Lettuce give it a chance! Almost a third of meat eaters would not consider dating a vegetarian
21:50 GMT, 6 July 2012
While most singles consider looks, personality and career ambition among the top most important qualities for a potential partner, for some, eating habits can make or break a relationship.
According to recent survey, Love Bites, 30per cent of meat eaters said they would not date a vegetarian or vegan.
Today.com and Match.com polled 4,000 singles and found that sharing a common passion for food was a top priority for carnivores while vegetarians were far less bothered by their mate's culinary preferences.
Hunter gatherer: A recent survey of singles' dating habits found that 30per cent of meat eaters would not go out with a vegetarian or vegan
Biological anthropologist and Match.com's chief scientific advisor, Dr Helen Fisher, attached many theories to the discovery, many of which are rooted in man's evolutionary background.
First and foremost is that sharing food is a ritual central to all members of the animal kingdom.
She explained on Today.com: 'It's so common in the animal world to give food for sex that it's called the nuptial gift. Mankind's first luxury was meat, and when carnivores share food – what they are sharing is this luxury.
'It's more than just cultural, it's instinctual.'
In today's society, vegetarians and vegans get a bad rap for being picky eaters, a trait by which 66per cent of respondents to the survey admitted to being turned off.
Dr Fisher expanded: '[Vegetarians] are advertising a particular lifestyle, that they are high-maintenance. Their needs require others to bend – even if their philosophy may be a healthy philosophy.'
Though activists and environmentalists are working hard today to change the way people source their food and think about meat consumption, many carnivores still see a vegetarian diet as emasculating, she suggested.
'I think in a lot of cultures it would be considered less manly – men used to bring home the meat, they were the hunters,' she reasoned, adding: 'If you came in carrying a potato versus a hunk of gazelle, it made a difference.
'Men used to bring home the meat… if you came in carrying a potato versus a hunk of gazelle, it made a difference'
'All gifts are not alike.'
But while meat eaters might believe that their herbivorous friends' habits are restrictive when it comes to a mutual enjoyment of food, the vegetarians themselves were far less 'picky' about who they dated.
Only four per cent said they wouldn't go out with a meat eater which is just as well considering that only four per cent of Americans admit to being vegetarian.
Dr Fisher suggested that for both types of eater, the key is to be open-minded to each other's needs and to the possibility that food does not have to negatively impact a relationship.
'The ability to accommodate to needs of a new partner is really important – both people have to work at it,' she said. 'The vegetarian has to send the message that they can work around it, they can find or bring alternatives to barbecues or family gatherings, and the meat eater has to be willing to bend once in a while as well.'