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You're Paleo Too? Swipe Right.

By Stephanie Vuolo, B.A.
May 8, 2015
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Are you seeking a lactose intolerant cavewoman, ideally with celiac disease, who wears sunglasses at night? As the Paleo movement was just gaining traction a few years ago, John Durant of The Paleo Manifesto joined The Colbert Report, delving into the idea of a modern, happily barefoot, hunter-gatherer interested in dating someone like this. All laughs aside, it actually isn’t far from the truth for single Paleo men and women in search of love. In fact, a new trend has emerged in matchmaking websites aimed for specific diet and exercise preferences, including those who follow the Paleo lifestyle. Although having similar interests can support a new relationship, there’s more to it, and even researchers haven’t solved the mystery of how and why we choose who we love.1,2

Stories lead us to believe that it was commonplace for a caveman to club his chosen cavewoman and drag her by the hair to his den. The ancestral state of early human relations is actually not well known due to the lack of conclusive archaeological evidence.3 The above scenario is unlikely based upon what we know from research on the interactions between men and women in present day hunter-gatherer societies. The characteristics that lead to attraction in hunter-gatherer tribes are not purely based on physical appearance. Even though, there is evidence we are programmed to look for a high reproductive capacity in a partner,4 such as through shoulder to hips and hips to waist ratios.5, 6In the Hazda of Tanzania, men value fertility and work ethic, while women look for a man with intelligence and foraging capability.7 Ethnographic evidence from other foraging societies indicates that, parents strongly influence the mating decisions for both their sons and daughters.8

We have much more choice when selecting a partner today, where it appears that there is a preference for partners who we perceive as similar to ourselves across a number of characteristics, called the “likes-attracts” rule.9 For those following a Paleo Diet, it would be appealing to find a supportive partner who understands these choices or one that is interested in living similarly.

Navigate the dating jungle and highlight the assets your Paleo lifestyle brings to the table.

Lead with the truth

Although a profile name “PaleoGirl4You” paired with a snapshot of you gnawing on a T-bone while wearing blue blocking glasses might be overkill in the world of Paleo dating, be forthcoming about your lifestyle choices early in any relationship. Honesty is the best policy, and will make it easier for your date to understand why you won’t be indulging in a supersized cola and mint candy during a movie date.

Peel the onion slowly

The social penetration theory is a process of self-disclosure that proposes the most closeness will develop in relationships that move gradually from shallow levels of communication towards deeper, more intimate ones.10 Instead of aiming to lure your date in before mentioning your Paleo lifestyle, be yourself and share what’s important to you. However, keep it simple and remember you’ll have time to reveal more details about it as the relationship develops.

Keep an open mind

The Paleo lifestyle implies your dedication to health and is authenticated by the choices you make on a daily basis. Your dates may not yet have had the opportunity to make similar changes. Therefore, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if he orders pasta for dinner.

Think outside the box

There are plenty of venues that are Paleo dating-friendly. Do something active like throwing a Frisbee in a park, go paint pottery, or visit tourist attractions in your hometown. You can even still share a delicious meal together, as most restaurants either offer or are flexible to provide dishes that are Paleo, or you can utilize the 85:15 rule during those times.

Despite the trend of dating based on eating style services, chances are your Paleo lifestyle won’t deter someone from falling in love with you especially if you demonstrate a mutual respect for one another’s choices.11 Phew. Embrace your Paleo lifestyle as you “forage” for the right mate. He or she is out there somewhere; evolution has insured that in order to support the longevity of our species.


[1] Miller, Geoffrey F. "How mate choice shaped human nature: A review of sexual selection and human evolution." Handbook of evolutionary psychology: Ideas, issues, and applications (1998): 87-129.

[2] Zietsch, Brendan P., et al. "Variation in human mate choice: simultaneously investigating heritability, parental influence, sexual imprinting, and assortative mating." The American Naturalist 177.5 (2011): 605.

[3] Walker, Robert S., et al. "Evolutionary history of hunter-gatherer marriage practices." PLoS One 6.4 (2011): e19066.

[4] Buss, David M. "Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures." Behavioral and brain sciences 12.01 (1989): 1-14.

[5] DeBruine, Lisa M., et al. "The health of a nation predicts their mate preferences: cross-cultural variation in women's preferences for masculinized male faces."Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 277.1692 (2010): 2405-2410.

[6] Gangestad, Steven W., and Glenn J. Scheyd. "The evolution of human physical attractiveness." Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 34 (2005): 523-548.

[7] Marlowe, Frank W. "Mate preferences among Hadza hunter-gatherers." Human Nature 15.4 (2004): 365-376.

[8] Apostolou, Menelaos. "Sexual selection under parental choice: The role of parents in the evolution of human mating." Evolution and Human Behavior 28.6 (2007): 403-409.

[9] Buston, Peter M., and Stephen T. Emlen. "Cognitive processes underlying human mate choice: The relationship between self-perception and mate preference in Western society." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100.15 (2003): 8805-8810.

[10] Altman, I., Vinsel, A., & Brown, B. (1981). Dialectic conceptions in social psychology: An application to social penetration and privacy regulation. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 14. p. 107–160.

[11] Frei, Jennifer R., and Phillip R. Shaver. "Respect in close relationships: Prototype definition, self‐report assessment, and initial correlates." Personal Relationships 9.2 (2002): 121-139.

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