On a recent week night:
Foodie: What smells so good?
Beast: I’m making risotto for dinner. But I haven’t even started it yet. You’re probably smelling the chicken stock, which I made from scratch, heating up.
Foodie: What kind of risotto are you making?
Beast: Obviously Milanese. But I’m using chicken stock instead of beef and I’m adding peas.
Foodie: So not Milanese then. Can you help me get my coat off?
Beast: Excuse me?
Foodie: I got my hair caught in the zipper and I can’t pull it down.
Beast: Jesus! Did you rip your hair out?
Foodie: No, I cut it off. I’d just left work when it happened and I couldn’t move my head so I went to the reception desk at work and asked for scissors. The receptionist was horrified. He couldn’t watch me make the cut. But what was I supposed to do?
Beast: [Helping with the zipper] It’s really jammed in there.
Foodie: I also got my shirt caught in the zipper of my jeans today and now there’s a hole in my shirt.
Beast: Got it! [Pause] Do you think maybe these zipper mishaps are signs that you’ve entered your Velcro years?
As the Beast prepared the risotto, which was delicious, we chatted in the kitchen about our respective days. Normally, we’d be making dinner together while sipping on a cocktail or some white wine. But we’ve decided not to drink any alcohol for four nights of the week, from Monday to Thursday. So far, it’s been relatively painless, save for these moments in the kitchen before we eat. We miss those moments the most. But it makes them all the better come Friday. I wonder, though, if the nature of our weeknight conversations has changed as a result of this newfound lucidity.
Beast: When’s the last time you thought about the movie Speed? I mean, really thought about it. Think about that plot…it’s diabolical!
Foodie: I guess so. I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it.
Beast: That’s what I’m asking you to do right now…think about it. I mean, what kind of a mind could conceive of such a thing? It really is diabolical!
Foodie: You’ve said diabolical twice in the last 10 seconds.
Beast: What would you call it? If the bus goes under a certain speed a bomb will explode?! I think that is the very definition of diabolical.
Foodie: OK sure.
Beast: Why aren’t you listening to me?
Foodie: I’m busy playing with my new app.
Beast: Has anyone ever made an app that makes Seven Years in Tibet as good a movie as I want it to be?
Beast: [Grabbing phone] Does it match your body to a body in art because I bet mine would be the Vitruvian Man.
Foodie: No, it’s just faces.
Beast: It keeps suggesting bald men! Am I that bald?
Beast: I want to be one of those gorgeous Giorgione guys with luscious hair. Or that Medusa by Caravaggio!
Foodie: Well make your hair go crazy then.
The Beast’s Medusa obsession may be a result of having watched the first episode of the new American Crime Story season on Versace, which we both very much enjoyed. That viewing was on the heels of watching a series of fashion documentaries from Dries Van Noten whose gardens we’ve long envied, to Manolo Blahnik, who, coincidentally, also gardens.
Blahnik’s own personal style is fabulous: Simple Breton stripes while he works and custom-made suits made from exquisite colours and fabrics, with popped collars or bow ties, and turned-back cuffs on his jackets and pants when he’s out on the town.
He also changes his eyewear. I’ve always longed to be the type of person who puts on a different pair of glasses, like one does with shoes, to better compliment an outfit or articulate a particular mood. But I’ve only ever had one pair of frames on the go at any given moment because they are not cheap. That is, until recently. There are so many stylish stores that’ve recently opened up offering unheard-of deals, like frames and prescription lenses for $145 all in! Last summer when I was walking home from work, Clearly Contact had a crazy sale and I bought two pairs for half the price of my day-to-day frames.
By the end of 2017, I had four pairs of glasses! The thing is, I never wore the three new pairs on air because I suspected if I did, people would feel the need to comment on them. I didn’t want to invite unwanted attention. But over the Christmas holidays, I found myself wearing the new pairs here and there, becoming that person I’d always dreamed of being! And it was pretty uneventful. I thought maybe my reluctance had been silly, almost egotistical. No one cares what glasses you wear, dummy. So I started going on air with whatever pair of eyewear I’d chosen to wear to work that morning.
And guess what! People commented! I hate your new glasses. I love your new glasses. Where did u get new glasses? Go back to your old glasses. New glasses stupid.
I thought of responding to the negative comments. But, unlike the responses I made to people telling me I shouldn’t knock The Secret, there really isn’t a sane reply to a stranger who publicly tells you they don’t like something you’re wearing. Plus I’m too busy obsessing over more glasses! (I’m desperate for a pair of tortoise shell frames!)
Anyway, our biggest takeaway from the Manolo documentary was the realization that our relationship is basically one big unofficial race to see who can achieve Andre Leon Talley’s style the fastest.
January, after all, is about setting goals and achieving them. Now all I have to do is visualize it and send it out into the universe. That’s the secret.