Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Groceries and The Single Girl

“I’m all lost in the supermarket, I can no longer shop happily, I came in here for that special offer a guaranteed personality” The Clash

The grocery store is a rough place for single women. It may have its pitfalls for men too, but based on the refrigerator and cupboard contents I’ve seen in the single male kitchen, they have no idea what the inside of a grocery store looks like. The grocery store is a place for couples. Even if “they” as a couple are not in the grocery store together, just look in a females shopping cart and you’ll know her status in the magic kingdom of coupledom . When I am half of a couple my cart is filled with yummy items that a woman lovingly, painstakingly selects to make her man happy. I purchase not just bread, but perhaps a freshly baked brioche. No fish sticks tonight, I’m poaching a salmon in a bath of white wine with capers and fresh dill. I will consider, quite possibly for several minutes, the various merits of those cute little red skinned potatoes vs. the beauty of the sweet potato. The sweet potato is a super food, don’tcha know. Even when a couple has passed the salmon swimming in a capered, dilled wine bath phase, couple food is different from single food. Women are not notorious for their corn chip and bean dip consumption. If you see these items in her basket, nestled in with ground beef and hamburger buns, it’s probably Guitar Hero night at home. I love couple food shopping. I love calling from the grocery store (how did we ever survive without cell phones?) and asking “would you rather have orzo or risotto?” A single girl’s basket has yoghurt, diet soda, and People magazine, every four weeks add in tampons and chocolate. There is no place I can think of that discriminates the singles from the couples so openly as the grocery store. Seems to me I’ve heard the marina Safeway in San Francisco has singles night. Is that true? Someone write me and let me know. Otherwise, here is a handy guide of times to . . .


1. Late afternoon to early evening on Saturday. This is the time you will find childless couples shopping together for the beautiful meal they’re about to prepare together while nibbling on exotic cheese and sipping wine. “Honey, salmon or steak? Both? Surf and turf? Divine.” I look at my basket, see the lone can of tomato soup and vomit a little in my mouth.

2. Sunday, pretty much all damn day. Here you will find couples, some formed just a few hours prior, shopping for breakfast still wearing their Saturday night clothes. Girls, if you’re wearing an oversized men’s shirt with high heels and your mussed hair is being held up chopstick style by two writing utensils, you’re not fooling anyone. Later in the morning and on through the evening you will find couples, perhaps not as recently formed as our shirt sharing chopstick wearing couples, shopping for any number of couple-ish events. Perhaps they’re having a nice family brunch, a football-basketball-baseball-soccer-golf-Frisbee golf-curling game, or a nice movie night at home. Avoid Sundays.

3. There are some seasonally disastrous times. For instance . . . Fall, straight through to the end of Winter. Football season, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and by golly let’s not forget VALENTINES DAY! From September to March, eat out. Spring is alright because it’s spring and in spring hope is eternal, there is quite possibly a song in your heart and nothing’s going to get you down. Shop away in spring. And store up then little squirrel because summer’s coming and you know what that means . . . couples come out of hibernation! It’s time to hike, camp, backpack, mountain bike, picnic, BBQ, and those couples need food . . . from the grocery store. Thaw out that frozen Lean Cuisine you bought in April, slather on your tan in a bottle, and pretend you’re in the south of France.

4. Snowstorms. Who doesn’t love being at home with their chosen mate in a blizzard? You’re both curled up inside and warm while the storm rages outside. You pad about the house in your cozy wooly socks making a big pot of homemade soup, muffins, several dozen cookies, drinking wine and deciding what movies to watch. I know how lovely it is. I’ve experienced this bliss and I miss it. For the single girl, we already know you don’t have food. You have yoghurt and magazines. Could be a couple of days before you get out and you’re gonna need to consume something. If the storm hasn’t gotten so bad that the streets are impassable then you can still drive. Yes, YOU can drive. YOU can go outside and shovel the walk to the car, YOU can unbury the car, YOU can sit alone in the freezing car waiting for the defrost to start defrosting, YOU can scrape the ice off the windows and YOU can drive through the icy streets to your local grocer to load up on single girl in a snowstorm food . . . frozen pizza, canned soup, ice cream, diet soda. Then YOU can drive back home and YOU can lug the groceries back in the house yourself. If the roads are not even driveable it gets better, YOU get to walk to the store! I love a walk in a snowstorm . . . a walk that doesn’t involve me carrying bags of food home in the end. If it is so bad out that you’re busting out the Sorels and walking then you’re more than likely crossing some rough terrain. This means your limited on what you can carry. Do you really need frozen pizza and ice cream that badly? Ok, I’ll grant you the ice cream thing, I get that. What I’m getting at is this . . .
delivery my friend. Have pizza delivered and kick in a few extra bucks for them to make a liquor store stop. Delivery person gets a nice tip, you don’t have to leave the house, everybody wins.

I do not by any means want to say that single women cannot, should not, make lovely meals for themselves; cannot, should not treat themselves to good food regardless of their status in the kingdom of coupledom. Indeed single women can and should. What I am saying is typically, we just don’t and often times when we decide we can and will and get up the moxie to go to the grocery store, list in hand, ready to make ourselves a salmon swimming in dill and capers we get to the store and . . . and . . . and I don’t know what happens. We just buy yoghurt and diet soda and call it a day.

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