Friday, August 31, 2012

Not So Souper! In which I discuss, Lame Game Consomme.

Lordy, how I’ve missed you! I know, I hang my head in shame, but I’ve been AWOL--Avoiding Words on Love--for a reason, because reading my current Saga of Self-Sabotage would be like taking contraceptive, birthing, or etiquette advice from Snooki.  It is bad for your health.  Don’t do it. 

So I removed Self from commentary, but then something happened, dear Reader, something that so incensed, so infuriated, that my livid life-paddles charged and jolted my rotten, ruined writer’s heart into action!

She has a pulse!  Yuppers.  My pulmonary pumps again and has sent emergency supplies to the dark, neglected, wordy whorls, flushing the cobwebs of unused adjectives into the rapids of my mind;  rafts of inspiration hurtling dangerously throughout and coursing straight to my fingertips. 

“What the Fuck?  What the fuck?  What the fuck?”  I didn’t say that they were eloquent words gushing to my digits.  They were, however, incredulous ones, fitting for commentary as to the actions of species Unbelievable Neanderthal. 

Here's the back story... I tend to work weekends, just as much, if not more, than weekdays, but still, even I feel that Pavlovian conditioning when Friday night comes around: that yearning to be out, to be doing things, meeting people; exercising elbow and jaw in perfect social unison.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.  I am not 90.  Or 60, or 20.  I don’t need to “party,” but neither do I need to crochet or study my eyelids.  OR MAKE TOMATO SOUP!

My friend, “Samantha” is very much of the same mindset, if not more, so when Friday night rolls around... whoa there Shep!  Samantha heartily believes that life is for living; that you should do and see and experience all the world has to offer; that you should seize the day, or the man, NOT THE FRUIT DISGUISED AS A VEGETABLE.

Samantha is dating a man, let’s call him “Norman.”  I have not met Norman.  I like to think that Norman is a swell bloke, that he appreciates her joie de vivre, that he is chivalrous, charismatic and kind.  (I have not seen or heard evidence of this, but I hope.)  

So here's the scene: it's a sticky Friday night in August; the outside bars are hopping; festivals and fairs are boasting their usual summer fried buffet of ethic oddities and curious cover bands; pools are open; lake-lounging is commonplace; in short, there's shit to do!  Imagine, therefore, my incredulity and fist-thump to the pulmonary when I listen to a pained, wince-worthy, message from mi amiga at 7pm on such a Friday. 

The Pained Heart or Sigh No More, Ladies. Arthur Hughes
“Hey E.” *sigh* “So… guess where I am driving?” *Heart-heavy, disappointed voice—v. unlike Samantha.*  “I’m driving to Norman’s mother’s house, to MAKE TOMATO SOUP.” *insert embarrassed titter bordering on hysteria.* “Yes.  Soup.  I promised I would make an effort and spend time with him and I said “Sure!  Let’s do something Friday.” He told me he had plans, but I was welcome to join.  PLANS!  He said he had PLANS.  Since when does making tomato soup with mom constitute PLANS?”

It’s a very good question, Reader. 

I laughed as the unleashed torrent of words surfed through my brain, and then came the guilt, because my fabulous friend was so disappointed.  This was the guy with whom she really wanted to make it work, but he was, indeed and in fact, LAME.  I sighed with her.

I’m not writing to bash anyone, but to ask an important question in the hopes that we Singletons can evolve and learn from Date-Foolery: is “cooking” with mother an acceptable Friday Date Night?

 Now, before you think me a hideous Date-Snob, let’s talk about what a date is supposed to be and what most women, and men, want from a date. 

A “date” according to the Free Dictionary is, amongst other things, “an engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of romantic interest.”  EXHIBIT A.

A “date” according to the Urban Dictionary is, “two people” uh huh, not three, “getting together for an activity when the possibility of romance between them has been broached but not ruled out.”  EXHIBIT B.

But let’s say, you chose not to go out socially, because your pet Chihuahua has separation anxiety, or you haven’t been paid, or you’ve indulged in a Food Network marathon and now have mad cooking skills, and a tantalizing new recipe for creamy chicken and asparagus risotto.  You can impress and entertain your date with a nice intimate evening at home!  Or maybe, it’s your date who is tonight’s menu feature and you just want to be at home so you can refill glasses, drain inhibitions and get cosy!   

MMMM!  Sounds divine!  Yes, I accept!  I love to be cooked for!  There are fewer, more intimate dates one can be asked on.  Preparation and execution!  Creating, tasting, seasoning a dish and feeding your beloved is quite the act of love.  Or like.  Or lust.  Whatever.  It is some expression of care and is, to me, extraordinarily sexy; so a chap who knows and loves his food, and wants to share it with me, immediately earns kudos.  Bonus points if it's an interactive date where I can help, and lick things.

