The Low Carb Luxury Online Magazine      November 21, 2003    PAGE EIGHT      
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  Featured Articles
 News & Product of the Month
 Holidays and Holy Days
 The Wonder of Gratitude
 Jo Cordi's  Lifestyle Series
 Grace For The Graceless
 Gratitude Starts on the Inside
 Giving Thanks
 The Power of "Dainty"
 Seeing Beauty
 Thanksgiving Feast!
 Cooking with Jarret Hughes
 Eating Out at Work


Sugarfree TWIST

         The Power of Dainty by Aaron Gillum

Aaron Gillum's views of society, tempered with a quick wit and an acerbic writing style, make his columns both fun, and unique. With each issue, Aaron offers a fresh perspective into the catalysts that drive society; weaving these observations into refreshing, provocative pieces.

                                          "Above all, be true to yourself, and if you
                                          cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it."
                                                                      Hardy D. Jackson

Those of you that have read my earlier submissions, might remember that I work in a restaurant. In being a waiter, I get to sit back and anonymously watch as fifteen or twenty different people and diets parade in front of me nightly. Just the other day, a party of three businessmen came before me, and unbeknownst to each other, they were all on a low carb diet.

Now this was not apparent to me (or any of them) as the night began. But it became very obvious to me early in the evening. Croutons pushed to the side, bread not touched... all of the obvious indicators that bleached flour was not on their menu even though none of them modified any of their meal, including the items that were clearly going to arrive with low carb no-no's attached.

So right about now, you're thinking, "Okaaaay... So other people follow the Atkins Diet.  And? ..."

The gem in this situation was that every single one of these men was trying to hide their diet from the others. The first man to begin his salad course was determined to eat around every crouton, while the host was resourceful enough to bury his under the lettuce, so as not to draw attention to the pile at the side of his plate. The third had the confidence to build a neat pile on the side. An alpha male, no doubt.

As the entrée course of steak arrived, I placed an enormous pile of onion rings in the center of the table. Thickly breaded onion rings.

Now don't get the wrong idea — I'm not an evil person. I wasn't sent by the devil to tempt people with Wonder bread and white sugar. In actuality, thirty minutes earlier, the host had asked the others if they'd like some onion rings with their steaks and all had grunted non-committally, so out come the onions in all their battered glory.

Ten minutes into the meal, the host attempts to pawn off this untouched mound in the center of the table and, at last, someone mentions they are "on Atkins" and can't have them. Blank stares ran across the faces at the table like dominoes falling one by one. You'd have thought he was confessing his addiction at a Narc-Anon meeting by the guilt and shame in his eyes. Next — a tense pause; after which the other two stole a glance at one another. It was as though I was literally watching them decide which card they were going to play:

Option #1: Keep your mouth shut. Play off the lead of the one fellow who was definitely not limiting his carbs.

Option #2: Join the good guys, admit that you are also living a low carb lifestyle, and use the 2:1 advantage to stop the teasing about to ensue.

Both chose #1. You know that feeling of awkwardness when a party guest that nobody really knows gets a bit too inebriated and his obnoxiousness crosses the line? That same icy feeling hung over the table for a few seconds as both of our closet low-carbers waited for the other to take the lead. And then — the house of cards fell...

At last, they began to chuckle as they realized what was happening and everyone admitted that they had no intention of touching those carb-laden bombs. It was as if a heavy weight was lifted from their shoulders. They all relaxed, began chatting openly about their individual eating regimes, and enjoyed themselves for the remainder of the evening without the pressure of hiding their dirty little shared secret.

Their need to hide their diet intrigued me so much, I felt compelled to talk with them further on the subject. I told them about my involvement with this magazine. And as I did, the confessional dietary floodgates were flung wide open. They all laughed, relaying their embarrassing stories relating to the diet.

"My wife lost a few pounds and turned me on to the idea. You don't tell the boys at work about the new diet you are sharing with your wife," said one.

"I don't know... I just don't bring it up. A buddy told me it made me seem dainty to pick things off my plate," chuckled another.

They all shared stories of (usually good natured) teasing by their friends and family about being on a diet of any type, let alone one that might give others the impression you are finicky at a restaurant.

Now you women may not understand the power of "dainty" to men. We spend most of our lives trying to be anything BUT dainty. The nose picking, the messiness, the poor table manners... all a clever ruse to remove any question of daintiness from your mind. You don't think we'd actually behave that way, do you? While you are wondering what happens the first time he sees you sick in bed without makeup, he's horrified to even imagine what you'll do when you learn he doesn't like football, beer, and violent movies... well, at least not as much.

I do understand the worry these men had at being labeled, but by a diet of all things? Is that reasonable?

The evening ended, these gentlemen left to rejoin their real lives already in progress, and I thought of something I wish I had said to them, but that I'll say to you now. Men are told to be as attractive, fit, stylish, and refined as any woman. The difference? We aren't allowed to try.

Copyright © November 2003  Aaron Gillum and Low Carb Luxury

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