The Hot and Hungry Generation


If you’re in your 20s, you’re probably eating or hooking up right now.

At least, that’s what the NY Times might lead you to believe. Two separate features in this weekend’s paper suggest that, of the many gritty realities that plague millennials, dining expenses and dating dilemmas are among the most severe of the generation’s problems.

Ginia Bellafonte writes in “The Unaffordable Luxury of Food,” that the 90s-era humble dinner parties of her early 20s — way back when hosts had to lift recipes from actual cookbooks! — have been all but ditched by today’s food-fascinated generation. Instead, Bellafonte argues that hungry New Yorkers are diving fork-first into “culinary obsession,” and might be going into debt because of it.

On the other hand, some twentysomethings are so busy engaging with their iPhones that they barely have enough time to scoop up their uni. In “The End of Courtship?” Alex Williams observes that today’s young, single people may have given up on food-oriented dates, instead relying on text messages to seek out casual hook ups. “Many young people simply cannot afford to invest a fancy dinner or show in someone they may or may not click with,” Williams writes. Williams spoke with one complete tool young man who believes that, “a lot of men in their 20s are reluctant to take the girl to the French restaurant, or buy them jewelry, because those steps tend to lead to ‘eventually, we’re going to get married.” Um, ok.

I’m single, in my 20s, and completely infatuated with food. In fact, dining and dating are two of the most consuming activities in my life (one of them, I get paid for and the other one is delicious). Sure, there have been times when I’ve dropped way too much money on an extravagant meal. There have also been times when I’ve deliberated over the implied meaning of the text “sup?”

But I’ve also sampled many outstanding and cheap meals in New York. Wandering around the city — one of the greatest luxuries of being single — I am consistently reminded of how well a person can eat for just a few bucks. Need proof? Our food critic, Robert Sietsema, offers 10 spots where you can dine for next to nothing.

As for the courtship-free culture of my generation, well, I went on a date last week
(Hi, Michael!). And, judging by the overwhelming number of hearts and ring photos on my Facebook feed, it seems like plenty of other people my age have been partnering up and settling down, as well.

Perhaps in 2013, millennials will decrease their excessive spending and casual hook up habits. Or maybe not. Either way, call me maybe — let’s grab a cheap dinner and talk it over.