I was recently patrolling the streets of Twitter as I always do, swiping from one timeline to another as the tide of interesting content took me.
One of the tweets I found was not just interesting, but also brought me into a light bulb moment, a moment of reflection on one of the truths I may have always vaguely known, but never fully assessed or processed.
“Food should be a love language. Being fed. Being cooked for. Being taken out to eat. Sharing a meal with someone you love in and of itself is a language right there.”
How that tweet rang so true to me! I found it so, so relatable even though I had not thought of food in that light prior to that time.
Of course I know how much of an influence food plays in the dating scheme of Nigerians, and its role in the whole relationship dynamic around here or in many other places in the world for that matter! But to elevate it to the position of a love language; a new addition to the list of the five hallowed and ‘universally-recognised’ ways to give and accept love; I have never thought of the possibility before now, let alone the merits of such move.
But really, food – being served, being fed, being cooked for – deserves that recognition. The role it has played for so long in bonding men and women calls for it. And why not? Why can’t food be a love language? Think about it from a Nigerian perspective, for example: you’ve just begun talking and chatting with a babe and you need to set up your first date, where do you take her? A food joint, of course. It’s either that or you take her for drinks, which still falls within the ambit of a food date. Offering to take a Nigerian babe to a poetry club, book reading or karting on a first date isn’t so common. Whether it’s because the guys are unimaginative in their romantic ways, or because eating on first dates is an untouchable way of doing things is not so sure. Here and now isn’t really the time to address that.
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Move on from that to when the relationship gets well and truly begun. Your date nights will likely be filled with visits to many other food places, too. Even when you are visiting each other, food is a thing to look forward to. You are either buying a pack along or hoping there’d be some home-cooked meal at your partner's. You are either gulping down a bottle of wine together, or spending quality time together in the kitchen, trying to make some strange recipe work. The list goes on and on. The bonding possibilities afforded by the making and consumption of food are quite limitless.
For some, feeding loved ones is how they show they care. The actual act of taking time to learn a partner’s favourite meal and how they like it made; observing and mastering the way they like to mix their favourite drink, their eating patterns and what they don’t like eating…it’s all a form of love, something that we should no longer chuck under the overarching idea of ‘normal’ or shove under the umbrella of the existing ‘acts of service’ love language.
Food is bae, literally. Almost everyone around has a super-cordial relationship with food, men and women alike. Have you ever heard a Nigerian person allergic to food? Me neither!
A peek into almost all romantic relationships will show you that partners split their time between gisting, eating, having sex, getting each other gifts, buying or making food for each other, seeing movies together, and then eating together some more, travelling, baecationing and of course sampling some more food!
If the average relationship involves bonding over food this much and we already know this and even acknowledge it, why then isn’t the sixth love language yet?
We will no longer underrate the importance of food in relationships around here and we wo't even wait for Gary Chapman, the original propagator of the love languages concept. I'll just take the responsibility on my narrow shoulders. I'll do it for you, fellow foodies and hopeless romantics
Food is hereby declared as an officially-adopted love language in Nigeria! Let the rest of the world stick with the traditional five. We've got six now!
Did I hear an amen?