I invited the guy I’ve been seeing for the last couple of weeks to watch Netflix and have pizza one night last weekend.
Before realizing what I was doing.
Or, more importantly, who I am.
The words were suddenly hanging in the air in front of me. Mentally, I walked around the word bubble so I could read what I’d said…slightly horrified once I realized what I saw.
What I’d said.
You see, the source of my horror was that I am a Picky Eater, so I look at meals with new friends or on dates as something of a hurdle that needs to be cleared. Certainly in a new potential relationship.
Why I’m Single #111:
Hi, my name is Chris and I’m a Picky Eater.
But, no biggie, right? We’re just ordering pizza. Yeah, the only non-meat topping I’ve ever had on my pizza is pineapple, so it can be pretty limiting to order pizza with me.
Oh, and garlic. Does that count as a topping?
All you people with your combination pizzas.
Fortunately, he enthusiastically replied that he was “pretty easy when it came to pizza”, so whatever I wanted was fine. Feeling daring, I cautiously suggested Canadian bacon and pineapple and he replied, “Sure, but I usually just get pepperoni!”
Ok, if I can base the success of a relationship on pizza toppings…well, ok, I started an online registry at Macy’s while I waited for him and the pizza to arrive.
This has always been the case with me. In a family of six, I learned to eat around what I didn’t like. As a soon to be persnickety gay youngster, I arranged all of my unpalatable morsels in tidy piles around the rim of my plate.
The following night of that same weekend I was invited to a friend and former colleague’s home for dinner. I took a couple bottles of wine – my usual dinner (kidding) – and learned when I asked “Red or white?” that we were having baked ziti.
I love baked ziti.
No blinks were given by me when I dug in and found mushrooms. I just started pushing them to the edge of my plate. I thought nothing of it until my host cried out, “Oh no! I’m sorry, I didn’t know you didn’t like mushrooms!”
Nope. No worries here. I just looked at my table-neighbor and said, “Dig in if you want ’em”.
I still tease my mom about her cooking from my childhood. I’ll go to dinner at her house and she’ll tell me what’s on the menu and I’ll say something like, “How did you work a can of Cream of Mushroom soup into that?!?”
Seriously, Cream of Mushroom went into anything and everything. Not for nothing, I was grossed out just by the name…it was basically mushroom smoothie and became undetectable when mixed in with the other ingredients.
She couldn’t use Cream of Chicken or Cream of Celery?
Oh, the petty traumas of my childhood. I had it pretty fucking good.
Sharing food is another source of weirdness for my…personality? Sure, let’s go with that – personality.
Part of the whole food sharing thing involves the logistics around who’s fork goes where. Are you sticking your fork into my food or are you trying my food with my fork.
Imagine letting someone try your chocolate cake. You break off a piece and hand your fork over for a taste…only to have it returned with chocolate frosting skid marks where the frosting is streaked across the tines, coated with the thinnest sheen of saliva.
Sugar, by the way, starts its digestive process once it hits the saliva in your mouth, so this is partially digested food you’re getting back to put into your own mouth.
Now, let’s flip it around to someone with chocolate cake stabbing their fork into your lemon chiffon cake for a little tasty taste. Leaving little chocolate stab wounds in your formerly beautiful lemony goodness.
Reason #111 can actually work retroactively in a relationship. Sasha and I were entertaining another couple at our house one time. I was talking to them in the living room while he took care of some stuff in the kitchen.
I knew I was a hindrance versus s help in the kitchen.
He took a break to walk out and join us, absentmindedly taking my soda can from me and taking a sip. When he handed it back, I told him he could keep it.
“I just wanted one drink” he replied.
“Well, I’m done now” I told him, warily eying the soda trapped in the tough around the top of the can.
Everyone stopped talking and immediately let their heads jerk in my direction. My brother started laughing at my gaffe, his girlfriend…well, I saw all the whites of her eyes and Sasha – I think – was mentally packing a suitcase.
What did I do? Obviously, walking that remark back was the right strategy.
I stood my ground.
I’m sorry, but it’s gross. Yes, intellectually, I can easily find a path to we swap spit on the reg with our SOs. But, in the moment, controlling decades of carelessly cultivated involuntary peccadillos was a bit more than I could manage. I figured that this was as good a time as any to explain one of my quirks.
I was wrong, of course.
I’ve evolved past it at this point…old grumpy dog + new trick = growth.
On a less gross side of food sharing is what I refer to as food regrets. Italian cuisine is where this usually gets me. There is literally no bad Italian food. The downside to this up is that you can order a perfectly good meal, only to be bummed out that someone else’s meal is mind blowing just by taking a little sample.
Suddenly, my $18 pasta entree is just a plate of sad.
Food regrets made an appearance the morning after I successfully cleared the pizza/dating hurdle last week. We went for coffee with The Silver Fox, his and my norm. The Fox tried to offer me a taste of his drip – he had strayed from our usual cold brew since it was cold and rainy.
He didn’t like his and offered me a taste. Nope, even though you don’t like it, I might. Even if I don’t, which is likely, it will probably take several swallows of my cold brew to untaint my palate.
Just not worth it.
Maybe I should date a psychiatrist…