or those of us navigating the world of food allergies, dating can be a scary task. Your dinner date went great. You're catching vibes. That mental connection quickly turns physical, but how exactly do you go from zero to sixty when your date had dairy, and you're lactose intolerant?
I leaned over the kitchen sink and spit out the strawberry sangria. Not the smoothest move at a college kickback, but the alternative—swallowing the sangria and having my face blow up like Will Smith in Hitch—would’ve been a significantly worse party foul.
My girlfriend had passed me the sangria, and I, being slightly drunk off whatever cheap liquor we were drinking that night, mindlessly took a sip. I knew I’d be fine, relatively speaking (I’m not deadly allergic to strawberries), but she rushed over to the sink and examined me up and down as if I’d been bitten by a zombie. I assured her this wasn’t her fault, that it’s my responsibility—not hers—to ask follow-up questions about my allergies, but my consolation didn't help. Her eyes welled up and she told me she could’ve killed me. In this case, she was wrong, but I got her point—my allergies are numerous and serious enough that such a scenario was not implausible. Afterward, I felt terribly guilty, like I’d passed the burden of my condition onto someone else.
There are roughly 15 million food-allergy sufferers in the United States alone. We each handle our business differently. However, there are a few universal truths about how we incorporate allergies into our relationships with other people, a feat that can be particularly tricky when it comes to dating. With that in mind, I—along with Sloane Miller, a specialist in food-allergy management—have some relevant tips to offer up, whether you too have food allergies or you’re dating someone who does, or you (correctly) assume you might someday date someone who does.
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