First of all, stop looking at me like that. I know that look. It’s the look you give someone you feel sorry for because they are either a) stupid or b) have never truly known joy. You’re looking at me like I’ve just said I hate puppies/Beyoncé/breathing. Maybe you think I’m saying it just to be controversial or cool or different. You are definitely offended. And listen, I get it. Ice cream, probably more than any other food, is almost universally beloved. It is the thing most of you crave more than anything else. It is the thing that, no matter how much of it you eat, you want to eat more of. And I don’t begrudge you that. But please—don’t begrudge me my hatred.
Okay, so “hatred” may be a strong word. But I never crave ice cream. Maybe three times a year (maybe), I fall in love with the idea of ice cream. Note that I said the idea of it. I never actually want it. So three times a year (which really means three times a summer), I find myself on line at Big Gay Ice Cream or Morgenstern’s, delighting on all the amazing-sounding flavors and trying to work myself up into a frenzy of excitement (Mexican chocolate? Bourbon vanilla?!?), the same way I do when I find myself en route to meet a Tinder date who I’ve agreed to go out with because he looks good on paper and who I am categorically, unequivocally not attracted to. I’m supposed to like it. I’m supposed to want it. (I will end up making out with this guy anyway, same way I’ll end up with an ice cream cone in my hand, not sure what to do with it.)
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Here are things I’d rather eat than ice cream: a chicken Caesar salad. Ten mini Bonbel cheese wheels. A spoonful of peanut butter. Froyo.
Aja! I’ve confused you, haven’t I. See, here you thought you had me all figured out: Well, she clearly goes savory, never sweet. She clearly just doesn’t appreciate the creamy, cold, melty joy of frozen treats. But, you see, dear readers, I do. I love the pants off Pinkberry and Red Mango and most especially 16 Handles, where I’ve perfected the art of self-serve (dollop of yogurt, fill the rest of the cup with candy). But what froyo doesn’t give me is that vague feeling after eating that I am LITERALLY GOING TO DIE.
This weekend at a dinner party, my whimsical, adorable hosts had a sundae bar for dessert, and after trying to hide my disappointment, felt my enthusiasm blossoming anew when I realized they had Magic Shell. Magic Shell! I freakin’ loved this stuff as a kid! So I scooped up a (little bit) of ice cream, loaded it up with that magical condiment, waited for it to harden and dug in. Ew. Sweetness on sweetness. No. I passed my bowl to a friend and pouted. (Then I went home and ate 10 Bonbel cheese wheels.)
I tried again this weekend at Riis Park (I am nothing if not committed, you guys) and while on line to order (I was going to go for Strawberries and Cream—I figured maybe chocolate was my problem), my stomach started to hurt. It literally hurt. My body had a Pavlovian response to ice cream. “Don’t do it,” it was saying. “You are not going to enjoy this,” it urged me. “Stop making out with guys you meet on Tinder that you’re not attracted to.” (It may have gone on a tangent.) But by the time I got up to the counter, surrounded by rabid ice cream fans champing at the bit to order, my stomach legitimately hurt. I ordered anyway, got my cone, took one lick and promptly threw it in the trash. So now I’m a jerk who wastes food on top of being a jerk who hates ice cream.
Those times I manage to go through with actually eating the ice cream I’ve ordered (what a trooper!), my feels range from indifferent to regretful. When I’m lucky, I complete a cone with a shrug and get on with my life. When I’m not lucky, I finish eating and then hope like hell that my bed is nearby so I can lie on my side and moan. Then I probably take a nap. Ice cream is just too much. Too rich, too creamy, too heavy. (Cue “Right Said Fred.” Ice cream may, in fact, just be too sexy.)
I understand why you all pity me. A few years ago I read an article about someone asexual (this tangent is going to feel weird for a sec, but stay with me), and I remember thinking, Oh, how sad. But here’s the thing. It’s not! An asexual person doesn’t want to be having sex. An asexual person is different from a sexual person who is simply not having sex. (That actually is sad.) So think of me as the ice cream equivalent of asexual. (Actually, please don’t.) I don’t miss ice cream because I do not like it. And I don’t regret not liking it.
So…are we still cool? Can we see eye to eye on this very difficult and important issue? Terrific. Now who wants to meet me at Sixteen Handles?