January 21, 2011

Almost like Bridget Jones. Almost

 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.


  1. I have never experienced this thank goodness. What is the point of going out to lunch and then not eating anything worthwhile. Even if on a diet you can still eat well but be sensible!! :))) Diane

  2. Well it makes an interesting post, but I would think you need some new friends who enjoy life and savor each delicious moment--


  3. I would love to have lunch with you and I would enjoy every shrimp and I would order my cappucino with whipped cream on top. And we would talk not about food or the bodies around us but about your wonderful art!

    So there.

    This is a very funny but exasperatingly true post.

  4. i am just now in a long process of food adustment... i refuse to say diet, since i need to make this last forever... i have years of work ahead of me, i don't think a meal out here and there with friends needs to be an issue, just eat drink and be merry and figure it out the next day :)

  5. A beautiful picture that is tempting ... I read a part of your text, but I'm not good in English ..... however I understand that diet is on .... your friend, rather than harassed, should do much sport so lose the pounds and start eating healthily. I love the food and the cakes of your photos! Hello Cri

  6. That sounds so frustrating! It's one thing to be dieting, and another to let it take over your life to the point that you can't have a conversation about anything else.

  7. Hi Diane,
    I am back form the grocery store. I bought some food for the party that I am having tomorrow :)

    You are saying it because you are enjoying your life and your food. I found that some people enjoy controlling life and food.

    Hi joanny,
    There are three of them. Three lovely ladies who constantly are on diet. I cannot afford to lose three friends :(

    Hi Angella,
    Sounds like a plan :) I would love to have lunch with you!

    Hi food for thought,
    I agree completely. We need a diet to stay healthy. We need some common sense for not being obsessed with the weight loss. And for not being in the competition between you and the food you eat.

    Hi Cristina,
    Fortunately these cakes are available only once a year before Saint Valentine's Day :)
    They sell them from one small Polish bakery. You should be very quick to buy them because they are very popular. This photo was taken in 2008. Maybe I will have luck this year.
    Thank you for the compliment!

  8. Hi Lydia,
    Yes, it is true. Every single topic is about the food that they eat or don't eat. Sometimes it sounds and looks very grotesque and devastatingly boring.

  9. The friend you are describing is what I call a born-again dieter. They diet with a ferocity that it not only annoying to everyone within their inner circle but they may preach their new lifestyles to strangers at a market.

    Enjoy yourself and have another packet of sugar on me.

  10. LOL! It's funny how I have the same thoughts about born-again dieters. They have a mission in this life.
    I am going to get this sugar!

  11. i love the pink cakes, soo lovely. aww it's a pain to be with folks who are too conscious about dieting.. eating with people like that makes the meal less enjoyable.

  12. The pink cakes look great. I thought the whole point of exhibitions was the free food.

  13. Ha ha...wonderful post, Olga!
    I wish you a great weekend!

  14. Oh, dear Lord. I could NOT deal with this. I hate it when people try to enforce their own issues onto me. I think I'd crack!

  15. Gosh, how tiresome of them. I know what you mean about people wasting your life. I've reached a time when toxic people have been removed from mine. Life's too short to spend it listening to preachy crap, and too precious to spend it dieting!

  16. Hear hear Sarah! I have done the same. Life is just too damned short and all. Olga I would love to have lunch with you. I would be at least 5 minutes early because I am like that. We could talk about art and history and music and travel and even food because it should be enjoyed too! We could eat what we pleased, drink champagne and finish with a strong Irish coffee. Then go for a lovely walk with our cameras. That is living, right girl!

  17. Olga, Thanks for all of your generous messages of late...I really appreciate your visits!

  18. No, you won't. You value your time and you have to be really self absorbed to have this vista on life. She has missed the savouring and the enjoyment, trapped in a warped mantra.

    Maybe you should invite all of your followers to a tasty and exciting lunch .... and yes, the art to follow.

  19. Olga This sounds exhausting. I hope you are able to find a way to get round this and use your time how you wish.

  20. Hi Maria,
    These cakes taste so good. Yes, people can enjoy their meal and themselves without calculating calories out loud :)

    Hi David,
    As a matter of fact eating at receptions is going out of style. Not for me, though - I still love to serve food at my receptions and to chat with my fellow artists. Of course, here in Toronto we have professional eaters. I always see one fellow, who comes to every one of my exhibitions just to eat :)

    Hi Wind,
    I am happy that you found my post interesting. I suspect that you have such friends also :)
    Have a good Sunday!

    Hi Talli,
    Because I have so many friends who are artists I get used to different personalities and I am very patient. But it seems that even my patience is coming to the end on this issue.

    Hi Sarah,
    You are so right. Before all this dieting thing my friends were funny and easy. Now I can't recognize them anymore. The proses of dieting absorbed their other interests and even their personalities.

  21. Hi Dolly,
    I will dream about this possibility of meeting you and having a conversation with you. I am very happy that I have you, my wonderful virtual friend!

    Hi LauraX,
    You are very welcome. I appreciate your visits and comments too. I also love to visit your blog. I speak from my hart.

    Hi aguja,
    Brilliant idea about lunch. Who knows, maybe somehow it would be possible. Life gives us surprises. Sometimes they are enjoyably unpredictable.

    Hi CAS,
    I have some beliefs that people could understand that their personal issues shouldn't affect the enjoyable moments they could share with their friends. Thank you for following me.

  22. These petite fours look absolutely delicious!!! Watching what you eat is one thing, obsessing over it another! Too bad your lunch was spoiled by this friend.

  23. Hi Lynda,
    Now I can tell that I can see the difference between watching what you eat and obsessing over it. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  24. I so fully agree with you!! brilliant post!KISSES