Gluten-Free Dating: The Kiss
True story: I started dating my husband in 2007, about six months after I started living gluten-free. At the beginning of our first date, which was the first date I had been on in several years, I told him that he would not be able to kiss me if he drank beer (right as he was picking it up—smooth, I know). We had already selected a gluten-free-friendly restaurant for our meal, but I had neglected to think about his beverage choice as a potential gluten contamination source. We collectively decided that he could probably drink the beer and if we liked each other enough to kiss, he could probably rinse his mouth out with water beforehand (very romantic…). My awkwardness aside, we did share a kiss that night and 7+ years later, I still ask the ever-romantic question, “Are you gluten-y?” before kissing him.
While there is no specific scientific study on gluten contamination and kissing (at least according to my search on Google Scholar), there is evidence that a threshold of 20 ppm of gluten is generally considered “safe” for people who live gluten-free. There is some controversy about this level, so it is important to understand how your body reacts to trace amounts of gluten.
Levels of gluten sensitivity vary, so if you are one of the lucky people who can tolerate some gluten in your diet, you probably don’t have to worry about this issue. If, however, you are very sensitive to gluten contamination, you may need to take some precautions before kissing someone who has been eating or drinking gluten. Your partner has a few options for ensuring a gluten-free kiss:
1) If you happen to be newly dating, it is important to discuss this issue with your partner before it becomes relevant.
Just try to have a little more allure than I did.
2) Your partner can choose to eat/drink gluten-free.
This option becomes much easier if you are preparing the meal or you have selected a gluten-free-friendly dining option. My husband usually makes this decision based on the availability/tastiness of the gluten-free options as well as the availability of a toothbrush. For instance, if we are attending a wedding and I have secured a gluten-free meal for myself in advance, he will often elect to have the gluten-free option as well. If we are just going out for a quick meal, he may not choose a gluten-free option.
3) Your partner can floss, brush his or her teeth with toothpaste, and/or rinse with mouthwash.
All three would be preferable, but you may be able to get away with a water rinse in a pinch.
4) Encourage your partner to use gluten-free lip balm, lipstick, skin care products, and/or shaving cream to minimize other gluten contamination risks.
Especially if you are extremely sensitive to gluten contamination.