Valentine’s Day got me thinking about just how intimately connected dating and eating are. There’s always seeing a movie or a concert, but the most traveled path to seduction is undoubtedly food and drink. Some men hope to charm a girl with a sit-down dinner and plenty of wine, while others rack their brains for the perfect bar with, if things are going well, the option of small plates or making a move to a table. Most have their go-to roster of restaurants where they know the lay of the land as well as the maitre d’, who pretends he hasn’t seen you in ages even though you brought another date there just a few nights ago. It’s not a bad move: Take a date to a cozy, Italian spot like Peasant with candle light, a brick oven and a backlit open kitchen, or Balthazar with its timelessly chic setting, champagne and fabulous French cooking and you did all you could. The rest is left to fate.
But there is one thing that could give a guy a strong advantage and that’s baking. I’m not talking about working the grill in the summer or roasting chicken and potatoes. I’m talking about dessert. Seriously. How sexy would it be if, when the server handed you the dessert menu, your date turned to you and said, “How about I make you a chocolate soufflé instead?” Or, “I was messing around in the kitchen and made a batch of chocolate chip cookies today. Do you want to come over for milk and cookies?” Who turns down freshly baked cookies? I don’t care how boring the dinner conversation is if warm, gooey cookies are involved. (What? I’m a sucker for sweets.) Now I’m not talking about some guy in a pink apron icing cupcakes. I’m talking about a guy who can whip up bananas foster on the spur of the moment, or even better, a big bowl of rich chocolate mousse. The chocolate mousse makes the guy seem irresistible when sometimes it’s just the chocolate mousse. It’s to everyone’s advantage.
Sure, alcohol lowers our inhibitions and hampers our judgment, but not as much as sweets do. It’s a fact: Girls lose control around dessert. Next time you pass a frozen yogurt shop, even in the dead of winter, pop your head in and scope out the scene. You’re certain to see a cluster of girls having a private moment with creamy soft-serve yogurt. Dessert is like a drug for some women. (Case in point: The line down the block outside Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village.) If you’re our supplier, we’ll do anything to get some. I’m going to be much more willing to make you happy if you just made me something warm and sweet. Hell, make me a red velvet cake and I’ll make you breakfast. It’s certainly food for thought.