Never Marry a Thin Man

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 “I want to lose weight by eating nothing but moon pies, which have significantly less gravity than earthier foods such as fruits and vegetables.” ~ Jarod Kintz, I Want

My husband could get three bites out of a raisin.  He has never eaten a sloppy sandwich while slumped over the sink.  Never known the satisfaction of not sharing a bag buskenof cookies.  Never scooped peanut butter out of the jar with his finger. Never eaten ice cream from the carton.  I admire—and disdain—my husband’s superhuman self-control with food.

I bought these cupcakes for Rick two days ago. They sat on this table for two hours before he opened them. Once he did, it took him 27 minutes to eat them.

I bought these Hostess cupcakes for Rick two days ago. They sat on this table for two hours before he opened them. Once he did, it took him 27 minutes to eat them.

Most days he goes to Burger King for lunch, orders the small fries, and throws half away.  He never leaves a restaurant without a doggy bag.  It’s not uncommon for him to forget food, like the wedding cake in foil on top of the refrigerator or the leftover Outback pork chop inside.  He can even forget to finish a treat, like one of those delectable Busken cookies  . . . you know the kind, the ones with the barely perceptible crust covering creamy yellow frosting and the tender biscuit lying beneath, not to mention the smile face beseeching you to consume it in three bites.  (I’m swooning.)  My husband brings one smile cookie on a plate to the table next to his recliner.  He’ll nibble it, mouse-like, over a period of a half hour.  Then he’ll stop snacking to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer or to phone his mom, and he’ll abandon that cookie, and I’ll find it still there the next day!

fries

    Yes, Rick is finished with his lunch.                        And, yes, he eats “an apple a day,” every day.

I never forget food. I can do a mental inventory of every edible item in our house, starting with the frozen Oreos left over from the chocolate cheesecake crust I made, to the wedge of gorgonzola on the middle shelf of the refrigerator, to the Club Crackers next to the Cream of Wheat, to the canned icing in the pantry, to the linty peppermints in my purse pocket.

Sometimes my last thought at night is my breakfast menu for the next morning.  I’ll sleep fitfully with visions of poached eggs glistening on buttered toast, garnished with bacon bits and shredded cheddar, a chilled V-8 in a long stemmed glass on the side.  Last night I woke up to go to the bathroom and thought Oh, good, only three hours till breakfast.

From the first bite I take at a meal, I begin grieving for the last bite, and I am never completely satisfied until I’m just this side of uncomfortable.  I am a long-standing member of the Clean Plate Club, and I have no starving Chinese children on my conscience.

My husband says it’s easy:  he just eats what he wants.  Well, I watch what he eats, and he doesn’t want what I want.  This is a man who will throw in his napkin mid-Mars bar exclaiming, “This is just too rich.”  He will “plunder” (he’d say) the candy jar filled with m & m.  He unscrews the lid, then daintily plucks out one—yes, I said one—m & m . . . well, I guess that would just be an “m.”

I, on the other hand, love the aroma and texture and tantalizing flavor of foods.  I enjoy reading cookbooks and imagining how the flavors of the ingredients will dance and marry.  I can recall with uncommon clarity what I ate at nearly every gathering (pork loin and spaetzle at Elke’s; mahi-mahi sandwich dressed with remoulade sauce at book club; melon and chicken salad garnished with toasted almonds at Mr. Young’s wake) .  My mouth is watering now as I recall celebratory dishes I’ve consumed (water chestnuts wrapped in bacon at a student’s 2006 graduation party; grasshopper pie at my own wedding shower 43 years ago).

Rick is persnickety about his food, starting with its preparation.  At night, he’ll set out his cup, chai tea bag, Splenda packet, and spoon.  And he’ll arrange his bowl and Life cereal box just so to assure precise AM pouring,  He’ll tsk tsk over salad greens not torn into bite sized pieces.  He’ll excise every vein of succulent fat from his steak. You know what they say about chips?  That you can’t eat just one?  He can.

