I’ve been single for about 6 months now, and in preparation to even start thinking about dating again, I’ve hauled out my copy of He’s Just Not That Into You. One might say this is a pretty pessimistic play before getting back in the game, but don’t let the hot pink and green chick-lit cover deceive you—there’s some pretty decent advice in there. Even if it is written in a self-consciously “edgy” style studded with words like foxy and fierce and with the occasional four letter word tossed into the mix, just so that we single girls know that the writers are equally as angry about the state of the dating world as we are. But the bottom line is, it’s about knowing when to stick around and when to run like hell in the other direction. The take home point is: You deserve better.
There’s something about that phrase “just not that into” that I straight up LOVE. I like to apply it to as many non-dating situations as I can—food obviously being one of them. In that past two years, I’ve ditched most of my annoying adolescent food phobias. (To say that my Mom is over the moon would be an understatement, we’d need to pick something further out in the solar system.) At my college graduation, my list of gastro-no-nos would have looked something like this:
1. Olives. Now, I like them best when they’ve gone for a swim in a martini glass full of Bombay Sapphire, but I’ll take them on my pizza and in my salads.
2. Mushrooms. If it grew on a wet log, a pile of manure, or an old, water-logged welcome mat, I was definitely not into it. These days, I dare you to try and haul me off a grilled Portobello.
3. Angel hair pasta. Silly, I know. But to a 15 year-old me the pasta shapes tasted different. I was a big fan of linguine, fusilli, and shells.
4. Rare meat. Pretty much all meat, but surely not if it was chilly and red inside. But oh, Lord, have I seen the error of my ways.
5. All manner of stinky cheeses. Not surprising for a kid, but at this point cheeses need to smell like a New Jersey landfill to get me to pass them up.
6. Fennel. Seeds, bulbs, fronds. Anise flavor was a definite no-go.
7. Soft scrambled eggs. I still hold that the texture is nothing short of boogery, but I can handle it now.
8. I could go on, but you’re getting the idea. Tripe, innards of any kind, sweetbreads, bull testicles, tongues…but I feel that people who like, much less love, these things are more the exception than the rule.
Though I am a much more enlightened diner, there are still a few stragglers—things I am really just not that into. Not because I won’t eat them (at this point I’ll pretty much eat anything), but because I think I deserve better. I do…don’t I?
1. Mayonnaise. Hands down my biggest shiver-inspiring food. The gentle slurping-sucking noise it makes as it pulls away from the side of the jar is all I’d have to think about if I ever decide to be bulemic (not likely). They way it oozes out of other people’s sandwiches and winds up winking at you from the corners of their mouths. The way it ALWAYS gets on your hands when you stick a knife in the jar to fish it out. I have to stop—I am legitimately making myself queasy. I will, however, suck it up and use it for things like tuna, chicken, and egg salad in moderation. But I much prefer other people to prepare those things for me.
2. Cold leftover poultry (sandwiches). For me, the worst way to experience this clammy, refrigerator-cold meat is in a sandwich Mom has made us for some car trip. It doesn’t matter if she has remembered I hate mayo or not (you’re getting better, Mom!). Either way it’s a textural nightmare: frigid chunks of meat with errant bits of fatty skin, some kind of condiment, maybe some equally chilly hunks of cheese or a few stray pieces of lettuce, all on squishy bread. The whole thing looks kind of lumpy. Need I go on?
3. And finally, Monterey Jack Cheese. Blah, totally bland. I can’t think of any cheese I’d rather eat less. It’s not worth the calories, it’s not worth the time it takes to cut it! I’m gonna throw it out there: I’d rather eat Kraft Singles. And sure, you could argue that Polly-O has about the same texture and flavor, but Monterey Jack has the nerve to have a cool name and be from California and still suck. That’s like a hot guy being boring and lame. And in my book, that’s reason enough to run in other direction. With cheese, unlike men, I know I can do better.