Get ready to gag up all your Thanksgiving food, guys, because there’s a just-launched, sexist dating site for “foodies.” HiDine, “an exclusive community,” bills itself as a “dating site for food lovers where women are taken out to their favorite restaurants.” Their tagline? “Chivalry is alive.”
Here’s how it works: Women sign up, say what their favorite restaurants are, then sit and wait. Dudes sign up, peep beautiful ladies, and suggest dates to them (at the restaurants the ladies have already chosen, of course). If a woman accepts a man’s suggestion of a date, he puts down a deposit so everyone can be sure he’s going to pay for the forthcoming fancy foodie date.
Let’s take a closer look the site’s “concept,” shall we?
“Believe it or not, you will be spending a large portion of your time eating with your future other half. Having similar food interests can be very beneficial in helping to cultivate a healthy relationship. Agreeing on cuisines, quality of food, and favorite restaurants is a great place to start when meeting new people. “
Ok, not bad. Kind of #privilegedpeopleproblems, but not in and of itself ridiculous, since everyone knows that Match.com and eHarmony are littered with low-class dudes who’ll only want to take you to Applebee’s or Jack In The Box. We’ll continue:
“At HiDine, we believe in old-fashioned chivalry. Men pay for first dates. You spend enough time and money on clothes, shoes, hair styling, and beauty products. Before you even sit down at the table with a guy, you have made an investment in the date in order to look your best. Any guy should appreciate that. And the last thing you should worry about is who is going to pick up the bill.”
All I can say about that is:
Traditional gender roles! Definitions of chivalry! Assumptions about what men and women want! Oh god. Oh GOD.
“By agreeing on a great restaurant to eat, dates happen faster and with less pressure. Instead of paying a monthly fee, you only pay after you have a confirmed date with a woman. This way, you don’t waste time and money on a site without any results. By paying a deposit upfront, it shows the woman that you have a commitment to the date, and that you know how to treat a woman.”
There’s so much wrong with this concept I just can’t even. HiDine’s concept of “chivalry” is a ridiculous throwback that relies on antiquated gender roles and stereotypes of women as passive and economically-dependent and men as aggressive and macho. It’s pretty cissexist and homophobic, too; Gay and lesbian couples (or genderqueer or trans couples) who like fancy restaurants evidently don’t have a place on HiDine, because it’s clearly only geared towards snooty heterosexual couples who are all “Give me my organic free range $150 chicken dinner with a side of 1950s housewife, please!” If it is inclusive of non-heterosexual couples, I didn’t see any evidence to that on the site.
I have nothing against the concept of a man paying for a meal. It’s a nice gesture, especially early in a relationship. But what is problematic here is the passivity HiDine is assigning to women through their language, their site’s setup, and in the implicit assumptions they make about male-female relationships here, today, in 2013. I’m sure that lots of people would love to meet a potential partner who enjoys good food. But does a nice date with a yummy dinner have to be enacted through this narrow-minded, outdated framework?