Food Porn, by Chala Jan
Once Upon A Time, long, long ago, there was a Beloved who decided he would take me on a date to Mexico in his kitchen.  He blended frozen margaritas, we chopped and sautéed, we fed each other, we danced around the kitchen, guacamole flying to the ceiling as he swooped me up in his arms and licked sour cream from my cheek.  It was all quite 9 ½ Weeks.  It was Caliente.   But, two important factors here, Reader: firstly, no parents were involved, and therefore none harmed, in this Food Date; secondly, tomato soup does not a sexy entrée make! 

“Hey Baby, I make a mean…tomato soup.”  It’s just not sexy.  It makes me think of fingerless-gloves and ugly sweaters, not lusty longing and new third date lingerie.

And I do love soup.  In January.  When there is fuck all else to eat, but really?  Dude?  On a Friday?  In August?  My Inner Gourmand keeled over and just died.

Now, sure, a “date” is supposed to be to get to know one another, and I suppose crushing, stewing, simmering and canning tomatoes is an “activity” so it is bona fide, but is it sexy?  Not unless you are Anthony Bourdain spicing it up with a glug of vodka and inimitable style.  No.  It is not.  It is ordinary.

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”  

I adore a man who shows up at my door, wine in hand, who will sweep me up into his arms and be pleased to see me.  He does not have to take me on an expensive date to impress me; we could go to Jitty Joe’s for ice cream, or a hike, or to the lake, a beach, get cosy watching a movie; or he could surprise me with paint samples and help me reach the places I cannot; or catch me on the ladder; or flick the loaded brush at me and tackle me to the drop cloth.  But we’d be together, just the two of us, a team, perhaps doing ordinary things, but making them extraordinary. 

I can only hope he wants to make the effort beyond the first fistful of dates.

So maybe I am being unfair to poor Norman.  Maybe tomato soup-making on a Friday night isn’t so very awful.  Maybe he had plans of Lycopene-Lovin’ with the fair Samantha.  But sharing with mother?  ON A FRIDAY NIGHT?  Let’s just say, the soup would need to be damn good.  Or, I'd have to be sick.  Or drunk.  Or both.
See, she clearly already deranged.  Don't let this happen to you, Reader.

Have you ever invited a date on a soup-making soiree?  Or have you been invited on a similarly surprising and perhaps bemusingly ordinary date night?  

If there is a next date, I really hope Samantha invites Norman to help her cut her grass.  On a Saturday night.  With her Dad.

And, if that doesn’t give Norman the message, my inner Mary Poppins has a special word to teach Samantha.  It goes like this:


Um diddle diddle diddle, um diddle aye…"


  1. Food in apartment dates are the perfect type date, bar none.

    First, an amendment to your "date" def – yes, two people, social, romantic blah blah blah – but also, a date should be an exchange of ideas and identity. A learning experience, if you will. An opportunity to fill in, otherwise unaddressed, gaps in personality which in turn lead to new avenues of curiosity and intimacy. Agreed? Agreed. Moving on...

    While restaurants serve to provide a comfortable albeit clichéd atmosphere in which a man's worth is immediately measured by his wine selection – a cozy evening in the apartment in which said man cooks for said woman, provides an unfounded amount of substance in which to fill personality traits, that just so happen to ... that's right... open avenues of curiosity and intimacy.

    "Oh my!" said woman delighted to herself. "Wherever did said man learn to create this perfect white wine sauce?"

    "Exquisite," delighted said woman, as she realized that said man had listened to her previous admissions of love for "Ben and Jerry's cubby hubby" and appropriately prepared his freezer.

    "That is a lovely picture of said man with an elephant, oh and also Gandhi, and... is that Teddy Roosevelt?" blah blah blah.

    Point is a restaurant is overly ordinary and tells said woman nothing more about said man than he can apply his generic paper outline of what a woman wants to a social situation.

    An apartment cooking is immeasurably personal and telling of person with complete and genuine transparency of which every aspect is customizable.

    That said. Spending a Friday night cooking soup with said man's mom should tell said woman that: sometime in the near future, your bathing time might just be sliced short, through a shower curtain, and with a butcher knife wielding by a ...what was the phrase again? Sicko?

  2. I can cook! I don't do tomato soup but I do excel at watercress.

  3. I dunno, on the upside three people getting together to open a tin seems like a short date if ever there was one. Plenty of time to beg off with a sore throat, nip home, put on the dancing shoes and hit the toon.