Posted by: foodtalker | June 11, 2011

home grown

The credit crunch has made people frugal – and industrious.  Does everything these days have to be homemade?  Now it seems there’s a backlash against anything that is store-bought.

A few weeks ago I went to a party and took the hostess some chocolate cheesecake brownies.  She put them on a plate and passed them around.  Everyone seemed happy.  Right up until someone asked: “Did you make these?”

It’s no longer enough to bring something, I have to claim having made it too?  I said no, I hadn’t made the brownies and in an effort to redeem myself pointed out that they were Fair Trade, that no animals had been exploited or harmed and my employees were well paid.  No one cared.  The guests continued chewing, but disappointment hung in the air. 

I am in the food business and it’s just assumed I personally make every morsel produced.  Food fairies are at work in the wings.

Suddenly, instead of making money, people have started making cookies.  My friend Laura was excited about a new man she’d met.  She loves that he bakes and makes pasta from scratch and declared: “He’s very self-sufficient.”  Why?  Because he knows how to make a peanut butter cookie and can shove his dough through a hand-cranked ravioli machine?

The other day I ran into a friend on the street and made a comment that I loved her hat.  She took it off and handed it to me.  “It’s yours,” she smiled.  “I made it.”

It was like a scene out of Fiddler on the Roof.  Only instead of a Russian Shtetl, we were in Lexington, Kentucky.  I know that times are tough but is this what it has come to?  People are making things and giving them away.  No wonder stores are closing.

Generally speaking I am not good at making craft things.  I’ve tried in the past but it hasn’t worked out.  Sure I can come up with something edible but not every occasion calls for food and I’ve discovered no one really wants a poem for their birthday.

There are people who are not only good at making things but actually enjoy it.  Ella, for example, will always make a homemade card, the kind you’ll want to spend money having framed later.  Every year the cards become more creative.  She has an arsenal of glue guns and glitter, rhinestones and markers; and she puts pressure on herself to improve upon previous years.  When she’s making a card, she’s in lockdown.

Giving homemade gifts is one thing, receiving them is another.  A good friend gave me a scarf she had knitted and I love it and wear it all the time.  The wearing of it has caused some loops to come undone so I sent her an email concerned that it might unravel.  She wrote back: I did the best I could.

It wasn’t a criticism, it was an enquiry.  Should I have said nothing?  I was looking to extend the life of her gift.

Making something should be a magnanimous gesture with no expectations that it will be reciprocated or even appreciated.  If I buy someone a handbag, I don’t want to feel badly that I didn’t tan the leather.

Not everyone is willing or able to bake their own bread or grow their own vegetables.  There are plenty of reasons I let people down – not being able to hand-embroider a kimono shouldn’t be one of them.

Posted by: foodtalker | May 31, 2011

tight fit

I’ve got some concerns about the new airline ruling.  Recently United Airlines and others announced that extra-large passengers will have to purchase the seat next to them if they don’t fit in the seat, can’t lower the arm rest, or need an extra seatbelt extender.  Whether or not this policy is right or wrong is up for debate but worst of all is that they have left the decision to enforce it with airline staff at the check-in counter of the airport.

This can lead to nothing but trouble.  To begin with, what if you don’t consider yourself large?  You’re feeling good, about to take a trip, turn up at the airport for your flight and the agent suddenly tells you that you have to pay double?  I see either a fist fight or years of therapy right there.

There’s just no practical way to enforce this policy.  What are they going to do?  Ask people to disclose their BMI and step on a scale?  Good luck getting any of my girlfriends to do that.  It’s the annual moment of dread getting weighed in the privacy of my doctor’s office when no one is there and the nurse knows better than to shout out the reading.  What are the chances I’ll stand on scales that might not have been calibrated for months and in front of hundreds of strangers?  Nil.

