Food and conversation

It’s always great to hear a compliment, especially from the person you love. I’m thrilled when my girlfriend compliments me, like the other day when she exclaimed, ““I’VE NEVER SEEN SUCH INTENSE CONCENTRATION!” However, I’m not sure if this was really meant as a compliment since the statement was actually referring to my eating habits.

I don’t know about you, but I love to eat. I’m not fussy, except when it comes to seafood. The moment my stomach growls, my mind is immediately filled with thoughts of food. I do not pay attention to my surroundings. Once the plate is placed in front of me, I get tunnel vision. When I dig in, I Dig In.

Everything around me fades into the background, and unless my companions somehow grab my attention, their words fall on deaf ears. It’s food first, talk second. This is actually a good practice since my parents taught me to never talk with my mouth full. I will not speak until every tiny morsel is wiped clean from my plate.

Many of you may think that since I am not talking, I must be good at listening. This is true! I listen to my thoughts – I should stop grinding my teeth when I chew; I should cut more carbohydrates from my meal, etc. Then, all thoughts of weight-control magically disappear when I take another spoonful of rice dripping with meat gravy. That’s why I have a love-hate relationship with my food.

Now, having a human relationship makes some things more challenging. I want to eat, but I also want a meaningful conversation with my girlfriend. My brain keeps switching between both objects of affection. I have to intentionally pause to talk, listen, then take my next bite. This can pose a challenge since my girlfriend prefers a conversation where both parties are looking into each other’s eyes. I have tried doing that but you just can’t serve two masters in the same space and time. I have to give what is due to my girlfriend and what is due to my food.

So what is my solution? Easy. Start with small talk before the food is served and go deeper after I have licked my plate clean. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Once the bulge at my belt line is satisfied, I become a more effective listener.

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