How do I ask someone to let me cook for them?


Tofusmith asks: 

How do I (26/m) ask someone to let me cook for her?

So, this is something I’ve seen from a few of my female friends/exes; I’m an amazing cook, and apparently when I’ve cooked for women in my life I’ve made a very positive impression.

However, this is usually a “save it for the relationship” thing for me. If things go alright, I might be asking a woman I care for quite a bit out on a second date soon; how would I suggest “can I cook you dinner?” without sounding weird about it?

Demetrius says:

Okay here’s some things you have to consider when asking someone to let them cook for you. First, if they’re cynical, they might think that your  asking to cook for them is a ploy to get them to your place as a pretense to try to sleep with them. Plenty of people say “I’ll cook for you” when they really mean “I’ll invite you over and we’re going to do Netflix, Takeout, and Chill. Emphasis on chill”. Saying that isn’t your intention isn’t going to help, you just have to hope that your intentions are read correctly any time you invite someone back to your place. Besides that, you have to bear in mind that not everyone likes what you know how to cook, or even eats anything you know how to cook. If she agrees to a dinner at your place date, you should probably be clear about what you plan on making, and make sure that what you plan on making is something she can and is willing to eat. Finally, and this goes without saying but, if you’re going to offer to cook you either need to be good at it, or if not make it a participatory thing for both of you. You know what’s awesome? Making a dessert together by splitting the prep work, then eating said dessert together. Trust me on this.

With all of that out of the way, how do you ask it without it sounding weird? I gotta tell you that if a 26-year-old man tells a woman that he wants to cook for her, odds are good that she will not find it weird, at all, and is more likely to find it attractive. Lots of men, and people in general, never learned how to cook, much less boil a pot of water. If it was a first date it might be a bit weird to invite a stranger over for dinner, but the more dates that occur after the first date the less likely it is that an invite over dinner will be “weird”. How you ask doesn’t matter so much as when you ask. Unless you’re cooking something “weird” you’ll be fine asking and the exact words you use to ask wont matter that much. In a lot of cultures, eating food with someone, or providing them with food is a bonding experience. I doubt asking to cook for someone is weird, it’s when you do it that determines if it’s weird.

With that said, I’d probably avoid asking to cook for someone on the 2nd date. In some cases it can work out, and I’ve actually had a few second dates where I cook for a lady, but it really depends on the person and the situation. If your first date was say, a coffee date, and you now want to escalate to making her dinner, it might come off a little weird. That’s because coffee dates are like an appetizer to a real date. Coffee dates are the diet version of a full date. It’s got all the things that you want in a date with half the flavor! If your first date was dinner, or drinks, or any activity that lasted longer than an hour, asking to cook dinner by the 2nd date might be okay. If I were you, I’d push out the dinner date until either the 3rd or 4th date just to be safe. Remember that I mentioned that some people will think that your invite for dinner is a pretext for sex? Well, instead of hoping that she interprets your invite as innocent, you might as well do the dinner date at a point where if you were trying to have sex it would be socially acceptable to do so. I’m not saying 3 or 4 dates is the hard and fast rule for putting out, but if I said the words “3 date rule” you’d know exactly what I mean, and that’s the point. I’m not saying that you should use dinner as a pretext for sex, or that you shouldn’t, but if you invite her over for dinner and there is a possibility that she’ll think it’s a pretext for sex, it’s better to do it on a date where even if you were using it as a pretext for sex it would probably be okay.

The actual nitty-gritty of how you ask is really simple. Here’s what I’d say. Feel free to steal/adopt/modify it for your use:

"Hey, I had a really great time on our last date. So much fun! I was wondering if you'd be interested in letting me have you over for dinner for our next date. I'm actually an amazing cook"

It’s not much harder than that. Have a backup, not-cooking-her-dinner plan ready to go if she declines and don’t push the issue by stressing how great a cook you are. If she refuses, you can always say something to the effect of “the offer is still being on the table.”

Good Luck Out There

…and Bon Appétit

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