Perhaps they will build a metal cage similar to the one they have for testing the size of carry-on luggage.  Then people will be asked to get into the cage and if their flesh bulges through the bars they’ll be declared over the size limit.   But it’s not like being able to redistribute your belongings throughout your other suitcases.  You know people will try to squish themselves in saying, “It’s not me, it’s my clothes.  I’m wearing layers.”  

A big part of the problem is that what constitutes fat is subjective.  There are some people who think anything over-size 8 is plus-size.  I don’t want these people in a position of power.

I know this decision is intended for people who are obese, but once it’s in the hands of the airline staff, anything can happen.  Let’s say they’re having a bad day and feeling vengeful.  Where you sit and whether or not you even get on the plane comes down to their mood.  As it is I’ve been in enough unpleasant altercations about aisle seats.

What if they have not only the last word, but the ultimate weapon.  I can hear it now.  “Sorry, looks to me like you’re too fat to fly.”

Also, I’m wondering if there will be extensive training in tactful protocol?  Because there really is no good way to deliver this news.  In Britain, for example, they would be extremely polite.  “May I suggest, my good man, that you purchase an additional seat as your girth exceeds the limits.”  Whereas in New York, it’s more likely to be a case of “Git yer lard ass of this plane.”  Definitely a lawsuit waiting to happen.

There’s so much angst about travelling as it is, do we really need one more thing to be anxious about?  At what point must a heavy passenger worry about public humiliation aswell?

I’ll complain about a lot of things but I’d never complain about that.  Because no matter how uncomfortable it’s been for me, I know it must be far worse for them.  I save my complaints for behavioural traits, not physical ones.  Why not make someone with poor parenting skills purchase another seat, or sit at the back near the toilets.  Or someone who’s wearing cheap cloying cologne.  Screen for that at the ticketing counter please.

Posted by: foodtalker | May 7, 2011

in the details

Sometimes I can be pedantic.  Especially when it comes to food.  I like to know what I’m eating.  The other day I asked a simple question.  “Does that have onions in it?”  The woman behind the deli counter gave me the basilisk stare.  “I don’t think so,” she replied.  But she didn’t seem to have convinced herself and so stared at the beet salad for a few seconds.  I waited patiently knowing that if it was just a simple question of obvious visibility; I would have been able to answer my own question.

Eventually, and to her credit, she reached the inevitable conclusion.  “I can’t tell,” she announced.

“Can I get a sample?” I asked.  This time a blank stare.  I rephrased my question.  “Can I try it?”  You would have thought I was asking in Urdu for a free bowl of  Beluga Caviar or for her to define the meaning of life.  Although that might have been less perplexing for her at that point.

Maybe she thought I was going to be one of those “problematic” customers who is allergic to everything and was planning to give her a systematic working over about the ingredients of each dish.  Quite the opposite was the case.  I just think that beet salad is so much better with onions in it, and lots of them.  So too bad my reasonable question put her on the defensive, and too bad that the beet salad once tasted, proved onion-less.

There are people who can’t pass by a plate of free food without taking a nibble and have no problem asking for a “generous” sample helping before purchasing anything from salsa to spatchcock.  

But there are some items that lend themselves more readily to a tasting, and then there are those people who will make a whole meal out of being tasters.  It’s sort of a career choice.  But how to supply a taste of  Sole Meunier?  It’s like asking for an elephant sandwich.  The entire creation has to be sacrificed for the one request. 

When it comes to food samples, I’ll only try it if it comes in a sample-sized cup or if there’s a toothpick provided.  I’m not particularly squeamish and have always believed the way to build up immunities is by exposure and conquest.  But is there anything more depressing than a few dry cubes of  sundry cheeses on a paper plate, without a toothpick?  The last thing they are shouting is,  “Eat Me”.  Who even wants to touch them?

“I do,” my friend Jennie says with pride.  “I have extra germ immunity from eating samples people have touched with their grubby little fingers.  Who needs penicillin?” 

Touching fruit slices are another matter. Those slimy nectarine slices – she’ll even touch those.  I told her that she could go on a show like Fear Factor and win a bucket of money for that kind of cool-headed risk taking.

