To the young man eating a Mars bar with chopsticks

First of all, bravo, sir. Actually knowing how to use chopsticks is a gift that you must not take for granted. Also the fact that you are sitting in the middle of a busy walkway, on the ground, eating a Mars Bar with chopsticks tells everyone you are comfortable with who you are.

I, on the other hand, when lunch time comes, find a secretive nook away from any people and begin to eat alone. The trick to eating alone is to avoid eye contact, and sit up straight with your chest out, for intimidation. I secretly eat my sandwich whilst secretly Googling all the words to Thrift Shop, but if someone happens to walk by my secret lunch nook, I hide my lunch and pretend I was reading. What, is eating embarrassing now? Do people not need to eat for survival? Can a girl not sit alone all day doing pointless activities, eating a sandwich like a normal person? Apparently, subconscious says no.

Let’s skip back to high school. It was around the time Avril Lavigne was a thing, and all the self-conscious young girls were sitting at lunch facing away from their friends, covering their mouths, pretending that they weren’t doing anything, all while sitting so straight that even the teachers were intimidated. And there I was eating my lunch openly, unaware that I was committing a gross violation of girl-code. Eventually I was told by a classmate that my lunchtime behaviour was “offensive and manly”. At first I shrugged it off. All my friends were eating and no one had a problem with them. However, when I looked really closely at each of my girlfriends I realised they were covering their mouths, or reading and barely chewing. It basically looked like they were doing nothing. That must be hard, to resist your food like that, I thought, slouching comfortably and going to town on my sandwich. But soon, I began to follow the example of the rest of the teen-female population and pretend food didn’t exist (except for lollipops. Teen girls love lollipops and they don’t care who knows it). Coincidence or not, I dropped a bunch of weight, started wearing dresses, and made friends with more girls. To think, all I had to do was pretend I hated food? Too easy!

Since high school, I have matured into a confident, strong and together lady who once dressed up as a pig for a Christmas party just for a laugh. Still, I find it hard to believe I can dress as a pig in front of strangers but cannot consume food in front of others, for, you know, survival.

So there I was, walking to class with a straight back, my chest out and my butt sucked in, when I saw you, confident as ever. You were perhaps the manliest man on whom I had ever laid my eyes. First of all, you are sitting in a busy walkway, man, get out of here! Secondly, who the hell eats chocolate with chopsticks? Are your hands dirty? No one uses cutlery for chocolate, let alone chopsticks. Who are you, dude? Then I realised: you look ridiculous, but no one is looking at you with disgust, and no one cares what you’re doing. You’re eating in front of everyone, and you are damn proud. You give zero fucks about what people think of you. I give at least five fucks. You are an inspiration.

It was your confidence that inspired me to eat in public. (In order for me to be inspired, however, I had to pretend that you were a girl. Firstly, because the whole ‘not eating in public thing’ doesn’t really apply to guys–I’ll eat when I want and the ladies will love it,says my brother–and also because if I didn’t pretend you were female, I may have thrown myself at you right then and there. There is nothing sexier than a guy oozing with confidence especially if you are confident enough to eat chocolate with chopsticks.)

Thanks to you, I learned that, apparently, no matter what you are doing, people don’t really give a damn. I feel liberated. So now, assuming my hair doesn’t look weird, my outfit doesn’t make me look fat, and assuming I actually have the energy to muster up the required confidence, I will eat out in the open. Thank you, chopstick guy.

Love, Jessie.

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