In my defense my boy friend was the one to tell me I was a cute drunk when we first started dating. That is not my opinion nor, from what I’ve been firmly told, the opinion of other friends and family members.
“Aw! You get so cute!” He said one day after seeing me wasted. “You’re voice gets all high-pitched and you act all girly!” Then he pinched my cheeks which to my hangover felt like he was attempting to squeeze juice from my face.
“Eeeeeeeeeehn.” I moaned and shook him off.
Basically I’ve taken him at his word. If he says I’m adorable when burbling away through my fourth glass of Pinot Grigio while telling stories about the time I got a bad bikini wax then Goddamnit I am adorable.
Of course he still has to deal with me the day after and he does so gamely bless his sturdy New England heart. He’ll go out to eat with me wherever I choose, bring me a popsicle and, on one shameful occasion that will not be repeated until at least next year, hold my hair back as I retch out my previous nights mistakes.
But this one time he did something super mean. Something that struck at the chink in my armor.
He ate something gross when I had a hang over.
I was still in the throes of adjusting to my new full-time job and the stress of being well-behaved and punctual left me with really only two immediate desires when given a day off. These desires were as follows:
1: Have drinks with friends.
2: See boyfriend.
I fulfilled both with relish. The first with maybe too much relish.
I awoke in bed with my boyfriend to find my punishment for the two bars I had visited already in session.
“Nnnnnnnnnnnngaaaahhhh….” I rolled over and buried my face in his shoulder.
“Hey. Hi you.” He said and poked my nose. “How’s my drunky pants?”
“Urrrrgh.” I shoved my head under the pillows. “I’m dying.”
“Awww. Well I’ll give you cuddles. Come here.”
“No! No cuddles! I need soup! First soup then cuddles!If you cuddle me now my organs will all turn to pate and I’ll diiiiie.”
I fell off of the bed trying to reach for my jeans where they had landed across the tipped over laundry hamper. My boyfriend peered over the edge of the mattress as I performed a strange, slow sort of snow angel move in an effort to get my pants on and not stand up. I wanted to prolong the inevitable.
“I’ll pay for it.” I said as I tried to shove both legs into one pant leg and pull on a t-shirt at the same time.
“Well, OK.” He said, picking up my deodorant from the nightstand and dropping it down to where I lay grasping for it on the carpet.
A few thrashing, whimpering minutes later found us at Pho Vietnam, the noodle shop two blocks away.
Now if you are not familiar with Pho noodle soup let me tell you something: It will cure what ails you. A hangover, an iffy tummy, a general feeling of malaise, Pho will wrap a reassuring noodly arm around your shoulder and dry your eyes with a tissue made of basil.
“Shh.” Pho noodle soup with tell you “It’ll all be ok. Now drink of my fluids.”
Or at least that’s the way I think of it.
“You order for us.” Said my boyfriend when we were handed our menus.
“Two of #13, please.” I said immediately.
“Any drink?” Asked the middle-aged Vietnamese waitress with the perfect hair. For some reason she always gave me the impression of having won a miss universe pageant at some point.
We flipped our menus over to the front where all of the beverage options were helpfully illustrated with photographs.
I ordered a glass of the lemonade. (As a side note, Vietnamese Lemonade is better than every other countries lemonade. It’s never too sour or too sweet just refreshing and simple and soothing. Like a lover who never forgets the importance of foreplay and never pesters you for anal.) My boyfriend on the other hand latched on to something that looked like some sort of ice cream parfait.
“What is this?” He asked pointing to the photo of a creamy yellow and green concoction in a tall ice cream glass.
“Oh! That three color desert!” Said the waitress brightly. “Do you want to try?”
“Yeeeeeah. I think I’ll have that.” He handed the menu back to the waitress.
“What do you think it is?” I leaned forward. “Like an ice cream or something?”
The waitress was immediately back at our table bearing two heavy glasses. One was full of my delicious lemonade. The other was not full of ice cream.
It was not full of ice cream at all.
“Please god do not let that be red beans in the center of that glass.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying.
“It red beans, white beans and grass jelly.” The waitress indicated the layers in the desert. “Very good!”
My stomach heaves. I visibly gag as my boyfriend dips his spoon into the first layer. It takes a lot of effort to swallow my rising gorge.
I have a strong stomach for foods. I’ll try anything from any culture. I love spicy. I love salty. Consistency rarely puts me off nor does the unfamiliar smell of a not yet tried dish. There are only two things concerning food and drink of which I can’t abide: Organ meat and beverages with chunks floating in them.
And Three Color Desert is firmly in the “Beverages with Chunks” category.
I wince at the feeling of orange pulp on my tongue from a mimosa and the sensation of a fruit chunk in a smoothie. The first time I tried bubble tea in china town I was so excited! The name suggest a light frothy whipped concoction but no, it’s lumps of jelly tapioca laying like greasy rabbit turds at the bottom of the cup. Laying there waiting to be sucked into an unsuspecting buyers wind pipe. My windpipe.
Basically I don’t belive in beverages that require chewing. I not only mistrust them but sight of chunks in a glass or the suggestion of an amorphous jelly drink sliding down my throat will make me queasy on day not plagued the night of drinking before it.
On a day when I am hung over though I’m super fucked.
“Why…Why did you order that? Why would you do that to me?” I dry heaved.
My boyfriend slurped a strand of odd green jelly into his mouth and a beige cream dribbled off of his chin. “This is actually really good.” He extended a spoonful towards me. I ducked under the table and tried to breathe and not puke.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I CAN’T EVEN LOOK AT IT.”
“Seriously, it’s good!”
“Please, please, please, I am going to lose it everywhere…”
At this point the waitress arrived with our bowls of Pho. The smell of the broth calmed my stomach briefly.
And then she did something awful.
“Do you like it?” She asked, delighted by my boyfriends enthusiastic response.
“Yeah! It’s really good!”
“But you need to mix it!” The waitress made a churning motion with an invisible spoon. “Mix it!”
My boyfriend stirred the bean parfait until it was a gray gloppy sludge and dug out another spoonful. I paled and sweated.
“You don’t like? You should try it!” Urged the waitress.
I swallowed another escaping mouthful of bile
“I can’t. I just can’t. I love red bean, don’t get me wrong. In a bun in a mochi but not in a drink…” I blurted and hoped I didn’t sound super racist. The waitress just laughed.
“Well, he has very good taste, huh? Enjoy your lunches.”
As she left our table my boyfriend looked at me and then at his glass of funky chunky bean sludge with wormy green bits. Then he pulled over the little plastic stand advertising the happy hour beer specials and set it in front of the glass so it blocked the horrors inside.
“I can still see the top of it.” I said mournfully.
He pulled up one of the paper pieces to obscure the remainder of the terrifying gray parfait.
We made an agreement. I would not look up from my Pho until he was finished with his industrial sludge smoothie and I would stop bitching.