I’ve entered a new chapter in life. In this one, I do not eat sweets or junk food. And yet, I spend 30% of my time at cafes, which are stocked with both of these things in great quantity. I don’t think there’s anything more attractive than baked goods.
They’re so golden, flakey, shiny. They beckon like sirens from their glass cages — release me, Emily, release me from my misery—and I, like Odysseus, must plug my ears and tie myself to the communal table in order to resist temptation.
Ok maybe it’s not that bad, but sometimes it feels like that. The thing is that I know that eating a pastry won’t make me happy. I know that eating pastries regularly over a long period of time puts junk in my trunk. And I know that usually, when I’m at the coffee shop at least, I’m not hungry, so eating something just for the heck of it is a moot point. It’s a no. A hard pass.
So I was thinking the other day — why can’t I just appreciate pastries for the way that they smell and look, without needing to taste them. I know that over the years, my body has learned that pastries can be eaten and that’s the fullest form of sensory exploration, but what if I taught myself to appreciate them like I would a candle: Ooooo wow, fire, and yummy smell, but no eat-y! Eat-y makes burn-y in mouth mouth. Or something like that.
I believe that it can be done. Not only that, I must learn how to do this if I’m going to make coffee shops bearable
Once I’ve mastered this, then nothing is stopping me from appreciating attractive people without wishing I could bone them, or enjoying hearing about someone’s great vacation to Sedona without being jealous I could go there, or listening to John Hodgman and not wishing I were Jesse Thorn.