Last night while eating dinner, I watched an episode of Easy, starring Emily Ratajowski. I messaged a girlfriend, saying that Emily’s body made me never want to eat again. I had pasta topped with a heavy snowfall of parmesan for dinner, from this bougie specialty pasta takeaway nearby. It was delicious.
It has been a long winter. This, combined with a busy period at work, has caused me to fall off the exercise train. My body has softened, jeans becoming a little snug around the waist. My body wants track pants, staying indoors, pasta. Pasta guy knows my name.
I have been single and dating for about ten months. Ten months ago it was summer, I was at the pool every weekend, at the gym a few times per week, and I was the fittest and slimmest I had been since I was a child. Sometimes I would skip dinner, and just have a post-gym protein shake. I was proud of my flat stomach, wearing cropped t-shirts and tops.
Now I am no longer exercising with the desperation of filling an emotional void, but I am still dating. I told my friends that this new guy I slept with was very handsome in the face but “kind of had a shit rig”. Not a bad rig, I qualified, but he didn’t work out. Soft flesh on bone. No hard layer of muscle.
I have always loved the kitchen and the ritual of cooking. It is what knits my tightest relationships together. As a child I watched my parents cook dinner , and set the table together. We had dinner together as a family every night. As an adult, when I visit my parents my favourite thing to do is to sit with a drink and gossip while I watch them cook. Sometimes I help.
I didn’t learn to cook until my then-boyfriend moved out of home. We would drink while cooking in the shitty kitchen of his shitty share house. I learned to salt the water before putting the pasta in. Our go-to meal was pasta carbonara. It was my favourite pasta and his dad taught us how to make it well. My boyfriend liked penne or other tubular pasta. I liked spaghetti. We had a little tug of war but someone always compromised.
We moved in together to a bougie townhouse in the inner city. We made pasta from scratch, hand-folded dumplings, and spent six hours braising a beef curry on a 40 degree day. It was so hot we cooked in our underpants. We ate sweaty, sticky and delighted.
After we broke up I lived in a boxy, clinical apartment across the road from our old place. It reminded me of a serviced apartment. I never felt quite at home. I bought knives, pots, pans, crockery, wine glasses. I had given him the contents of our old kitchen. I made myself half-hearted meals; a stir-fry, some roasted vegetables, grilled fish and salad. I overcooked, I undercooked, I didn’t season. I didn’t care. I just ate because I had to. Shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning by myself was exhausting. Sometimes I just had cheese and crackers. A beer. Dip on toast. A fried egg, some carrot sticks.
When I eat out I want salt, fat and chilli. Hot fried chicken, chips, burgers, pasta. Spicy Thai food. I want the food to burn, to make me sweat. To make me heavy and warm, so I can curl up in bed and be as mindless as the television I consume.
At the weekends I drink more and I take more drugs. I haven’t ever had as ravenous an appetite for obliteration.
It was my birthday a little while ago. I turned 27 on a Tuesday. My family were a plane ride away, my friends I would see on the weekend. He invited me around for dinner – he had a bottle of Pinot Noir at the ready and together we cooked pasta carbonara.
I have a string of first dates where I am sparkling and witty; I’m hot and I know it. I get drunk and we have sex. It’s fun, though I’m usually too drunk to come. The next morning my memory is hazy; slices of still images.
I avoid eating on dates. Something about the process of sitting down, deciding what I want, chatting to a waiter makes me feel queasy with Another Man. Too vulnerable, too intimate. I pretend I’m not that hungry, and drink more. I don’t want them to know the shapes, depth and particulars of my appetite.
Pisces Moon is a high achiever turned fuck up. She lives mostly in her own head.