Inhibition

October 13, 2009 § 1 Comment

I sat down at the circular table for dinner on the second night of Fall Conference ’09, delighted to see that every placemat had a generous piece of chocolate cake — my favorite food [Beijing roast duck comes in at a close second]. While giving my baked potato to PN, I noticed a vacant seat at the table, which meant an extra piece of cake. After looking around to check that nobody else was eying it, I asked PN to hand it to me.

Later, it became apparent that one of the people at our table did not have a piece of cake, so I conceded my extra one to her, though not without playful jeers from our fellow male diners. [I don’t care if they judge; I will stay faithful to my gustatory love!]

SL, who sat to my left, kindly offered me his own piece of cake, claiming that he did not really enjoy sweet foods. I gladly accepted it, finishing both pieces and sitting in bloated satisfaction. I’m not exactly sure in how the subsequent events happened, but suddenly, a piece of cake arrived from across the table, followed by three more.

“Eat all of them!” JG urged.
“Yeah, JG and I have money on it!” JP yelled.
“You want me to eat a total of six pieces of cake?!” I responded incredulously.

The guys at the table goaded me while the women looked on in mild amusement. Full as I was, I could’ve done it — my stomach stretches to enormous proportions when I consume sugary foods — but I adamantly refused. The reason I gave was that I didn’t want to throw up my entire dinner, but in actuality I didn’t want to appear cheap. Sacrificing my dignity for a mere $15? Just the notion of it is embarrassing.

However, I couldn’t shake the thought that if I were a guy, I totally would have accepted the challenge.

Competitive eating is mostly a men’s world. At other camps and buffets that I’ve been to, only guys would attempt to out-eat each other in some ridiculous manner. The activity is rather barbaric to me; even though I am against gender stereotypes and all that, I am still at time subject to wanting to fit into the dainty mold into which women are supposed to conform. A guy would get lauded for finishing a huge amount of food, but I can’t imagine myself receiving the same level of accolades from my peers — especially the female ones. I’ve simply never seen it happen.

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