January 21, 2011
I don’t really like going out to lunch with friends who are constantly on diets/on the verge of a nervous breakdown. However, even if I, having learned from experience, try to shift our meeting place to a park or a museum, I tend to find hidden obstacles anyway. One of these obstacles is called “hunger” and the others include “being in a hurry” or “having little time”.
For example – I go to meet a friend, who is trying all she can to lose weight, at the latest big exhibition. I have specifically planned the whole time to be spent away from any lovely place where, hypothetically, we could stop to eat. The friend arrives at the last minute, or, what’s even worse, gets you to wait, calling you every minute to keep you updated about her progress in your direction. (One of these days, I would like to do a post about people who steal my precious time.)
So, the friend is ready to enjoy some art, but there is one problem – she was in a hurry to meet me, and she hasn’t had time to eat. Bam!
At our chosen eating location, even if I select a particularly harmless salad with shrimps, I will likely get lectured on the amount of calories hidden in each shrimp, not to mention the amount of cholesterol carried by these harmless sea creatures. For herself, the friend will order some salad with arugula, instructing the waiter to make sure there isn’t a gram of salt in it. She victoriously looks over at me in the process of making the order, as if to say “This is what I eat when I am really hungry.”
The most unpleasant part comes when the order arrives. She gazes at my salad with wild hunger and hatred in her eyes. She observes each shrimp as it sails towards my lips. She frowns slightly as she chews her grass.
Once the salad had been demolished, it’s is time for coffee. How do you like your coffee? There are many ways I enjoy it – sometimes with sugar and cream. I make my coffee however my spirit demands at that moment. In my dieting friends’ company, this could be a dangerous misstep. I receive my retribution at once. I am told a story about a mutual acquaintance who has gained a lot of weight recently. I start wondering – could that also be me?
In general, most topics of discussion take a detour in the direction of one subject, in its infinite variations – the subject of the ideal body, and all the imperfect bodies that surround us.
Imagine the following – we are talking about Dancing with the Stars. What ends up happening is not so much an exchange of impressions, but rather my friend’s account of how she dances in front of the TV in order to maintain her form. Another time, we might be visiting a spa, and all she can talk about is how no one has ever given her any more than (subtract 10-15 years from her age), or how, only a few days ago, she got carded at a liquor store.
Even if she buys herself some ice cream on an excruciatingly hot summer’s day, the label of the product must be carefully studied. It becomes the subject of a complex mathematical analysis, which is meant to determined the number of sunflower seeds she would be allowed to consume the next day. Drinking champagne, she recalls every single glass of champagne she’s ever had in her life, although, by now, it’s about time to lose count.
I just prop my head on my arm, and slowly exhale, in attempt to breathe out the dullness of the situation.
These days, I can’t even get myself to go out to lunch with friends who go on diet in a more reasonable state of mind. I really hope I won’t catch myself acting this way when the time finally comes to lose a bit of holiday weight.