I met a man who is allergic to everything except beef and milk. And dark chocolate. He can eat that in small quantities. His bout with Covid two years ago left him with the inability to consume most things. Fruit? Itchy rash. Cucumbers? Forget about it. He leaves the house when his wife is cooking, because even the smells are repulsive. While he was sharing this with me at the dog park, he went through two Marlboro Reds. Our dogs seemed to like each other. I was surprised by the cucumbers because aren’t they mostly water? He said yes but they burn his mouth.
On my walk home, I did what I sometimes do after meeting someone new. I thought about spending my life with this person. Someone who eats beef for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. An adult who drinks glasses of milk instead of wine or even lemonade. I’d have to eat out a lot. The restaurant staff would know me as the wife of the man who can’t eat anything. Here, have this pear walnut Roquefort salad before you go home. I’d feel sorry for him, but I’d also expect him to step up in other ways if this new life were to work out. He’d have to be an exceptional homemaker, lovemaker, dog walker. He’d have to be the funniest, kindest, most generous person to have ever lived. And that wouldn’t be fair. Someone should be allowed to eat prime rib for every meal and also be a jerk from time to time.
Wiping my dog’s paws once I got home, I realized my dog only eats beef and the occasional broccoli floret. Ginger is a terrible homemaker and don’t make a crass joke about the lovemaking. I would need to think of this new imaginary husband as a dog and not a person. A dog who smokes Marlboro Reds.
Let’s face it. This would not work out. By the time the dog got settled in her bed and I had started making dinner, the man and I had separated. I was spending too much money eating out and was way too hard on him. He can’t help it that he’s allergic to everything.
By the time my actual husband got home, I was tired from the new husband and subsequent break-up. At dinner, I watched my actual husband eat salad with tomatoes and shallots as he listened to our daughter talk about her American History class. He drank wine like a grown-up. He doesn’t have allergies per se, but he’s never liked cream-based soups.