My neighbor is hosting Donut Nite. She’s really excited about it and handed out little flyers to everyone on the street. She has always been really nice to me and I’d really like to get to know her better.
But I do NOT want to go…
The flyer is stuck on my fridge with a ladybug magnet and I know that going to the party is good for me, but I just DON’T want to go.
Part of the reason I don’t want to go is because of the food: donuts and ice cream. Two foods that are guaranteed to give me gastrointestinal distress. I don’t want to eat them. I don’t want to go to a party devoted to them. I don’t want to explain why I don’t want to eat them. I want nothing to do with this.
But I really like her. I want to get to know her better. She seems REALLY nice and she lives just down the street. I have the time to go to the party. It doesn’t conflict with any familial or work obligations. I just don’t want to go to the party because it’s a party DEDICATED to food that HURTS me.
This is one of those striking intersections of our lives when social and food mean the same thing. It’s not Game Nite. It’s not Movie Nite. It’s Donut Nite. I don’t want to go to Donut Nite, no matter how enticing the people are. If I go, I will be forcing myself because I REALLY want to get to know the people in our new neighborhood. The social will win out and I’ll have to have those awkward conversations about how gluten and lactose affect my intestinal health. Or, I’ll have to play all those anorexic tricks and pretend to eat the food I’m not going to eat, hoping no one notices that I’m not actually putting the food in my mouth. I’m just breaking it up into little pieces or stirring it with my spoon until it melts into oblivion.
And ALL of this forgets about the fact that I used to REALLY LOVE donuts and ice cream. Before I realized they were causing me pain, and even AFTER I realized they were causing me pain, I used to love donuts and ice cream. Sometimes they are still a temptation to me. This week, that’s not the case, but if it was, then the decision about whether to go to the party would be even MORE loaded.
Why does it have to be this way? Am I making this too hard? Am I thinking too much about myself when I should be thinking about my nice neighbor, who goes to all this trouble every year? She didn’t even ask me for an RSVP. As a hostess of a very popular yearly event, I know that she won’t even care if I show up or not, but I CARE! I want to get to know her. I want to get to know everyone else in the neighborhood. When Social and Food intersect like this, I feel very pressured by my own desires and social norms.
All I know is that I don’t want no donuts…
Here’s the rub. I am scared of being judged because I don’t want to eat the donuts. The REASON I’m scared is because I’m the kind of person who HATES people who won’t eat things because of allergies or dietary restrictions. So many of them seem like they are almost BRAGGING about their inability to eat whatever it is that the rest of us are eating. I don’t want to be that person. That person is a dick.
Only a dick shows up to a Donut Party and complains about donuts.
I don’t want to be a dick. I don’t want to eat the donuts. I don’t want to play anorexia games with the food, hoping no one notices.
I DO want to meet the people.
So, here’s the plan. I’m going to the party. I’m not going to eat the donuts. I’m not going to play anorexic games with the donuts. If anyone asks why I’m not eating, I’m going to say that I’m here for the people, not the food. And if anyone is rude or pushes food on me more than two or three times, I’m politely leaving.