Starving in Style

February 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Blogs, The Glamorous Life / Jo Barrett

Models strut the runway as people dine on lettuce.

There’s an old saying. Really old. And it goes like this: “What is food to one man may be fierce poison to others.” — Lucretius. 95-55 B. C.

I prefer a newer saying by one of my favorite suicidal authors: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” — Virginia Woolf

It dawned on me while sitting at a fashion show. Well, actually it was a cross between a fashion show and a luncheon. Let’s call it a “Funcheon.” One of those gigs where you have the pleasure of eating lunch while watching a parade of stick-thin, waif-like, Keira Knightleys model the latest couture.

I glanced around the table of glamorous Houston women, and realized I was the only person eating. Yes, me. Solamente. (Which means “only” in Italian and Spanish in case you were wondering.) The shock registered in slow waves. Not only had I eaten my entire bread roll swabbed with butter (a sin in itself, I dare say) I’d also consumed my chicken breast salad in a dizzying haste. My plate was so clean, it looked as though a St. Bernard had licked it.

Oh. My. Goodness. Could I be any more gauche? Probably not. Unless, of course, I’d shown up at the funcheon: • Sporting a fanny pack and a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt with ‘EuroDisney!’ splashed across the chest in rainbow colors. • Brought my “best friend” Tila Tequila, or, Dick Cheney as my guest; or • Ordered an Old Milwaukee on tap, instead of a white wine.

How to save face? My choice was clear. I waited for the perfect moment. As the women at my table turned their attention toward the fashion finale taking place on the stage, I hurriedly summoned the waiter.

“Bring me a new salad,” I whispered. He seemed momentarily stunned. “You want another one, Ms.?” he asked, his eyes widening in dismay.

I handed him my empty plate and slipped him a small cash bribe. “Please. I beg you. Just bring me another salad so no one knows I actually ate.”

He disappeared and was back in a flash with a fresh lunch. I looked down at the romaine lettuce, the small strips of lean white chicken breast, and the drizzle of olive oil — and I grinned. Yes, I was taking refinement to the next level. Alas, my dear Houston sisters-in-arms. I leave you with this question: Since when did eating go out of style?

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