My very Italian partner has “Marinara” tattooed on his chest (literally), so when I unearthed a jar of Newman’s Own red sauce on our second date, it should’ve been a deal-breaker. So far things have worked out, but had our first interaction been through Refrigerdating—a new app where the way to someone’s heart is through the contents of their fridge—IDK if that would be the case.
The Samsung-backed venture really runs with the whole “you are what you eat” thing. Users simply upload a picture of the inside of their fridge and find The One by sneaking a peek at the shots others share. But aside from an unconventional approach, what can Refrigerdating offer that’s different than what’s already available in the mobile-app dating game?
Well. Food speaks loudly to a person’s lifestyle choices, which are key to know when it comes to dating, says relationship expert Terri Orbuch, PhD, known as the Love Doctor. “When partners are similar in key life values, studies show they are more likely to stay together over the long haul,” she says. “One key life value is the importance of fitness, nutrition, and health. So a refrigerator and what you have in your refrigerator can tell you a lot about a person.” The intel you learn right off the bat in Refrigerdating can help identify if someone is vegan, vegetarian, and/or gluten-free, and given that nutrition plans are lifestyle priorities for many, this can be a really big deal in relationships.
“When partners are similar in key life values, studies show they are more likely to stay together over the long haul. One key life value is the importance of fitness, nutrition, and health. So a refrigerator and what you have in your refrigerator can tell you a lot about a person.” —relationship expert Terri Orbuch, PhD
While visual stimuli is a lure in many a traditional dating app, the draw here is very different than an interface that serves you a seductive photo of, say, someone’s six pack (unless someone has a six pack of your favorite beer in their fridge). And one expert contends the info to be gleaned here is of superior value. “People attach a lot of emotion and a lot of their identity to food,” dietitian Abby Langer, RD, tells me. And when you mark yourself as vegan or vegetarian or anything else, you’re likely to really take stock in that label.
Basically, if your eating habits are full-on Morrissey, and you peer into a carnivore’s fridge via Refridgerdating, it’s unlikely you’re going to reach out and start waxing poetic about meal-prep strategies. That doesn’t mean that Refrigerdating only works for those who abide by identical nutrition plans, though. Certain items might even be fodder for ice-breaking conversations; maybe you spy a container of Thai food that could serve as your point of introduction. Just ask: “Is that restaurant any good? Sushi is my go-to take-out food, and I’m looking to change it up.” That’s a story for the grandkids, right? (As a heads-up, the app does warn against “styling” your icebox because, per the app’s website, “If this is to work, it needs to be the real thing. Cheating and relationships don’t go together well.”)
Ultimately, food is a foundational aspect of who we are, or at least who we want to be. (There’s a container of kale in your fridge, but 50/50 that it’ll ever actually be opened, #amirite?) And since eating is a common denominator of humanity, it’s something you’ll certainly share with any significant other. So, featuring your open fridge isn’t that crazy of a strategy for finding a partner who plans to stick around. At the very least, it’s certainly intel I’ll keep in mind should my relationship crumble under the inevitable next iteration of my low-brow red sauce gaffe.
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