My husband’s weight has remained about the same for the 46 years I’ve known him except for a few blubbery years when we’d polish off an entire large pizza together on Friday nights at the TKE house, and an emaciated six months while he was in National Guard basic training. When he goes to the doctor, he is serene as he steps on the scale, wearing his shoes and coat, with his keys and phone on his pocket.  Who does that?

I, on the other hand, remove my shoes and wedding ring and the gum wrapper in my pocket before stepping on the scale at Dr. Kohls’ office.  Actually, though, I start preparing for my weigh-in hours before by bathroom-scales-make-you-cryshaving all that bulky hair from my legs and armpits and the wax from my ears.  I have two modes:  losing or gaining.  I can tell you what I weighed and what size I wore at every adult milestone:  when I got pregnant the first time; when I got pregnant the second time; when I got my master’s degree; when my grandfather died; when we moved into our third house.

Rick is the Rainman of calorie counting, mentally computing the input/output ratio.  He knows exercise is a must to maintain his figure, so he walks hours to buy computer paper, Worcestershire Sauce, and paper clips.  He grunts and clanks around on exercise equipment, and he bounds up flights of stairs, two steps at a time, rather than using the perfectly lovely elevator his more sane neighbors use.  While he labors over his genealogy research (an endeavor of conceit, revealing all the Lingos who have died at a younger age than he is now) he adheres to a movement regimen every 30 minutes, reminded by the alarm he’s set on his iPhone.  Seriously.  It’s exhausting watching him do all this exercise.  I worry that, although he is going to live a very long time, he’s going to be so darned lonely without me.

manIt’s a little annoying sitting down at the dinner table next to Jiminy Cricket each night,  but it’s a darned good thing he’s there. Without my trim husband (self-righteously) modeling healthy eating habits, I’d be way fatter– really fat, like circus fat.

But sometimes I fantasize what it would like to be married to a different kind of man, a man with whom I could share a feed bag.  It’s embarrassing to admit it, but sometimes while my husband cozies up to me in bed, I conjure up a different fella.   In my fantasy, he is a burly guy, with lots of back hair, hands like hams, maybe a tattoo.  He has a thick neck and arms, and greasy stains on his t-shirt.  This guy, Bruno we’ll call him, has a smudge of barbecue sauce on his cheek.

Bruno is polishing off a slab of ribs.  He stops and looks at me, devours me with his eyes (because he’s not nearly full yet), and says, “Why aren’t cha eatin’, darlin’?  You’re just too skinny.  Hey waitress, rustle up a big ole’ juicy steak for this gorgeous gal.  Make it rare.  And order me another slab to go.  Don’t forget the onion rings.”

 

Copyright © 2014 Sandy Lingo, All Rights Reserved

24 Comments

  1. Loved this!!!! You are such a great writer, Sandy. Thanks for sharing.

    For reasons I will never ever understand Tom survives completely happily on almost protein alone. I on the other hand am far more interested in endless servings of carbs. Needless to say Thursday afternoon with the macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, chicken with dumplings, and sweet potatoes will be a joyous feast. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Oh Sandy – thanks so much for sharing your gift of writing and humor. I get so excited when I see your new ‘second helping’ – I have enjoyed each and every one. It makes me miss you and remember how very much I ‘ve always enjoyed your sense of humor – LOVE!!!

  3. This cracks me up. I would be so happy just to weigh one less pound than my husband. Lucky for me, he has gained some weight in the last 32 years, but then, so have I! Thank you for writing something so many of us can relate to…and doing it so much more humorously than I could!

  4. I have read this one before! One of my favorites. Definitely a lesson I have finally learned.

    • This is about 1/3 new, but you would recognize a lot of it.