Even with a tooth-pick I’m on the alert.  I’ve seen people double-dip with the same toothpick or even return with a half-eaten morsel, at which point they may as well be rootling with their snouts.

Sneeze-guards on those all day buffets don’t impress me either.  I once read that those germs explode into the atmosphere and travel at 80 millimeters a second.   Sounds to me like they can fly a long way.

Posted by: foodtalker | May 1, 2011

against the tide

I don’t watch much television, but the other night I was glued to a nature programme about the sardine run that takes place every year off the coast of South Africa.

Apparently a shoal of sardines – billions of them – make their way to cool waters on what can only be described as a “desperate journey” to survive.

Low in the food chain, up against an army of predators – sharks, dolphins, gannets and whales, it’s not as if they can fight back.  It’s not even survival of the fittest.  There’s nothing fair about the selection process.  It just depends on whether your number is up.  A crap shoot.

Once the feeding frenzy begins, it’s the luck of the draw.  The gannets dive-bomb from above and the whales just tread water with their mouths open.  Thousands of your close friends and family are consumed in a second.

Watching this I wondered if the sardines who survived were grateful.  Were they aware of their narrow escape?  Were they in a state of grief for those who had been gobbled up?

I asked a friend who also watched the show if she thought the surviving sardines had any sense of guilt. She said she’d never given this question any thought and had watched the show and then drifted off into peaceful slumbers.

Not me.  I couldn’t help but think there was no skill involved as to which sardines made the break.  Is that a metaphor for life?  They were either eaten or not.

It was all about luck, timing and placement in the crowd.  It had nothing to do with ability, swimming skills, merit, individual worth, or a longterm plan.  And anyway, those that escaped – then what?  All that effort to wind up crammed into a tin?

In that pack of billions there’d have to have been at least one lone sardine that worried about what was to become of them.   Some bright spark with an eye to the future.

If I was a sardine I’d have problems.  I hate to be jostled.  I don’t do well in crowds especially when closely packed.  I’d want to know where we were going, when we’d get there, who’s in charge and why we needed to go anywhere anyway.  The shoal would probably dump me.  I’d be considered a rogue sardine.

Were I to try out for a television nature programme I can hear Sir David Attenborough’s sympathetic remarks now:  “It’s a very desperate journey.  This soon to be endangered species is trying not to get eaten.  As a result she is becoming more and more reclusive.” 

There would be comparisons to other solitary and anti-social creatures.  Like the three-toed sloth.  I too, can drag myself along and hang around for hours without appearing to stir.

As for mating habits – nothing much there to observe. 

Natural habitat explorations would be mundane.  “There she is taking out the trash,”  and “There she is cleaning her teeth.”  Boring observations and he’d move on.

Periodically I’d make some daring foray to the dry cleaners or the grocery store.  These would be seen as brave undertakings against frightening odds on a perilous journey.

Sympathetically the final conclusion would say: “It may seem like a few short steps, but for the lesser-spotted Savage, it’s been  a mountain to climb.

Posted by: foodtalker | April 9, 2011

dressed up

Today I was walking down the street in my usual long shapeless tunic, a boxy black diaphanous top, elastic-waisted pants and flip-flops.  Essentially invisible.  Ahead of me was a woman in a tight mini-skirt and stiletto heels. 

Even though I was only a few paces behind her, it was like we were from different worlds.  All the wolf-whistles were aimed at her and she ate them up, flipping her hair and smiling in return.  There was no sharing of admiration.

What I couldn’t figure out is, how did this make her feel good?  I’m all for attention, but I want it to mean something.  Anyone can get a wolf-whistle wearing five-inch heels.  You’re wearing shoes that say: “Look at me”, and then some…..  What I want are a pair of shoes that say: “Hey you, I’m a really nice, kind, charismatic, caring, loving, giving, stable and intelligent person.”  What do they look like?  Because I want a pair in every colour – even if they pinch.

