Dinner parties can be either a pleasant evening with friends or a grinding obligatory chore which makes death seems like sweet release. While this can have a lot to do with how much you like your friends or what your threshold for ‘pleasant’ is, a good deal of it has to do with dietary requirements.
For many of us afflicted with allergies, have health issues that restrict what we can and can’t eat, or hold cultural views that dictate our food choices, social dining can be a minefield of awkwardness. Even amongst our friends and loved ones, our health issues, or ethical or cultural choices can feel like millstones around our necks or walls dividing us from the ‘fun’ of all being together.
Now, while health, cultural and ethical issues surrounding food can make dining out difficult, imagine if you found yourself in a far worse situation than this. Imagine if it wasn’t just real health concerns that stopped you eating something. What if it wasn’t dedication to a belief. What if it wasn’t just one thing that you couldn’t eat; what if it was most things.
What if your reasoning for not eating those things wasn’t all that robust or socially acceptable. What if you didn’t like most food because you thought it was gross, you were unadventurous, and there was never enough salt on it.
Now you know my pain dear Weblog readers.
I can’t remember the all the times I’ve had to blow off a brunch and sit at home drinking because “there’s always spinach, and that café is pretty expensive for what is basically an omelette”. I have a hard time counting the number of occasions I’ve had to pick unidentifiable lentils or raisins out of something I was told, in no uncertain terms before I agreed to come I might add, would be a normal curry.
You probably don’t know how hard it is to show up at your best friend’s house, look them or their significant other, in the eye and say “That looks disgusting, I’m not eating that slop.”
While it may be hard for those with health concerns and those who make informed and ethical decisions about what they will eat, it is much harder for those of us who just think most food is ‘pretentious and ick’.
To make matters worse, the stress of potentially having to yams, broccoli, or kale, means it is all too easy to drink alcohol or take drugs before going to a dinner party. Some people will even mistake awkwardness, or even shame, for ‘drunkenly insulting the host and disappearing to the toilet with a bottle of wine.’
Sometimes it pays to be aware that one person’s ‘rude, drunk and arrogant behaviour’ is another person’s ‘just wanting some chips’. What you might see as ‘returning from the toilet then demanding to dance to The Libertines first record even though its not really that sort of party’ is another person’s ‘wanting to participate.’
Just think. Okay.