It’s a rainy, miserable Sunday night. I’m watching a chocolate lava cake as it strains and bubbles under the electromagnetic ministrations of the dessert stations industrial strength microwave. You have to be careful when nuking prefab desserts. If you let the cavity magnetron run too long you’ll turn that chocolate lava cake into an Empty Smoking Crater Surprise. As I peer through the microwave’s plastic window, I see the first spurts of chocolate begin rolling down the dessert’s Devil’s Food cake slopes. To save a step, I forgo hitting the off button and pull the microwave open, irradiating thousands of my sperm cells in the process. (Dont worry, I have plenty more.) I take the chocolate cake out, replace it with a frozen pecan tart, slam the door shut, and hit the power button.
“You gonna be long with that?” Carmela asks, entering the dessert station and pointing at the microwave.
“About two minutes,” I reply.
“I’ve got five desserts to nuke,” Carmela says, bitterly. “Can you believe every single asshole at my table wants desert?”
“I believe it.”
“Why can’t I get a table of anorexic bitches?” Carmela grunts. “They never order dessert.”
“That’s cold,” I reply, smiling. Carmela can be refreshingly evil.
“It could be worse,” Carmela says. “I could get the bulimic ones.”
“Mira!” Carmela says, grabbing her rather large breasts. “Down in my country you never see women doing that shit.”
“Where are you from again?” I ask.
“I think Venezuelan women have been known to fondle their breasts on occasion.”
“No stupido!” Carmela snaps. “They’re not anorexic or bulimic. We dont have time for those gringo chica diseases!” Then, jiggling her pendulous breasts for emphasis she adds, “We’ve got meat on our bones!”
I worked in psych for a while. I know that in beauty contest obsessed countries like Venezuela, eating disorders are indeed a concern. Carmela may be half right though. I’ll bet an epidemiological study would show eating disorders occur with less frequency south of the border than they do in the United States. In the New York City area, however, eating disorders are a pandemic. As a waiter I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen women race to the bathroom to propel recently ingested amuse-bouches out of their stomachs. Countless times I’ve been poised over a table, pad and pen in hand, watching a teenage girl argue with her parents because she won’t order anything to eat. It’s a pastime among waitresses to identify bulimic customers and listen to them throwing up through the ladies room door. The bus girls have complained about scrubbing dried puke out of the girls toilet so often Im thinking of taking down the Ladies sign and replacing it with one that reads Vomitorium. (I wonder if theres a universal symbol for that.) In my mental health days I worked with women and the occasional man struggling with this disease. I’ve dated several women who were active binger purgers. I’ve seen teenage girls and fifty year old women struggling with the same issues. It is an immense problem that can lead to catastrophic physical complications. Not to sound like an after school special, but if you or someone you know has an eating disorder, get some help. Waiters are on the front lines observing womens’ complicated relationship with food. Men are usually happy when I bring the dessert tray. Women, however, often groan, throw me hostile glances, or close their eyes and wave me away like I’m carrying a tray of fecal laden anthrax. Women, far more often than men, ask for dietetic changes that make menu items almost unpalatable. Please sauté it with no oil, shortening, butter, or wine, is my favorite. I’ll bet you’ll see men acting the same way soon. Now that women are achieving economic parity with males were feeling the pressure to transform ourselves into manscaped pieces of six pack ab eye candy. Soon well be upchucking our entrees too. Talk about Karma.
So why do people suffer from eating disorders? That’s a hotly debated topic and I’m not even going to presume to offer a hypotheses. Suffice to say, therapists, waiters and college dorm plumbers deal with this problem everyday.
“I get it Carmela,” I say, interrupting her mammary masturbation. “You can let go of your moneymakers now.”
“Mira!” Carmela exclaims. “You love when I grab my titties! You know you do.”
“I’m not going to argue with that.”
“You better not. ”
The microwave goes BING! I remove my the pecan tart from the oven, top it and the chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream, and depart the dessert area, fighting off the compulsion to pour chocolate sauce all over Carmela’s moneymakers and lick them clean. Yes, I can be a very bad boy.
I bring the desserts to the young couple on Table 43. The girl’s eyes light up when she sees her cake’s warm chocolate lava commingling with the rich vanilla ice cream.
“Oh,” she coos. “That looks good!”
“It is good Miss,” I say, placing the dessert in front of her. “Enjoy.”
The young woman, ignoring the young man sitting next to her, gobbles down a huge piece of defrosted chocolate cake, an orgasmic expression playing out on her face. No furtive trips to the bathroom for this girl. I smile inwardly. Her date’s a lucky man. If a girl’s sensual in small things then she’s sensual in all things.
I spend the rest of the night watching the heavy rain drops, thinking about chocolate sauce, and dreaming microwave dreams.