It’s not that I’m jealous or puritanical but I can’t get over what some women are willing to wear out in public to get a gawk, a wink and a whistle.  When I see them wearing five-inch heels wobbling and lurching along I don’t think “sexy”, I think “Dr Scholl’s.”

It’s all about comfort level.  I’d rather reveal myself emotionally.  Some women happily display cleavage, I’d rather display issues.  I’ll tell you all about how I feel, but put me in a sleeveless dress and suddenly I feel overexposed.

My friend Sarah said, “Maybe that’s because you don’t dress for success.”  Sarah has always perfected the sexy secretary look .  Which, after the sexy nurse look, has a kinky suggestion to it and seems more like successful attire for a career in porn.

What does dressing for success mean anyway?  I don’t consider this much anymore because I mostly work from home.  Which means that I’ve gotten used to wearing my pyjamas until I feel like not wearing them any more.  Often the deciding factor being that I can’t wear them out. 

Part of the reason I don’t dress up all the time is because I want there to be some sort of sliding scale.  That gives people the opportunity to say, “Gosh, you look really nice today.”  I don’t want people thinking I look good all the time.  That just establishes an unrealistic precedent.  It makes it hard to live up to oneself.  Some days I just don’t feel like lipstick and earrings and underpinnings.

When I was younger and eager I would make more of an effort.  I thought it was all about feathers and finery.  Now I can’t be bothered.  Anyway, years of being in the food business has taught me that “you wear who you are”, or “you wear what you do”.  Either way, there were too many stains that never came out.  Nowadays anything that has to be dry-cleaned has been mothballed or classified as dress ups.

My friend Elizabeth, who also works from home, considers anything beyond a T-shirt as formal.  “When I have to go into the office,” she says, “I’ll wear something with buttons.  Or maybe a bit of a heel.  If I add a scarf or a belt, people will think I am trying to get a raise.”

Recently I had to buy an outfit for a formal affair.  The sales woman who worked with me pointed out the many possibilities and variables.  But why would I wear a fancy dress during the day even if I could downgrade it to “casual” with a pair of flats and no jewelry.  Jammies work just fine.

Posted by: foodtalker | March 5, 2011

full circle

Just about every month, maybe more often, my son tries to cajole me into changing aol as my email server.  It’s an ongoing campaign of his.

Nearly everyone I know is frustrated with the fact that I’m still on aol and their question always is: “Why won’t you switch?” 

Well, here’s why.  I don’t like change.  I’ve been using aol since the beginning of time and I’m attached.  It’s part of my persona.  I’m a loyal friend.  A thick and thin sort of person.  There have been times when I’ve been irritated and frustrated and I’ve explored other options, but I’ve never been convinced that switching would improve the deal.  I like my homepage.  It feels like home.

And if I were to change and adopt another email identity, wouldn’t it be like life on the lam?  How would some of my more vague and peripheral friends find me if I underwent an email identity change?  Receiving an automated response that my AOL email address was no longer available?  Would they lament my disappearance?  Would they Google me?  How hard would they try?  What if they gave me up for dead?

I’ve heard friends tout Gmail as so much better.  Really?  Will it automatically answer my emails for me?  Will it send smiley faces?  Can it cook dinner and make beds, be seductive?  Unless it has something exceptional to offer, well, what’s the point? 

My girlfriend Rowena said that Gmail has unlimited storage.  But, as I look about my home, bulging at the seams, I’m not sure that their cyber warehouse will help with storing my stuff.    

Changing an e-mail account might be simple, but not for me.  It’s an identity crisis.  One look at all the steps involved and I start to doubt myself.   How to summarize myself in a word?  Besides, all the code names I think of have been taken and require additional numbers.  Who wants to be KateSavage1038976?  Adding a dot doesn’t help.  And I’ve run out of passwords that I can remember.

Then last week someone who has been trying to wean me off aol told me that it wasn’t tech savvy and it’s the email address old people use.   

