Some proverbs confer wisdom onto us. They tell us how we should conduct ourselves and how the world works. After all, fortune favors the brave, and a stitch in time saves nine.
On the other hand, other proverbs warn us from making mistakes, mistakes that are part and parcel of being human.
For example, we tend to assume that the bigger something is, the better or more valuable it has to be. However, this isn’t always the case, which is why big things come in little packages.
And then, some proverbs are just funny and comical. They might have a hint of truth to them, but that’s not what keeps them around. They stay around because they get a chuckle every time someone uses them.
A classic case in point is “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
What does “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” mean?
It means that if a woman wants a man to fall in love with her, she needs to be a good cook and to provide him with excellent meals. It also alludes to the idea that to keep a marriage healthy, a wife needs to regularly provide her husband with well-cooked food.
The saying is not too different from “happy wife, happy life.”
How to use the expression “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”
As mentioned, it is a comical saying. So, if your friend is having serious problems with their paramour and they’ve come to you looking for advice, the last thing you want to tell them is that “the way to a man’s heart is through their stomach.”
Simply put, if it’s not an appropriate time to tell a joke, then it is not an appropriate time to use this proverb.
However, when the circumstances permit, you can use this proverb to great effect.
Let’s say that you went on a date with a guy, and on the date, he showed no table side manners whatsoever.
He wolfed down his food, he kept burping between every bite, and by the end, his entire chin was dripping with steak sauce.
In short, it was a really bad date, the kind that turns your stomach every time you think about it. I’m sure we all have stories like that.
Anyway, the next day, you tell your friends about your memorable date and the lasting impression it left on you. You could end your story like this.
The entire date was horrible. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. The only silver lining was that it confirmed to me that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Now, that’s a lesson I’m never forgetting.
Where does the expression come from?
Before looking at whether the way to a man’s heart is truly through their stomach, let’s look at where this saying comes from. There are two parts to this story
The importance of food
For starters, science has shown that our guts are swarming with neurons, almost as many neurons as cats possess in their heads.
In other words, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of neurons all over our digestive tracts, starting from our stomachs and going all the way till the end of the line.
In fact, some scientists have dubbed our gastrointestinal neurons as “the little brain.”
And, the little brain explains why some of us emotionally eat, why some of us can get hangry (which is getting angry when we’re hungry), and why some of us like to get some sleep after we’ve had a meal.
It also explains why eating and sharing a meal has always been one of the best ways for people to bond together. As a matter of fact, most people prefer to go for dinner on their first date.
And, cooking for someone else is an intimate act. In fact, there are entire reality shows based on cooking.
This is not to mention all the memories made, the friendships forged, and the partnerships built around a dinner table.
When you want to treat your business partner, what do you do? You probably take them out to dinner.
When you want to get to know a culture better, what do you do? You try their food.
Antiquated gender roles
The other part of this story is that not too long ago, gender roles were clearly defined. The man would go out in the morning, go to work, and come back home with the bacon.
Alternatively, the woman’s domain was the house. She was responsible for cleaning, doing the laundry, raising the children, and of course cooking.
Additionally, there weren’t that many recipe cookbooks back in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Ergo, a woman who could cook was a woman who could keep her household happy.
But, how true is it that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach?
Well, the verdict is in, and the answer is that the way to a man’s heart is not through his stomach.
Don’t get me wrong, food is very important for both men and women, and for a few men, cooking a good meal might be the ticket to his heart.
However, for the majority, that is not the case. If anything, almost one out of every two women would argue that food is the way into their hearts, which really flips the saying on its head.
And, for a grand majority of women, food does play a large role in their relationships.
All that said, the fact remains that men aren’t out there looking for good cooks to marry.
I don’t think it has ever happened in the history of humanity that a man was in a club or a bar, and when he saw a woman he liked, he said to himself, “Damn.
That woman sure looks like she knows her way around a kitchen. You just know that if you give her an hour in there, she’ll come out with the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten. I’ve got to have her.”
Don’t get me wrong. That might have happened, but I doubt it.
After all, at the start of every date, guys will ask questions about the other person, including their likes, their dislikes, their interests, and so forth.
But, I really don’t recall the last time I’ve heard of a date where the guy opened with, “So, tell me, are you a good cook? And, if so, what would you say are your signature dishes?”
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.