The Meat-Free Zone: What Guys Really Think… Of Vegetarians

Your meal preferences are your own, but is he taking stock of what you're picking off your plate?

woman eating salad

Okay, ladies, we've been through this before. Seems like everyone has an opinion on what you're putting on your plate. And now, new research shows that guy taking stock of what you’'e eating. Even more than that (and here's the real shocker) they're paying attention to what you don't eat (and what you don't order).

Researchers from the dating site AYI recently found that men prefer vegetarian women to meat-eaters by 11 percent, even though women are 13 percent more likely to date a meat-eating man.


We took to the guys we know and trust to find out: does your meatless lifestyle before — and during — your first date really matter?

"If she mentioned it, I'd definitely take note."
Kyle, 26, has been online dating for more than a year and admits that he's become a "skimmer" of potential partner's dating profiles. But he does say there's a few things he pays attention to — one of them, food. "If she mentioned in her profile that she was a vegetarian or a herbivore or something like that, I would obviously not ask her to go with me to a steakhouse for dinner." But is a potential mate's plate enough to steer him into or out of a first date? "I don't think I would really care one way or the other, but if she were very cult-like about it, then I would probably not want to go out with her."


"I'm a vegan," Matthew, 32, says, "so meat preferences are really important to me. It's something I look for on girls' dating profiles — and that's not to say that I don't like girls that eat meat, I have plenty of meat-eating friends, but in a partner, I want to be with someone who's making similar choices as me. Plus, date night dinners would be impossible to plan. One of us would probably go home upset."

"In my opinion, it's ridiculous."
"I understand skipping red meat or fish for health reasons, but sometimes it really just doesn't make any sense to me when girls say they vegetarians," Luke, 27, says. "I could just be stereotyping women as a whole here, but my last girlfriend would give up meat every time she wanted to drop a few pounds. It didn't make sense at all. So now, when I meet a girl who doesn't eat meat or doesn't eat fish, I'm kind of like, 'Oh boy, here we go again.'"

Jason, 29, gave up meat for a while and only dated girls who were on the same meal plan as he was. "It was fun for a while," he says, "because I was really interested in seeing how your body reacts when you're not eating certain foods — and how food affects your relationships. So, I started dating girls that were in the same situation as me: Not eating meat, trying to take care of their bodies. Of course, I caved and went back to meat. I just think it puts a damper on the whole mood when you're like 'Oh, I can't eat here because they serve meat.' Get over it. Order a pasta."

Josh, 26, asks, "Whatever happened to steak and potatoes?!"


"It makes holidays way more difficult when we go visit my family," admits Ryder, 25. "My girlfriend doesn't eat meat and my family is from the Midwest. We're the epitome of the steak-and-potatoes bunch. So while I don't mind at all— I love that she's passionate enough about something not to give it up — it does take a toll on my family when we visit. It's not that they dislike her or anything because of that, but it does add another layer to the equation."

"I want a girl who's like me."
Whit, 28, doesn't eat meat, so finding a girl that lives by his same animal code is important. "I think it's really cruel what we do to animals. And I do only want to date girls that are on that same wavelength as me. I don't think I could go to dinner with a girl knowing she was going to order a steak while I chose a fish option. I think it would just, literally and figuratively, leave a bad taste in my mouth at the end of the night."

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And though Steve, 28, says that he eats meat, he's interested in women who are different from him. "I've dated Indian, Mexican, Spanish, European, vegan, herbivore and vegetarian women. I like learning from other cultures and from other ways of life. It's so sexy to me. So when push comes to shove, I'm definitely trying to meet a woman who brings something to the table that's different from me. I eat meat. I don't live by any code that says you have to eat meat if you're my girlfriend, so I'm always interested in learning something new. Plus, if you're passionate about not eating meat, I want to know about it." Laughing, he adds, "I know I'm not the average guy, but still, we only have each other to learn from, so I wouldn't ever rule out a girl just because she doesn't eat country fried steak. More for me, then, right?"


"I've never noticed what you’re eating. I probably will never notice."
Gabe, 34, has been dating for years and as he puts it, he's "never noticed what's left on your plate, what's in your mouth, what you're ordering, what you're not eating. I've never paid attention to it and probably never will. I'm older, in my mid-thirties, so I'm not fretting if you don’t order steak frittes or the bourbon chicken. I'll live. I'm more interested in your life, your plans, your future, and your passions. What a woman is eating has never bared any interest to me."

What do you think of dating vegetarians? Tell us in the comments below.