went with the line about my friends avoiding my allergens. I wanted to have the “normal” dating experience, where everything could happen naturally and if we were to kiss, I wouldn’t have to interrupt that lean in moment by grilling him on his snacks that day.
From there it unfortunately only gets more complicated. I told him and he agreed, but it’s hard enough for me to keep track of what contains my allergens. How will this guy know just casually going through his day? And what about the drinks later? Do I ask him what he’s getting to make sure it isn’t an alcohol containing my allergens? For those wondering, he ordered a beer. Fine for me and my gluten intolerance, a nightmare to some of my readers. Once again, everyone’s allergies and ideal situations in this food allergy world are totally different.
Ultimately, things went well. Mid-date he brought up how he carefully avoided my allergens that day, not making a big deal, but more in a reassuring way. I thanked him, a response that seemed normal, but in my head I realized I was thanking him for saying my life was more valuable than his snack choice. It was a huge relief to have everything out there, and although I kept a few of my lesser allergies a secret on the first date, it was a huge relief to have my allergies clearly stated before the night even started. I didn't have to worry all night when the topic would come up or play a million scenarios through my head about exactly what I'd say. It was just out there.
Moral of the story, it’s better to get it out there from the beginning. If he (or she) is going to be a complete jerk about food allergies and keeping you safe, you might as well know and spend your time on better people. Trust me, I’m fully acknowledging it’s easier said than done. And until I find my perfect man, I'll just keep hanging out with my favorite guys.