There's only so many times someone can Facebook message, Gchat or email you something before you cave. For me last week, that was Gluten Free Singles, a dating site for, yup, you guessed it, glutards. Or people allergic to wheat, depending on how PC your profile is. Mine was far from PC, and as a result of not listing activities like hiking, travel and skiing and goals like "achieving satisfaction in life," I got plenty of messages (the chicks on that site sound as boring as rice bread).
I selected a dude based purely on looks, because hey, if he's gluten-free and hot and I'm gluten-free and hot, our babies will probably sport a horrifying array of skin and gut conditions, growing and losing hair like a chimp and man…if kid-germs are potent now, consider what they'll be like when I'm of childbearing age (I currently am, but also, I clearly am not). Let's call my future husband Glen the Gluten-Intolerant. Where did we meet up? Risotteria, obviously. Oh, and he didn't know I would be reporting on the date for all the world to see.
I assessed the situation when I arrived, and readied the Fake-A-Call app on my phone. For those active fish in the sea, this is the single most effective way to get out of a shitty date. For instance, when I hit the app, Food Republic Editorial Director Richard Martin "calls" five minutes later with an emergency, which of course I have to handle right this very second (I'm so sorry let's do this some other time but next week is packed). Glen was handsome, I decided, having scanned him for third arms, a lactose-intolerant mother in-tow, a secret boyfriend who wouldn't stop Snapchatting him, etc., so we started with gluten-free beers and small talk.
"So we're both on a gluten-free dating site. Is that sad?" he asked.
"Yes," I agreed.
"Okay cool, then let's get that stuff out of the way."
We traded stories on when we discovered our magical deformity-in-common, how we dealt with the worse-before-better stages of recovery and our favorite tricks for making glutardation the easiest of the food allergies to live with (in our honest opinions).
"Once in a while, I bring one of those Udi's gluten-free burger buns to a deli and ask if they'll make a sandwich on it. You wouldn't believe the looks I get," he admitted. I had never done that, but depending on how badly I want a smoked turkey and brie made by a deli-tician, I might.
"Ever had pao de queijo?" I asked, "it's Brazilian cheese bread made out of cheese and tapioca."
"Oh, like those expensive-ass mozzarella baguettes!" he said, excitedly.
"Yeah!" I exclaimed, stoked in spite of myself. Glen was the first man who had never responded to my allergy with unnecessary sympathy or questions as to how it affected my job as a food writer. Why wasn't I swooning? We were totally clicking. I had visions of cooking my entire gluten-free repertoire for Glen, who would assert that he'd hit the jackpot and brag to his friends. Our wedding cake would be made with Cup4Cup by Lena Kwak herself. Our offspring, doctors obviously, would band together to wipe Celiac disease off the face of the earth.
And when the evening drew to a close, I kissed him on the cheek and told him I'd call him sometime. But I won't. For all chemistry had to do with this date, sometimes it just doesn't happen where it matters. I think at this point in my life, gluten freedom isn't something that's going to make or break a relationship, friendship or even influence whether or not I'm having fun. I'm going to reactivate my OK Cupid account with the username Spicy_Club_Sauce and see if anyone gets the Arrested Development reference, cause that's a far better test which hopefully doesn't involve me explaining why I don't want a bagel in the morning.
More on the gluten-free life from Food Republic: