Thursday, 10 February 2011

In which people go shopping for dates

Because a lot of people have proper jobs and don’t sit about pratting around on Twitter of a day and calling it work, they might not have come across the announcement last week of the launch of a new dating site. By Asda.

Yup, that Asda (they of Walmart fame, for my American friends). Find your perfect partner based on your mutual shopping habits, so the press release would have you believe.

(Or rather, I imagine it would. There was deafening silence from their press office when I asked for a copy, and they’ve not got it listed on the press release section of their site. There’s also no information to be had from the site as the link now goes back to the people they ‘partnered with’ for the service. Not that you should assume this was a piece of news creation by the Asda PR team to gain a little press coverage around about Valentine’s Day. Ahem. I’m absolutely not criticising, you understand. That would make me the world’s worst hypocrite. All’s fair in love and press coverage, and anyway, news creation pays my mortgage. Yes, a lot of people find it distasteful. Bad luck. It’s just the way the media work. You’d have much skinnier (and more boring) newspapers without it. As I said: just sayin’.)

But, veracity of the project aside, I suppose choosing to start a dalliance with someone based on their shopping habits is no worse than any other way of doing it. In my experience, there’s no more science behind choosing the people one dates than blind luck and a bit too much red wine.

And actually, I rather think that what someone chooses to put in their shopping basket can tell you a good deal about them. I dread to think how much someone else perusing the aisles on a Sunday morning can tell about me. Far too much, I imagine.

On an average trip to the supermarket – based on several elderly, scrunched up shopping lists I’ve just retrieved from the bottom of my bag – a basket of mine is likely to contain any combination of the following: aubergines, goats’ cheese, tonic water, rocket, The Times, pillar candles, marinated artichokes, fresh pesto, cat food, cat treats, Arborio rice, eye make-up remover, limes, paté (butternut squash), a nice hearty Syrah, ibuprofen, fresh pasta, tomato purée, olives, pineapple, Earl Grey teabags, chocolate buttons (giant), some product I’ve never heard of that the cleaner has been very specific about and won’t be able to do her job without, and extra-virgin olive oil.

(Gods above, reading that I’m struck that it does, doesn’t it? It just reeks of ‘single girl with cat’. Bollocks.)

But people as judgy as I am are liable to leap, gazelle-like, to conclusions about others based purely on what they’ve chosen to stock up on...

Frozen pizza, 4 pints of (full fat) milk and a ready-meal curry? Male, mid-twenties, cultivating a paunch. Very single, and presumably planning on it staying that way for quite some time.

2 steaks, bottle of plonk, ready-prepped Parmentier potatoes, pre-julienned carrots? Early thirties, bachelor. Eligibleish. Keen to impress but with a tendency to overpromise.

Cigarettes, two bottles of Pinot Grigio, cheese? Late 20s, female, having a night to herself whilst her flatmate’s out and the boyfriend’s playing 5-a-side. Functioning alcoholic. Probably in PR.

Polenta, kohl rabi, blueberries, wheatgrass juice, line-caught wild bass and herbal tea? Female, early 40s, but looks far older. Any time not spent in the gym is spent with female friends, bemoaning the difficulty of getting an appointment with Mr. Best Eyebrow Lifts on Harley Street. Absolutely no fun down the pub.

Of course, whatever’s in someone’s basket, you can also tell rather a lot about them by where that basket’s from. Do a girl a favour: if you’re going to be pulling in the aisles, just make sure they’re Waitrose, would you?


Redbookish said...

Oh dear, I get Sainsbury's home delivered.* But there's always cava ...

* this started when I broke my wrist rather badly trying to learn to ice skate in advanced old age (for learning to skate). Erstmals, letzmals, as we joked in the hospital on New Year's Day.

HC said...

The closest thing to supermarket romance for me is when I answer the door to the Tesco delivery man in my pants.

p.s. Since time eternal I have scoured blonde women's chin for a match the photo at the top right. Finally, on Tuesday, I think I found a match. On this day, were you:
(i) in London;
(ii) Using public transport; and
(iii) wearing an all-in-one leapordskin bodysuit?


Sarah said...

:O meeting someone in asda means they are just as likely to be potential boyfriend material as meeting them in waitrose!

Amy said...

My last shopping basket contained an enormous tub of Stork baking spread, two reduced books, raspberry jam, mouthwash, vanilla essence and a bag of leeks. I dread to think of the dating profile I would have, and what judgement people make of me.

Rebecca said...

My shopping basket sounds very similar to yours, but with steak. Read "co-habiting female who generally ignores culinary preferences of boyfriend but placates him with meat".

Blonde said...

Red: God, no shame at ALL in having stuff delivered. I just fear if I weren’t forced to get out the house on a Sunday morning, I’d spend the entire day wallowing in Grey’s Anatomy boxsets. Top marks for always having bubbles. You are CLEARLY my kind of girl. And SKATING?! Oof. You’re a braver woman than I. I have all the balance and togetherness of Bambi when on ice. Just less graceful.

HC: And I’m sure he appreciates it. And you know what? You got me. Damnit. And there I was thinking I was being all subtle.

Sarah: You’re probably right. You’re probably also a much more open-minded, less snobbish person than I am. Erk.

Amy: Hmm. Female, 20s, likes to curl up on the sofa with a good book and a slice of homemade cake. Eats her veg; good dental hygiene. Am I close?

Rebecca: Genius. The way to men’s hearts really is via their palates. Chuck in a packet of Haribo and he’ll never whine again.

Brennig said...

Blonde, I *loved* the 'potted descriptions by shopping list'. You should do more of those.

p.s. you wouldn't catch me shopping at ASDA, ever.

Blonde said...

Bren: Heh, thanks. Gimme a basket and I'll tell you who they are. Ps. Me neither.

Vulpine said...

ASDA dating? Really?! It sounds so wrong, but... do they home deliver?

Blonde said...

Vulpine: Huh. That is an amazing question. Gosh. Imagine the possibilities...

Girl Friday said...

Call me a London/Home Counties snob as well, but let's say I have never even been to Asda, Lidl or what's that other dreadful one? Morrisons? ECHH. Judge me all you want open minded people, but I have standards and I am sticking to them. I recommend you do the same Blonde. The talent truly is different on the other side of the tracks. Just saying.

Sarah said...

I don't really think you have to be neccessarily 'open minded' to think that a man you meet in ASDA may well be 'good enough' for you to date!!!
Where I come from, there is no Waitrose, we are a working class town Up North (Barnsley if you want to know) and yes, we don't have many eligible City-type bachelors getting their weekley proscuitto in Waitrose and spending a fortune doing so, but I for one have a lovely, decent, fun, generous, wonderful boyfriend who is quite happy to make me bacon sandwhiches with SmartPrice bread. And I love him all the more for it. Asda sells food. Waitrose sells food. Non sell love, as far as I can see, people make that. And I don't think it should matter where the ingredients are from.

Sarah said...

Oh, and I have 'standards' too. Standards on which I judge a man that are not dependent on how much he spends on his weekly food shop and how pretty the packaging of it is.

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