This didn’t bother me as much as it should.  Maybe because I’m beginning to feel old anyway.  Is AOL the elder’s badge of honour?  And anyway why do I have to be savvy in every area of life?   I read the New York and the London Times on-line every day,  I know how to download a book on iTunes and sync it to my iPhone, I use Skype and text all the time, so I’m not such a total Luddite.  Although I think Twitter is for the birds.

Whilst it’s true that many of my friends abandoned aol long ago, I feel a bond with those who have remained connected.  Shout out to you all.  There’s kudos in loyalty.  We’re the generation that listened to cassette tapes on Sony Walkmans.  We still have albums on vinyl.  We have VCR’s.  And landlines.  We’ve dug in for the duration and we’re not going anywhere.

Anyway, at what point did an email address become the be-all descriptor of who we are?  Is getting an email from someone with a Yahoo address that much sexier?  Or maybe Hotmail has a point to plug?

One of the joys of being old is that it provides an excuse to avoid change.   And maybe if I hang in there long enough, aol will go full circle and become hip again, like those cowboy boots.

Posted by: foodtalker | February 26, 2011

way out

Being single, having an exit strategy is critical.  Especially when it comes to escaping a situation you don’t want to be in and even more so when those situations involve being trapped and stuck talking to someone you don’t want to talk to.  There are people who know exactly the right thing to say to bow out graciously from an uncomfortable or dull conversation.  I’m not one of them. 

For example, I’ve yet to figure out how to stop my eyes glazing over.  It seems to be an involuntary reflex due to lack of stimulation.  One minute I’m really trying to listen and give the appearance of hanging on every word, the next I know my eyes have that far away look.  What’s worse is when the person talking notices and says, “Oh, I must be boring you.”   I never know exactly what to reply.   Should I say, “Well, you do seem to like the sound of your own voice.”?  Nobody wants to hear that.  Because as much as people say they appreciate honesty, they honestly don’t. 

Being stuck in a conversation on the phone is easy.  There are lots of viable reasons you might have to go.  At work I can always say I’ve lost track of time and have a meeting in five minutes.  At home I’ve trained my dog to bark to a hand signal.  Got to go, someone’s at the door.

Talking on a cell – the exit strategies are abundant.  The battery is dying.  Or it’s too windy.  Or, whoops – the signal dropped.  Just going through a tunnel.   Only later you’ll realize you thought you were talking to them at home .  The other day someone said, “Sorry, my cheek hit the mute button.”  Sure it did.

But when you’re at a party it’s entirely different.  It’s not like you can say, I have to get the other line.”  Excuses are tricky because people can actually see you.

Even if your phone does ring, parties are usually so loud it’s hard to hear unless you’re holding your purse to your ear.

One time I said my phone was ringing even though it wasn’t.  I said it was on vibrate, reached into my purse and pretended to take the call.  Then I said apologetically that it was a private call, and left the room.  I thought I’d made my break until I saw the person I’d been talking to had followed me into the hall and was lurking nearby.  Presumably patiently waiting to resume where we left off.  Who does that?

When I ended my fake phone call he asked if everything was okay and I said not really, I had to go.  I ended up leaving the party in order to commit to the lie.  That’s a high price to pay.

Sometimes I’ll say I need to use the restroom but then I’ll make a crucial mistake because if I don’t want to hurt their feelings I’ll add, “I’ll be back in a minute.”

If they’re intuitive they’ll know “I’ll be back in a minute” really means “See ya pal.”  But the likelihood of that is slim because if they were that intuitive, it wouldn’t have been necessary to say it in the first place.  Plus, the whole point of a good exit strategy is to exit.  Not to set up the expectation of a return.

Posted by: foodtalker | February 13, 2011

cheek by jowl

There’s something about personal space:  it’s, well, personal.  But there are always people who will cross that invisible line, which they have to know is there. 