  5. I hate your husband and his “same weight for 46 years.” That’s just not fair.

  6. Delightful! Enjoy Thanksgiving and make sure you “clean your plate.”

  7. imagining how the flavors of the ingredients will dance and marry

  8. OMG! Another bullseye! Are you sure we are not sisters, separated at birth? Seeing my one and only ex- husband at Jeff’s wedding, he was ridiculously thin, with no butt and skinny chicken legs. When I, full figured and robust, approached him, he put out his hand,”How d’ya do, I’m Bill Sneed.” Imagine that! He didn’t recognize me after 24 years and a “few” added pounds.

    Looking forward to your next gem!

  9. LOVE this piece! Reminds me of a family birthday dinner a few years ago. I cooked and prepped for two days. Finally everyone was through the buffet and it was my turn. I plopped into the last seat at the dining room table. My 92 year old great aunt took one look at my plate and announced for all to hear, “Goodness, you’ve certainly got a healthy appetite!” Now every time I get a crosswise glance about the pile on my plate, I just mention my “healthy appetite!”

    • Kate, I just visited your blog, and I loved it! Humorous, yet packed with information. We love Rick Steves, too, and have been on six so far. We are on the waiting list for Sicily this spring. Everything you write about cruises is absolutely true, but . . . we love them anyway because you can get a sampling of a lot of places without packing and unpacking. If you’re on the right cruise line (we like Celebrity the best), it is a carefree vacation requiring few decisions. It’s a great place to travel with friends because you can do your own thing all day, then come together in the evening to share experiences. I hate looking for places to eat, and on a cruise, it’s just there! Of course, a cruise is everything a Rick Steves’ tour is not. I have added your site to my blog roll and will be pleased to forward your posts to travel friends. BTW, is your last name “Mahar”?

  10. Delightful! I love the “too rich” observation. When people say that, I wonder what they’re tasting that I’m missing. What IS too rich? And not finishing a smiley cookie (here they’re from Eat ‘n Park restaurants)? Iced cookies like those and the cutout Xmas cookies we made and decorated every year are my crack. Love your writing, Sandy! Hope you’ll visit my travel blog when you have a moment. Happy Thanksgiving (and don’t skimp on the whipped cream on that pumpkin pie, girl)!

  11. Boy, did you nail this one. I am right there WITH YOU. This is too funny with pictures included! The Splenda packet by his breakfast bowl is too much. That was a clue that his tastebuds really do work different than mine. I wonder if tastebud sensitivity is inherited? Rick’s are not connected to the brain like mine. He eats to live. I live to….

  12. Too funny!!! Thanks for my morning giggles! and I REALLY miss Busken cookies!!!!

  13. Rick will probably out-live us all! I am sure his passions are elsewhere. But like Sandy, I too love the planning, preparing, smell, texture, and taste of food. It is just wonderful to be reminded how much fun it really is!!

  14. Funny as usual. Tom was a starving waif in another life and lives to eat. He would’t understand Rick either.

  15. From one foodaholic toanother…I loved this!

    • You sure hide it well!

  16. One time, when I was actually at my skinniest weight as an adult, my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend – you’ll soon know why) put on a pair of jeans in the morning. He came into the living room and asked me, “Don’t these jeans seem strange on me? The seem really loose.” THEY WERE MY JEANS.

  17. Really made me laugh! Thanks, Sandy! Good thing I didn’t marry, Rick, or we would have probably starved. We are way too similar, except that my day starts with a low fat Eggo with chocolate chips – 4 – chips, not waffles. :-) Keep entertaining all of us! I will be chuckling tomorrow as I think back to this during Turkey Day! Enjoy!

    • 4 chips? Seriously? You are a sick, sick person.

  18. Sandy,, you are a stitch. Guilt about food started with a low calorie apple in the Garden of Paradise. God love ya, you speared the subject with a fork!

    • Yea. Seems like A & E (and the rest of us by proxy) got a pretty big penalty for eating a healthy snack.

  19. You’ve capture me exactly. Never knew you’d crept into our house unseen and discovered all this :-)

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Sandy Lingo

Life itself is the proper binge.  - Julia Child

A writing friend said that when she reads my writing, she always wants a second helping.

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