Last week I lost my appetite. And if you know me, this a rare and disturbing occurrence. I did not lose it by means of something distasteful or rancid or unappetizing.
I lost it in the name of lust and yearning. I blame it on the man. He is somewhat irresistible.
This has happened before. In fact it happened exactly 4 years earlier, on Halloween night, at the Pacific Dining Car on 6th street on the edge of downtown and crack-ville.
Pacific Dining Car is overpriced, and truly of a different era. It's a great place for a kitschy first date or a rendezvous with your mistress or a late night business meeting when you're not afraid to throw down the company credit card.
The Halloween from a few years past was the second date with a boy who had admitted some feelings. So we boycotted costumes and entered into the dark aged plush world of the Pacific's dining room. Being the first to arrive, I found a spot at the bar, where the ancient bartender served me a 15 dollar Pinot Noir in a massive wine glass. Worth every sip.
In walks my cocky adorable date in a white snap button cowboy shirt and rumpled hair with a slight smirk on his face. I was smitten. I bought him a steak. A 30 dollar steak that was smaller than the palm of my hand. I think it came with a few green beans or a tuft of spinach swimming in butter. I can't remember. I can't remember what I ate either but I do remember the wine being the only food that could go down easily. Because my stomach was flip flopping around, my head was dizzy, I was lost in that tiny green velvet booth across from someone who would unknowingly become my lover for the next 3 years.
The current Halloween date is not my lover. He is not even really a friend. I have cooked with him and watched him roast a turkey. I have quietly reveled at his choice of wine and his subscription to Cook's Illustrated. I know almost nothing about him; except what he does for work, that he is somewhat brilliant with the exception of matters of the heart, that he likes Donny Hathaway and that when we kiss it takes me a few days to recover.
Maybe all this vagueness and not knowing spurs on the longing. I came into our rendezvous hungry, but 15 minutes in all I could ingest were sips of Sangiovese and water. Those damn butterflies filled me up, a slight dizziness came over me. It has been a long time since I felt woozy from a man. It knocked me from a place I have been enjoying lately. A place of only a few harmless crushes and fewer distractions, of keeping men at arms distance so I can focus on what is directly in front of me and what I want in life.
He was able to clean his plate and mine as well. The pasta is cooked with a homemade fennel sausage. It is rich and clean and delicious. I also ordered us the rice balls, two heaping fried balls of risotto that ooze mozzarella.
I am not one of those ladies who picks at salads on a date. I can easily put food back and I appreciate those who has a diverse and healthy appetite. Even more so I like a man who can appreciate my appetite. But sometimes feelings prevail. Emotions and hormones and desire take up too much space and leave no room for real sustenance.
No substantial relationship will likely take place with this gentlemen. We are too different, the momentum is halting, we rarely run into each other, and he seems to be deep in his own complicated chaotic world into which he is rightly devoted. But for our brief occasional rendezvous, it is worth every moment of my lack of appetite. These days I find true chemistry to be a rare and fleeting thing. If someone can lose me in a kiss, I will gladly (temporarily) lose my ability to eat.
I do know, for future relationships, I will no doubt require someone who is adventurous with their food journeys. Someone who follows the beaten path to the hidden nook in the wall, someone who plans the next meal as we are finishing the current one, someone who shares a hunger for all things culinary, hopefully striking a balance between hunger and satiety.
I do hope he inspires my appetite as well as other things. I hope that's not too much to ask.