Half Fries, Half Salad, Because Of FEMINISM Or Whatever

Have you ever been offered the option of fries OR a salad? Of course you have, this is America, it’s basically in the Constitution, or so I hear. “All menus are created equal and endowed with the option of salad or fries with their dumb burgers.” — The Founding Fathers, probably.

Since I moved to New York I’ve been having lots of ~meals~ which are distinguishable from regular meals by the presence of a business associate or colleague and noteworthy for their shifting dynamic in terms of food consumption; i.e., if you’re with someone and they’re getting a sandwich, you feel like you should get a similar sandwich, if you get a salad, the other person will feel like they should get a salad. Sometimes if your dining companion has a really intense food allergy or diet they will order and it won’t affect you but mostly I think healthy foods and junk foods are eaten in sync when in pairs.

Anyway!! For as long as I can remember, when I want to be ~healthy~ at a restaurant, I would ask them to bring me HALF fries and HALF salad. That way you get a much smaller portion of fries, which is good because CALORIES or whatever, and you get a much smaller portion of salad, which is good because salads are TERRIBLE.

I’m pretty sure I learned this practice from my grandmother, who went to the Have Your Cake And Eat It Too School of Dieting, where you eat little bits of terrible foods in order to satiate your cravings. Once a year, my grandmother would go to this excellent Greek diner in Toronto — I lived in a house that was, quite literally, in the backyard of this diner for most of high school, but people used to travel from all over Toronto just to visit — and order a BLT. This was, like, her biggest indulgence of the year.

She and I also share an intense love for ice cream, and a similar strategy for avoiding it: only keep the shittiest, lowest-calorie versions in the house (shout out to Fudgsicles, you’re forty calories a bar and you aren’t total garbage), and then only get good ice cream when it’s a 30-minute walk there and back in intense heat so you can sweat off as many calories as possible (shout out to Blue Marble Ice Cream).

This technique actually DOES work, in my experience, but only when coupled with a feeling of such intense shame at the bodily pleasure associated with food that you become disgusted with yourself for being so weak as to even WANT to eat something delicious. Like, yesterday I bought some snacks because I knew Alex and I were going to be having a ~work party~ which is a concept distinguished from actually working together by the lack of work that gets done, and I bought a big chocolate bar with sea salt and ate exactly one square before checking the caloric information and putting it back. Who cares if it’s delicious?! My body is meant to be seen by other people, not enjoyed by me!! Oh my god, this is getting really dark. Moving right along.

Ok, my point is not that I don’t eat, which I do, ha ha, I am totally a human who participates in human activities, pay no attention to the spaceship hidden in my closet. My point is that since I moved here and have been eating at more restaurants I have been confronted with waiters, waitresses, and cooks who are baffled at the concept of half fries, half salad. This is hardly a thorough investigation, since I have done it literally twice over the past four months, but both times it required an INTENSE consultation between myself, the waiter, and the cook in the kitchen. The first time the waiter was like, damn, you’re crazy, but I’ll make it happen, and then came back to report that he had, in fact, made it happen. The second time (last night) they just refused and told me to order a side of fries, which I did, and then my friend had some as well, so everyone won I guess.

There’s definitely an argument to be made here that I am trying to LEAN IN and as a MODERN WOMYN I should — nay, MUST — have IT ALL, “it” being a superfluous filler food high in fat and calories and sodium which trigger all those weird food-related endorphins in your dumb weak brain, “all” being food that actually serves your body well in terms of fullness and nutrients. Because. Like. I don’t know. GLORIA STEINEM. And other ideas of feminist empowerment that are really coded, hidden forms of a suffocating attachment to completely unreasonable and unobtainable ideas of beauty and health that are tied more to physical appearance than to actual strength or wellness and are delivered all day every day in a frequency high enough that if you say you hear it, YOU’RE the one who is crazy because life has become an actual parody of itself.

Anyway!! What are your bizarre and useless tricks for having your ____ and eating it too? Do you guys want to split some fries for the table?

In other news, I think I’m going to have some Greek yogurt for breakfast.