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
"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