THE SHARED BANQUET
I told her that I hadn't had a date since my breakup two years ago. Didn't quite know how to go about it, and wasn't presently interested in anyone.
I was, in fact, quite at ease with the possibility that relationships were a thing of the past. Not necessarily happy at the prospect, you understand, but by no means frantic or frustrated.
This is San Francisco - ground zero for shallow young cosmopolitans.
People like myself are not likely to meet anyone here.
That is just the way it is.
Besides, I'm a little particular. The type of woman that would appeal to me is someone who reads a lot, and doesn't have strange food hang-ups. The first requirement eliminates almost anyone who graduated from nine out of ten American universities, plus most of the Western Europeans; the second condition takes vegetarians, Kosher Jews, Muslims, white converts to Buddhism or Hinduism, and ninety-five percent of Wasp society out of the equation.
No religious types and ideologues either.
Throw in the fact that I don't really know how to go about courting, and the prospects just aren't very good.
My idea for a date is going out to eat together and enjoying conversation.
Perhaps having some rice porridge and milk-tea at a place in C'town, or choosing an eatery that has a selection of live fish, and clay-pot dishes.
Not an expensive restaurant geared toward impressing the crap out of my companion with a wine list a mile long and snooty waiters who introduce themselves, and recite tonight's specials with as much of a French or Italian accent as they can manage.
Good food. Real food.
If the dish has to have an appellation spanning an entire paragraph for it to appeal, there's something very wrong with it.
Same can be said of the person who only accepts such fare.
Yes, I suppose I could adapt myself, and be flexible.
Surely I'm limiting myself, and being too demanding?
But do you really think I could possibly be happy with a vegetarian, or someone who looks down her long nose at, for instance, Philippino food (dinuguan or caldereta) and sneers at my tastes?
There's nothing wrong with tofu, but let's face it, the best thing is to slather it with a tangy meat and chili garlic sauce.
Not boil it while uttering sanctimonious vegan twaddle about the sanctity of life and the beauty of sustainable enterprise.
This bit of 'bean curd' died for me. I killed it while it fled across the veldt.
Shot it with an assault rifle while it stood there terrified, chopped its wailing little head off, and slashed its stomach open in order to gut it.
Yes, you called it 'Bambi', and are horrified at my carnivorous ferocity.
I named it 'tofu', because it was bland.
It had no personality.
Sorry, that was a moment; I recalled the last time I had game. Delicious!
We thickened the gravy with blood, trimmings, and unmentionable bits.
Would you care to share some eel, shrimp, and oysters with me?
The mussels have bacon and shallots in reduced sherry.
Canard à la presse - sheer ducky goodness!
Fond thoughts of herring.
Several people I know despise Philippino food, regarding it as barely edible muck.
While I would never want to live in the Philippines, and find Philippinos often far too consumerist and vacuous, there is nothing wrong with their food. It is, in fact, excellent.
I ate marvelously well over there, and other than that nasty fertilized duck egg cannot think of a Philippino comestible which I dislike.
I have often cooked such stuff at home. Still do.
Garlic, vinegar - tamarind - kalamansi, bagoong, and dried shrimp.
Plus stews containing fish sauce, coconut milk, and fatty pork.
Real people do not turn up their noses at these things.
Philippino food is just a representative example, you understand.
All of South-East Asia and Southern China, plus many Dutch and Scandinavians, have no problem with fermented seafood products, fresh fish, and odd sources of protein.
Anyone who abjures such things is not worth dating.
CHILIPASTE, NABOKOV, AND SMOKE
I am not going to change my ways, nor would I expect that of someone else.
A relationship is based on broad and deep toleration of another person in all particulars, and great similarities in several.
Shared likes, tastes, and ideas.
I do not go 'clubbing', I don't do "shopping".
Beer, wheatgrass, and herbal shite are quite unappealing.
Can't stand tattoos, piercings, spiritual crap, or soft-headedness.
A calm woman who doesn't go all weepy over kittens, won't lecture me on the important cause of the day, and can spend several hours happily reading - one who actually enjoys my cooking and my sense of humour, and doesn't particularly mind the smell of tobacco that adheres to me, would be perfect.
But this is San Francisco; the city abounds with pretentious gits who came here from all over the world, as well as business school graduates, and artistic types.
If the rest of the country weren't so filled with stupid people, rednecks, and Romney supporters, I might think of moving.
I wish my friend luck in finding someone new. It shouldn't be a problem for her. She has a soft heart, the very best liberal values, as well as individualistic tattoos and piercings.
And she's still rather young.
She'll be happy.
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