Recently this happened whilst I was waiting to check in at the airport.  A woman who was standing behind me was so close, I could feel her breath on my neck.  Not pleasant.  It was the equivalent of human tailgating: where was her spatial awareness?  Probably packed in her carry-on.  I’m sorry, if you’re a stranger I just don’t want to be that aware of you.

I turned around and gave her one of my special reserved looks.  It didn’t work.  The line moved forward and so did she.  Finally I snapped at her and said, “Can you take a step back please?”  She took a look over her shoulder and shrugged – as if she wondered if I was addressing her, or had no room to back up.  Neither was the case.  She had plenty of room.  How could it not bother her?  Maybe she came from a large family.  Anyhow, I decided not to confront her further because then, on top of standing too close, she’d be talking too close as well.  Besides, I might end up seated next to her on the plane for the next seven hours . . . .  with a broken arm rest.

Even worse than the space invaders are the face invaders.  There’s no need to be that in-your-face close unless I am about to kiss you.  And there haven’t been too many of those lately. 

Recently at a cocktail party attended by people from all over the world, I was cornered by a woman from Japan who had no concept at all of the acceptable body space that needs to exist between two people.  She might even have been interesting but I couldn’t concentrate on a thing she was saying because the entire time she was talking our noses were virtually touching.

It wasn’t as if we were packed in like sardines.  A crowded bar, I get it.  But at a cocktail party in a large spacious home with less than a dozen people?  How to make sense of it? 

“It’s an American complex,” my host said later.  “Because America is so vast and much of it’s empty, people get used to wide open spaces.”

Really?  I’m not so sure.  The reason I need distance between me and the person I’m speaking with has less to do with the wide open plains of America and more to do with the fact that I don’t want to be able to smell what the other person had for lunch or count their fillings.

Just as bad as the people who physically encroach into my space are the ones who, for example at the grocery, use their carts in the same way by shoving them hard up against me.   It’s a passive form of bullying, and I love the way they always grin and say “Ooops, sorry.”

I’m curious what compels people to get so close in the first place.  Maybe the woman at the cocktail party was born in a Tokyo subway?  Or maybe she’s a twin.  I imagine once you’ve shared a womb for nine months, personal space might not be a huge issue.

Obviously everyone has a different comfort zone when it comes to personal space.  My own boundaries are dictated by the circumstances and what is necessary.  When in a romantic relationship, it doesn’t both me because I’ve sanctioned the space invasion and the closer they get the better.  My gynaecologist, dentist, and ear, nose and throat doctor can all get as close as they like without bothering me.

In fact, I’d never say to any one of them, “Could you step back please – you’re way too close looking into that orifice.”

Posted by: foodtalker | January 30, 2011

yesterday’s greens

There are some definite advantages to going out with an ex-boyfriend.  The best thing is the feeling of having made progress.  Even though not much might have happened in my life since breaking up, the simple fact that we’re no longer together is enough to make me feel a sense of accomplishment.

A few nights ago I went out with an ex.  When I got to the restaurant, he was smiling.  “It’s so good to see you,” he said.  And I could tell he meant it.  If only he’d looked at me like that when we’d been dating.

When we were seeing each other things would have been so much better if only I could have ignored the sense that it wouldn’t last.  I asked him what he was looking for.  His response?  “I’m not looking.”  It was hard to engage after that.

But now there’s nothing at stake.  I can be the girlfriend he always wanted.  For instance, at four o’clock in the afternoon he called to let me know he might need to cancel dinner that evening.  “That’s fine,” I said.  “Just let me know either way.”  He was astonished.  “Why couldn’t you have been this easy-going when we were dating?”

Here’s why.  Because now it doesn’t matter.  Why is that so hard to figure out?  As long as I’m not emotionally invested, I don’t feel rejected.

And when I’m not looking forward to something, there’s no disappointment when it doesn’t happen.  It doesn’t matter if he cancels – because I haven’t planned for a week ahead of time what I am going to wear. 

