Walking to a new neighbourhood restaurant called Geraldine for dinner on a recent night.
Foodie: Is your self-esteem effected by my success?
Beast: On the basketball court? Definitely.
Foodie: No, professionally.
Beast: Wow, this new job is really going to your head.
Foodie: No! That’s not what I mean. It’s just that I make more money than you and I’m happier, professionally speaking.
Beast: I know. And no, it’s never bothered me for a second. I actually really like it.
Foodie: I didn’t think so. At work today we talked about a new study that’s come out that says most heterosexual men have lower self esteem when their partners succeed. I just didn’t think that was the case with you. And besides, even if you did, I don’t think that’s a bad thing: it’s how those feelings manifest themselves that could be trouble.
Beast: I’ve only ever been proud of you. And don’t take this the wrong way, but remember when I finished my writing project?
Beast: Do you think it’s safe to say that your self-esteem was lowered?
Foodie: Definitely. And that’s a good point. I was downright jealous because I didn’t finish my writing project. But those rotten feelings were tempered with pride, too. I was shocked that the study didn’t show that it was the same way around for women and that they had self-esteem issues when their partners succeeded. I do have more testosterone in me than most women, though.
Beast: For so long, a woman became successful by merely being with a successful man. But the same is not true of a man; it’s not one of those things that’s flipped in the culture yet. And I mean not yet. And it should.
Inside Geraldine, sitting at a little table for two on the tiny patio.
Foodie: Wow, the service is like really attentive here! Do you want me to order?Everything sounds so good.
Beast: I don’t like “small plates” so please order enough for the two of us.
Foodie: How about we start with the half-lobster and the eight oysters: we’ll get four Colville Bays and four of the St. Simons! How cute! Get it? St. Simons! I’ve never had those.
Foodie: OMG Did you just smell those two young women that just walked in the door?
Beast: I can’t imagine how someone under the age of 60 could wear that much perfume. Why even go out to eat? All you can taste is perfume. God I hope they don’t get seated beside us.
First course: Sardines stuffed with salsa verde, grilled octopus with chorizo, and heirloom tomatoes with lemon, fresh ricotta and green beans.
Second course: A Welsh rarebit for me and an open-face duck sandwich with orange, shallots and watercress for him and and one with hot beef, horseradish mustard and jus to share. Plus French fries.
Foodie: Did you hear what the two ladies ordered?
Beast: No, what?
Foodie: They are sharing an order of French fries and TWO oysters. TWO! Ugh! I’d be so annoyed if I was their server. God, I’m being such a catty little bitch right now! But come on! Who orders TWO oysters?
Beast: Can you keep your voice down?
Foodie: What, am I yelling? I always start yelling when I drink too much, don’t I.
Beast: And farting.
Foodie: Farting is funny, though.
Foodie: Doesn’t matter who delivers it, whether it’s a man, woman or child. A fart is simply funny. [Pause] You thought Bridesmaids was funny, didn’t you?
Beast: Sure I did. But I must admit, I’m not crazy about some of the brightest female comics trying to pull their dicks out to have a pissing contest with the male comedians. “You think the boys are the only ones who can make fart jokes? That can drop F-bombs?” And it’s like well, the male comedians who have their dicks out pissing are not the funny ones. So it’s a race to the bottom. “It’s the first time we’ve ever seen a woman have diarrhoea in a sink!” I mean, who gives a fuck!? Who wants to see a man shit in a sink?
Beast: Give us something fresh. Don’t just give us something men do and then say it’s a triumph for women. You don’t think a pretty young girl can say the F-word? Of course she can: it’s just not funny in the same way it was in 1968 when Lenny Bruce did it. It was funny in the ’70s when George Carlin did it with his tongue in his cheek about swearing as a concept. It ceased to be funny by the late ’80s when literally every single male comedian was peppering his act with “fucks” and “pussies”.
Foodie: Have you noticed that our waiter looks like Bradley Cooper? I mean this guy is gorgeous! He could be Bradley’s younger brother. Don’t you think? What do you think his name is?
Foodie: Neal. Neil is funnier.
Beast: Neal is pretty funny. Carl.
Foodie: Is that with a C or K?
Beast: It’s actually with a Ch. You know who is doing some hilarious stuff? That Friends with Kids woman, Jennifer Westfeldt. All humour is essentially based on our foibles. I think all good comedy relates back to human foibles and goes right for the jugular to examine why they exist and why they’re funny. Really funny people are always flawed.
Foodie: Like having to go do diarrhoea in a sink.
Beast: I read something after Elmore Leonard died about him speaking on Hemingway and I think about this all the time as I get older: When you think about Hemingway it’s so easy to get sucked into the romance: “What a terrific writer, fished, drank, the ultimate guy.” I don’t think Hemingway ever put a smile on anyone’s face. What a fucking sad epithet that is for an artist! Elmore Leonard realized that. There’s not one single bit of humour in his books.
Foodie: I bet Hemingway farted his face off. And I bet people laughed when he did it.
Beast: Anyway, Jennifer Westfeldt’s perspectives on specific flaws come from her own unique experiences, without ever excluding the audience. Everybody is laughing, not just women. And she doesn’t try to be any other way. Think about Ricky Gervais, Gary Shandling, Jerry Seinfeld, Louis C.K: they all do it. They all make beautiful, funny observations about flawed people behaving in specific situations.
Foodie: Nicole Holofcener does it too. Erinn loves her.
Beast: Yes, she does it too.
Foodie: Those may have been the best French fries ever. That coconut curry dipping sauce? That was just great. Don’t you think Erinn would like it here? Maybe we could set her up with Bradley Cooper. It’s a good sign for a restaurant when you start thinking about all the people you want to bring back because you liked it so much. Your mom would like it, and so would Liz and Stephen, and Paula and Doyle. Oh yes! They’d love it! And my mom and Aunt Sandy. They’d just want to try everything.
On our 10-minute walk home, we talked about how great our meal was and how full we were even though it didn’t seem like we ate a lot. Then, just as it started to rain and we put up our umbrellas, the Beast let three farts out in a row. The intervals at which they were released and their tone made the farts sound like they came out of a trumpet, not an ass. And that was it for me. I was curled over at the waist laughing hysterically.
“Wouldn’t it have been just as funny if I let out those three farts?” I asked.
“No,” he said. “It would have been gross.”