Chuck and I checked out a new shopping mall in town yesterday. Aptly named “The Headquarters at Seaport District,” it was once the old San Diego Police Headquarters and now has been transformed into a lovely open-air “lifestyle center,” with specialty shops and restaurants.
After poking around a few shops Chuck and I stopped in at a popular-looking spot for lunch, called Puesto. They’re known for their “Mexican Street Food,” using natural and organic ingredients.
We found a couple places at the bar and ordered some drinks — Chuck, a beer, and me, the house margarita. As we perused the menu a small group of 20-somethings — 3 girls and a guy — arrived and found places at the bar next to us.
All but one of the four people seemed enthusiastic to be settling in for some drinks and authentic Mexican street fare. The one holdout was a slender, pretty blond girl who promptly asked the bartender, “Do you have Skinny Girl Margaritas?” (he said they didn’t)
As the rest of the group began deciding what to order, I overheard the blond girl announce, “I may just get a small salad.” I thought to myself, “how boring, in a place like this,” and found it interesting that the other women in her party were just as slim and attractive as she, yet were planning on enjoying heartier dishes from the menu.
Chuck and I were carrying on our own conversation as we ordered, then had our food brought to us. But I couldn’t help but overhear bits and pieces of the conversation from the group, and since the blond girl was the one seated closest to me, it was mostly her end of the conversation I overheard.
All I could hear was this girl talking about her new Spin class and some other class she was taking at the gym. I also overheard something about carbs and calories enter their conversation as well. Meanwhile, she sat there sipping a glass of water and picking at a very lackluster salad. Her friends, on the other hand, touched on more upbeat topics, as they gleefully dove into their street tacos and sipped their cocktails.
None of this would have even resonated with me, except that, along with this young woman’s very boring eating and drinking habits, she, herself, was quite boring. Her mannerisms were uptight; I don’t believe I heard her laugh once. I couldn’t help but wonder how such a vivacious-seeming group would include someone who it would behoove them more to go see a movie with — where focus was not on food or drink, and where conversation was usually kept to a minimum — than spend time with in a bar or restaurant.
I know plenty of health-conscious people, but most of them still have plenty going on in their lives to where they don’t feel it necessary to bore people with what they can and can’t put in their mouths, and how many classes they attended at the gym that week. Sure, we all like to have recognition in our accomplishments, and encouragement where we need it, but truthfully, if that’s as stimulating as you can get, you’re not only going to lose my interest, you’re more than likely going to lose the interest of your more joie de vivre-esque brethren.
Although 30+ pounds overweight (depending on what chart you’re looking at), it’s not that I can’t possibly relate to that young woman’s issues. Never a thin, statuesque blond like her, there was still a time in my early 20’s when I did a brief but dangerous dance with Bulimia, all the while experimenting with several not-so-healthy fad diets. It should come as no surprise that I was not fun to go out with.
I’ll admit that these days I surrender to a lot of cravings — moderation is somewhat a stranger to my vocabulary — and I get to the gym only two, maybe three times a week. I know there are areas in which I need work, but I own that. I would like to be thinner, but I am also realistic. Besides, when your life is full in so many ways, you tend to gravitate away from certain restrictions — the things that not only bring you down, but bring those down around you. From the invitations accepted from me, and received by me, it’s probably safe to say that my friends enjoy my company — and yes, that usually involves eating and drinking.
I am hoping that, in that young woman’s case, this is just a phase in her life. I hope she learns — either from her friends and/or from her own experiences — that life can be very dull when you are consumed with consumption and attractiveness. I’m hoping she will eventually learn that it is possible to eat, drink (providing you’re not a 12-stepper), be merry — and still look fabulous.
And to my friends that manage to look and feel great while enjoying life’s bounty, I applaud your beauty and sense of joie de vivre. Please never stop representing.