Not caring also means there’s no jealousy.  He can talk to me about his sex life with his new girlfriend as much as he wants.  He might as well be talking about the stock exchange.  I can listen intently to what he is saying, even offer suggestions, because instead of wondering what he really means, all I feel is a huge relief that I no longer have to second-guess him.  Instead of angst there is concern.

Spending time with an ex-boyfriend is easy because there’s a familiarity without the complications.  Things don’t have the significance they once had.  For example, he can look at his watch, and it’s nothing I take personally.  He can say certain things that I don’t mind him saying.  An ex-boyfriend saying “You’re such a special person, how come you haven’t found someone?” is sweet.  But if he had said it when we were dating I would have been crushed.  

For some reason – when you’re the ex – everything that was the problem in the first place becomes affectionate nostalgia.  Over dinner he was talking about his current girlfriend and mentioned that what he liked about her was that she needed him.  “That’s the opposite of you!” He roared.  “You were always so independent!”  Ah, the memories.

I came to a realisation.  I’m so much better as an ex-girlfriend than I am as a girlfriend.  From now on when I meet someone new, I should give them the heads-up and suggest we skip over the dating part and move straight into a break-up.  “You’ll hate me as a girlfriend but, trust me, you’ll love me as an ex.”

Posted by: foodtalker | January 23, 2011

seeing is believing

The predictions for this year stated there will be an increase in global warming, terrorism and blind dating.  I can handle the first two, somehow they seem less daunting.  But a blind date?  Cooling the earth is way less challenging. 

And don’t get me wrong, I went on a blind date once, so it’s not as if I’m discarding the idea willy-nilly.   But blind dating is like cowboy boots.  Just because they’re back doesn’t mean I plan to get a pair.

Anyway, what’s wrong with internet dating?  Who wouldn’t prefer to sit alone in a bathrobe sipping coffee and trawling through misleading photos, pretending to be charming and witty in e-mails?  But then on the other hand, maybe web dating is too easy.  Maybe people are nostalgic for getting dressed up, having no idea what your date will look like, the exhilarating rush of anticipation, and then being totally bummed out and forced to sit through dinner for two hours.

 Maybe they like the old-fashioned feeling of disappointment. 

The last time I went on a blind date – actually the one and only time – I was fixed up by a  really close girlfriend.  Even her husband weighed in on the match and agreed we were a perfect fit. 

Having spoken on the phone first, he agreed to pick me up and take me to dinner at an upscale local restaurant.  When he arrived in a truck, I knew it would be a long night. 

It’s not that I’m a super snob about a car, but just like the cowboy boots, I don’t do trucks either.  They probably go together anyway along with deer hunting.  Something else I don’t do.

Predictably the evening was torture for both of us.  We stuck it out though, because we didn’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings.  But I made him so nervous he knocked over his glass of water and soaked my skirt.  There was no way back after that.  I knew that the right thing to do was pay for my own meal.

When he dropped me back home I ran as fast as was decorous and once inside leaned against the door and let out an audible “phew”.  I’m pretty sure I heard him squeal his tires.

Naturally I couldn’t wait to call my girlfriend.  “What were you thinking?” I asked.  “How’d it go,” she enquired.  “How’d it go?” I asked.  “Are you kidding?  He picked me up in a truck, wearing cowboy boots and talking about deer hunting season.  Where did you see any common denominators?”  “Well he seemed to be an arty type, doesn’t he make pots?” she said,  “I think of you as arty.” 

But maybe my blind date experience was better than my friend Sue’s.  At dinner she went to the restroom and came back to find he was rummaging around in his pockets and produced a syringe and cotton swabs.  “Did they tell you I’m diabetic?” he asked,  as he lifted his shirt and jabbed insulin into his stomach.  How’s that for an appetite suppressant?  She said the rest of the evening was spent talking about his diseases. 

Maybe some work out.  Madonna met her husband on a blind date.  Not that they’re still together.  But it probably helps to gloss over the “blind” bit, when you’re fabulously rich and Sting is the matchmaker.   For me though, I plan to press on with my eyes wide open.

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