The ‘Date A Girl Who Eats’ challenge

March 31st, 2011

[Edit, 4/1/2011] The context of this essay appears after the jump. I’ve learned not to be so prissy about things after all, although I still believe that at the end of the day, people will remember only the original version after all is said and done—everything else is basically a “tribute.” Consider me your humble servant.

Date a girl who eats

Date a girl who eats. Date a girl who dares to order a steak instead of slowly picking at salad leaves dressed with vinaigrette on the first date. She is the girl who knows what’s good on the menu, and knows that carbonara is often ordered by the bland brigade of people who don’t know any better.

Take her to a steak restaurant; make sure that you order your steak medium rare and not well done, because she knows that only barbarians order well done. Steak, medium rare, is the best way to identify good meat from the mediocre. She skips the Hollandaise and tucks in, stopping only for a bite of potatoes in between. The girl who eats doesn’t beat around the bush: she knows that steaks that require sauce are insecure.

Date her because that’s the same way she likes guys: substantial, and real. You won’t need to impress her with fancy restaurants, because the girl who eats has been to roadside eateries that serve food that’s just as good—or even better—than stuffy establishments. Knock down a stick of barbecue and a good, cold beer with her (as long as you don’t ice it down to a watery mess).

When you’re with the girl who eats, you won’t have to worry if there’s a fried chicken grease spot on your shirt, or if there’s ketchup on your cheek. She’ll understand—she’s been there. Maybe as a joke she’ll smear cake icing on the tip of your nose and kiss it off.

Date a girl who eats because she’ll take care of you. She’ll feed you chicken soup when you’re sick, and bake cookies on lazy weekends. A girl who eats isn’t afraid of adventure, and is constantly in search of new things to try: fried milk, chocolate bacon, tequila-flavored ice cream.

The girl who eats will go all over the world in search of the perfect meal, but knows that often, the best things are the ones closest to home. She will keep coming back to the basics: a bowl of steaming rice topped with her mom’s beef stew, flavored with onions and pepper; her grandmother’s soup, the result of hours of stirring in the kitchen. Her dad’s grilled cheese sandwiches, done in five minutes, but no less impressive.

Maybe one day, while the two of you share a slice of cake, she’ll realize that you’ve occupied a permanent place in her heart in the same way the stews and soups from home have, and she won’t have to go around the world in search of the perfect meal. Because anything you make for her at that point is the perfect meal, even if you char the steak and forget to salt the potatoes.

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The Ex

February 14th, 2010

The oddest thing happened to me yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. I bumped into an ex I had not seen in years; I probably wouldn’t have noticed him at all, had it not been for a friend who pointed out that just a meter or two away was the guy I used to date back when I was in college. He was sitting at a table, looking almost exactly the same, with a girl whom I remembered as his sister.

People often say that when dealing with exes, there’s only one way to handle things: be on your best–all the time. And it isn’t just with past romantic relationships. It’s why middle-aged hipsters sweat it out at the gym and get Botox injections in time for their high school reunions. After all, no one wants come off worse after having a brush with the past.

However, yesterday, I wasn’t exactly in tip-top condition. I stayed out late the night before, had half a pitcher of sangria, and woke up early to beat the crowds at the Legazpi and Lung Center markets (on a side note, they really need to change the name of the Lung Center market. It makes me think of wizened vendors peddling organs. “Hey, check out this set of fresh pink lungs, clean as a baby’s bottom!”; “Lungs for sale; good condition, non-smoker, occasional forays into EDSA smog.”). Running on four hours of sleep, devoid of any makeup and clad in a white linen button-down shirt, I wasn’t exactly ready to strut down any runways. So when my friend tapped my shoulder to tell me that The Ex was just there, I contemplated discreetly making an exit before anyone could see me in my disheveled state.

Then again, I realized that it had been years since we last saw each other, and in that time, we never bothered to catch up with each other’s lives. The last time I thought of contacting him was because I wanted my old school ID back (UP’s new restricted entry policies suck big time). But other times–Christmases, birthdays, New Years–nothing. It wasn’t because we were angry at each other; we simply didn’t care. Grateful that I had a giant pair of sunglasses on, I said a quick hello and went on my way.

But I didn’t feel the same way when I visited my old blog. I first started blogging in 2003, when I was 19 years old and LiveJournal was still cool. Back then, I wrote a lot in my blog: stuff about school, friends, publishing (I had just started writing for Inquirer and Summit), random things. I even posted the occasional quiz or two (yeah, gross). I was clearly more naive then, but boy, I could write. Some of the more personal stuff made me cringe, because there was way too much naked emotion out for strangers to see. But it attracted people, who opened up their own lives to me as well.

I stopped blogging regularly after a trip to Rome in 2009, where I met a British journalist who thought I was a local (no, really) and asked me for directions.¬†We had tea at the rooftop of a museum, and spent a good couple of hours talking about travel and journalism in general. He asked for my email address, and I got his card. We didn’t stay in touch, but he sent an e-mail soon afterwards, telling me that he saw my blog online (gee thanks, Google) and went through it. “Why is it that you blog about such personal things?” he asked me. I shot back a quick, semi-snarky reply, explaining that my work as a journalist was separate from what I wrote about my life, but the damage had been done. A couple of months later, I deleted my LiveJournal blog and abandoned my Multiply one as well.

It’s not fun, running into the past: I went through my old blog and realized that I was no longer half the writer I had been at its peak. There are some exes that you can learn to let go of–when you don’t mind bumping into them in a disheveled old shirt and rumpled hair–but there are some exes that you simply cannot face looking like a mess, for the simple reason that they still matter in your life.

So here I am, trying to patch up things with my blog. It’s new and will probably be less personal than the old one, but it’s a start. Here’s hoping that there will be plenty of stories to tell.

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