After blacking out sometime in the late afternoon of the last day of August, I spent the balance of the evening scissoring with my married male friend and stripping at a dive bar while ogling myself in the mirror like Zoolander. The act of scissoring entails two partners facing each other in a horizontal position with their bodies rotated such that they can slide into each other’s genitals without their legs getting in the way. (Amputees obviously can work around the axis more easily.) The mechanics of this erotic maneuver are inherently funny, especially between two participants of the same gender. It’s like trying to force puzzle pieces together that don’t quite fit.
Overall I was disappointed that my night devolved into scissoring with a 6-foot-7 man while perched on the headrests of a crowded party bus. I must have looked liked a flounder being swallowed by an octopus, an emasculating thought certainly not worth whatever gratification experienced from the rhythmic friction.
So my punishment for putting myself in that position is a ban on drinking until the last day of October, unless the lady and I visit Chicago in the interim. I want my old friends to like her and vice versa, and in a compressed amount of time, only alcohol can accomplish that on more than a superficial, “oh she’s nice” level.
On the flip side, in your 30s, fewer good things can come out of drinking. When you’re young, the body bounces back so quickly — if it even needs to bounce back at all. Up until my late 20s, I could barely feel the difference if I had been boozing the previous night. One time, I got up before dawn and blasted through a 10K race in the rain. Nowadays I struggle to put together complete sentences during a hangover, alternating between lying down in random places and mindlessly chomping on any processed food that might make me feel marginally better.
When you’re young and single, alcohol pushes the ceiling of inhibitions higher and floor of standards lower, so it stretches the range of potential sexual activity on both ends. Generally that is a positive thing. When you’re 30 with a girlfriend, this range shrinks because a tipsy female in a secure relationship will harbor no reservations about going to sleep before sundown.
When you’re young and adventurous, the urge to try every new craft beer never subsides. When you’re 30 and comfortable, you reach the point of honesty with yourself and admit that nothing tastes as good as plain ice water when thirsty. For all other scenarios, chocolate milk covers it.
All things considered though, I would rather have at least the option to drink for the neverending opportunities that present themselves in a spoiled millennial’s life. Thus it’s only fair to earn a reward for my punishment, which I decided to be a grand opening of the floodgates of junk food.
I fail to understand why most people don’t seem to think about food all the time like I do. I am obsessed with eating, planning to eat, and then eating again. This is more normal than one might think. On a recent trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I was struck by how every placard basically just explained how the species got food. When boiling down their entire existence to one paragraph, the main context was how they ate. Now, I can’t get inside of a clownfish’s head, but I imagine its life centers around the next bite of food. I am the same creature, except I just happen to have the Wi-Fi access above water to be able to blog about it.
Humans are animals too. From my vantage point, the distinction between eating to live and living to eat is blurry and utterly unnecessary. I consume like a monster, with more intensity on a regular basis than my wildest boozing. My lair these days is the workplace and its complimentary, gas-station selection of wholly unnatural foods.
Out of necessity, I perfected the technique of walking briskly by people’s desks appearing to be headed toward a presumably work-related conversation or task. Sometimes I mutter unintelligible things to myself, as if I am trying to solve a difficult problem. I will go as far as pretending to count on my fingers, tracking nonexistent discussion points. Then I take a hard left into the kitchen, pivoting swiftly into another direction and out of sight like an Iverson crossover circa 2001. One day people will study YouTube videos of my signature move, as they do Griffey’s swing or Federer’s forehand.
Once in my lair, the degree of beast mode depends on how many people are present. If I have the kitchen to myself, I might start tearing into packages and chomping away. I treasure the feeling of still being in the middle of chewing while unwrapping something else because it creates the illusion that the pleasure will never end.
The more colleagues around, however, the more restraint I summon. More often than not, I make a little conversation, grab a couple of fun-size pieces of candy, and pace back to my desk. These chocolates take about 30 seconds to finish, given they are only slightly larger than a fingernail. Even an ant would be like, “Where’s the rest?” Like a sex scene in a PG-13 movie, fun-size candy delivers much more teasing than satisfaction.
So I get up and execute my power-walk-and-hard-turn routine again, and I repeat throughout the afternoon. I have been averaging 20-25 pieces of candy per day in September plus cups upon cups of trail mix, “health” bars with way too many unrecognizable ingredients, and intermittent specials including donuts and cheesecake. I prefer to distribute the wrappers among different trash cans to obfuscate the evidence. Sometimes I wolf down two bags of chips consecutively just to get the overpowering taste of sugar out of my mouth and avoid going into some sort of catatonic shock.
Hopefully my body can hold up until Halloween, when I will stop acting like a kid in a candy store and more like an adult who knows not to play with scissors.