Beware The Ides Of March

In honor of the Ides of March, I thought it was about time for another Heart Attack Mail Call. There's nothing that says "questions about food and dating" more than a day known for ancient Roman betrayal.

Or something like that.

No matter what, I got a reader question (several, actually!) and I'm excited to give some advice – whether or not it's related to Julius Caesar. For the record, it's not related at all.

Dear Heart Attack,

I am dating a chef, and while I love to go out to eat, he always ruins my fun by analyzing the real food cost versus the price the restaurant is charging for the dish. Suggestions for how to deal?


A Hungry Sous-do Girlfriend

Dear Hungry Sous-do Girlfriend,

First of all, shout-out for the excellent kitchen pun name. Now, I clearly don't know your specific chef-mate, but I do know that dating a chef is difficult. If you can get past the absurd hours and requisite short temper, you're still left with someone who can't enjoy a meal in a restaurant like a normal person. It's the same problem that comes up when watching a movie with a film director or a basketball game with a coach. In some instances, it's just too hard for a person in certain businesses to sit back and enjoy an experience in their own field when somebody else is in charge. That's where the second-guessing comes in. The food-cost analysis is most likely a symptom of your dude feeling insecure about eating another person's culinary output, and he needs to find a way to put it down without seeming like a dick who just can't enjoy another chef's food. Then again, I'm not a licensed therapist of any sort, so I could be way off.

Either way, you're not looking for the reason why he does it – you're looking for a solution and I'm here to provide it. I'd go with a three-step process: The first time he does it, be straightforward. "Hey, Chef Boyareyoudumb, I don't care what the mark-up is. It's a restaurant. Food costs more in restaurants. I want to eat the food, not bicker about the cost of sturgeon." If he continues, step your game up a bit. Ask to speak with the chef. When he or she comes out, tell them that your boyfriend is complaining about the food costs and ask for an explanation. Make a BIG deal out of it. Hopefully your man will be so embarrassed from the confrontation, he won't ever mention it again. If that doesn't work, go Lysistrata on his ass and withhold sex. There's nothing we men understand more than a good ol' fashioned sex embargo. If you don't want to use sex as a weapon (which I really shouldn't be encouraging) and you still want to date this guy, you might just have to stick to fast food from now on. I bet he doesn't know the food cost on a Filet-o-Fish...

Beware the Ides of March,


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