I was sitting down to dinner with a group of girlfriends, when “Alice” decides she’s going to order the Mac & Cheese AND a sandwich.
Little did I know that her decision would be the main talking point for the evening.
“Oh my god,” she giggled, “I’m just so BAD. I can’t *believe* I’m ordering two entrees.”
“We won’t tell anyone,” the woman to her left said, while playfully bumping Alice with her elbow.
“I’m just… I keep hearing from my friends that the Mac and Cheese is SO GOOD here, but I really want to try the sandwich too. And this is special. And I really didn’t eat any breakfast and I’m so famished from not eating anything today and I even exercised.”
Her friends nodded approvingly, and she just kept going. I had no idea how anyone could keep talking about their dinner for so long. It wasn’t even here yet.
“I just,” Alice started, “I had a really hard week at work last week and I deserve this. I figure it’s two whole entrees so I probably won’t finish them and I can take some home and eat it tomorrow for lunch. So I’m really ordering for for two days.”
The waiter came by to take our order, and when he got to Alice, he asked if she wanted the Mac & Cheese meal entree or as a side dish.
After the meals arrived, all the women surveyed each others choices and talked about how decadent and delicious everything was. They discussed how much they’d been jogging lately and how they had just lost five pounds and how they were getting so incredibly full that they just knew they wouldn’t be able to finish their meals.
Glancing over at my plate, one of the women suddenly noticed that I was drinking red wine and eating a cheese-covered steak. “That looks good, ” she said.
“It is,” I replied before taking another bite. A couple of the women stared at me, waiting for all the excuses and self-flagellation, yet nothing came. I just stared back at them, shamelessly eating my high fat meal like I wasn’t the Whore of Babylon.
Irritated, one of them asked me, “How do you stay thin eating like that?”
I shrugged. “Well, we are out for a nice dinner, so I’m ordering what I want to eat. It’s not like I eat like this every day.”
Satisfied, they turned back to their random conversations before the waiter came back to refill drinks. “I need a to-go box,” Alice explained to him, “because I didn’t finish my Mac & Cheese. So you don’t have to judge me anymore!”
Woman, for the love of God, SHUT UP.
The waiter does not give a flying fuck what you are eating for dinner. He’s running around the restaurant trying to keep customers happy and a bunch of orders straight. He is not making assessments of everyone’s meal decisions, and the last thing he wants to do is stand there reassuring you that you are an okay person, even though you’re eating mac & cheese.
And if he IS judging you, then why should you give a shit? Who is he? What impact on your life will he have? He’s some random guy that the restaurant pays to bring you your food and if he thinks you choice is piggy, so what?
The whole mentality was driving me batshit insane. It wasn’t just Alice, it’s the way so many women feel the need for approval and redemption for eating.
They make excuses. They say they didn’t have any breakfast, or they just ran a marathon, or what have you. They need everyone at the table to know how delicately they normally eat and how this meal is a special circumstance.
Or they talk about being so “bad” or “naughty.” They say they just, I don’t know, saved a bunch of kittens from a burning building, so now they “deserve” to eat sugar, or fat, or cheese, or drink a cocktail.
Food isn’t a moral decision. It’s not “bad” to eat a doughnut. It’s bad to shoot people, or make fun of the handicapped, or knock an old person’s cane out from under them. Bad things hurt other people.
Your food choices do not hurt other people. And you are a grown-ass woman, not Oliver Twist begging his captors for another bowl of gruel.
If you want to eat a bowl of Mac and Cheese, then just eat a goddamn bowl of Mac and Cheese. It’s your right, as an adult, to order anything you damn well want at a restaurant as long as you can pay for it.
You do not “deserve” or “not deserve” food. You don’t have to earn the rights to certain foods. You already have them.
Joe the electrician, puts down his menu and says, “You know guys, I really should order the shrimp salad, but I really want the spaghetti with meatballs. Should I do it? Should I be bad?”
Tom, his coworker, playfully punches him in the shoulder and says, “Well, I was thinking about the Garden Salad with dressing on the side, but the spaghetti sure looks good. It’s got to be a gazillion calories though, so maybe we could get one entree and just share it?”
Joe thinks about it then says, “I really probably should, but I’m SOOO hungry. I hardly touched any breakfast. I’m going to be really, super bad and get a whole entree for myself this time.”
Ridiculous, right? Yes it is.
And it’s ridiculous when grown-ass women act like that too.
Seriously, guys. We go on and on about wanting to reclaim ownership of our own bodies and how we hate to be objectified, then run around asking for everyone’s permission to eat dinner.
This needs to stop.