Stages of Romantic Relationships Through Meals: A Completely Fictional Study

Relationships are perilous minefields of miscommunication. Countless people have spent countless hours trying to figure out if it's the right time to wear sweatpants or go without makeup.

How are you supposed to know when the honeymoon period is over and you can stop turning on the shower each time you use the bathroom? Facial cues and body language? It's a mystery.

Unless you're paying attention to what you're eating. A couple's meals together reveal more than how hungry they are, they'll also tell you what phase of their relationship their in, from courtship to the honeymoon stage and full on true love.


The Honeymoon Stage: Candlelit Dinners

This shouldn't be a surprise: candlelit dinners are most common during the early stages of a relationship. The carefully decorated table-settings commonly present in these types of dinners reflect the typical caution taken by new couples.

Showing up in your best clothes, making sure there's nothing in your teeth, and tripping over words trying to be witty are essential actions to early courtship, so it's a good thing candlelit dinners are by nature fancy — all the motivation you need to not show up in your favorite Harry Potter T-shirt and usual unkempt hair-do. Dim lighting will be helpful for the food-in-teeth issue, and overly nice waiters will be a useful resource for alleviating any nervousness. Candlelit dinners really do their job well, don't they?

Getting Comfortable: Fast Food Dates

When you and your significant other choose to eat at a fast food restaurant as your monthliversary (“monthly anniversary”), it's time to realize that by now you don't care about impressing one another so much.

While the purpose of your dinner is to celebrate your relationship, it's hard to ignore the fact that a double-double, animal fries, and large shake are sitting right front of you. With less time focused on getting to know one another and more time to eat, it's totally alright to acknowledge that eating junk food with your lover instead of an expensive steak can be a lot more fun, sweatpants not included.
Getting Really Comfortable: Weekly All-You-Can-Eat Dates

Relationship weight is real, guys. Trips to all-you-can-eat restaurants are enjoyable, so when you have a person whose job is to basically eat with you (your significant other of course), it's all the more tempting to frequent places like Cham Sut Gol to the point where you shamelessly acknowledge your addiction. This being said, you may start to notice an extra something-something developing around the waist, but that's no worry. Your other will probably be developing their own something-something and most likely prefers to have fun and eat with you, so love-handles are not something to be ashamed of, but proud of. By this point, it's clear you both accept each other for who you are.

The Test of True Love: Ribs

Want to seriously test your relationship status? Eat ribs together.

When eating ribs, you have no choice but to slobber over bones, barbecue sauce uncontrollably flying onto your face, elbows, and who knows where else (if there is a clean way to eat ribs, please, let me know.) When in the midst of attacking your stack of ribs from Tulsa Rib Company, there's no amount of napkins could ever clean up the damage, but why would you need to? Real love is when you can have uninhibited fun with a person and be 100 percent yourself. So if you can drop any insecurity and enjoy the moment you two are having together – pork stuck in between your teeth and all, then you're some of the lucky few who can say they've found real love.

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You can also follow Charles Lam on Twitter @charlesnlam. He's less sardonic there, we swear.

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