After five years of marriage, it is comforting to know that the magic is still there. That is not to speak of the magical flame of undying love, but rather the magical bonds that still bind even after rediscovering that one’s husband is, despite years of feminine molding and refinement, still a Visigoth at heart.
To celebrate survival at the five year mark – both in terms of relationship and physical longevity – we ventured out to dinner at a quaint, local Italian place. And by “quaint,” of course, I mean Italian/(rac)coon dual themed. Regardless, at such a place, there are expected rules of etiquette. As we sat down, said husband proudly demonstrated his basic grasp of at least one of those rules. “I suppose I should be civilized,” he boomed as he proudly placed his napkin upon his lap without prompting. Bravo, dear. Score one for civilization.
Appetizers and salads came and went without incident. A deep sigh of relief was breathed. And then the entrée arrived – scallops on a bed of stringy linguine. Accompanying the entrée was the customary pasta twirling spoon. His eyes grew wide in pleasant surprise at the spoon’s presence, indicating he had not anticipated in his wildest dreams that he would be blessed with a second spoon, let alone one of that manly magnitude. “That’s rather interesting. That’s a big spoon.” Then without hesitation, while the waitress was still present, he proceeded to use the proclaimed “big spoon” by itself to scoop up an entire scallop that, although neither it nor the spoon was sized to fit the opening to his gullet, managed to make it – mostly – into his gaping mouth cavity. I stared in astonishment, though not daring to comment and call attention to this feat while the waitress was still present filling water glasses. If she hadn’t noticed it, it hadn’t happened. No, my husband did not just shove a monstrous serving spoon into his mouth heaped with a dripping, buttery hunk of seafood of sufficient size to feed several third world villages. Look – there’s a napkin upon his lap. What a proper gentleman!
After the waitress was safely out of earshot, I quickly and quietly informed him that the intent of the “big spoon” was not to negate the need for his knife by scooping up large chunks that were otherwise not edible via fork alone. Rather, he should use it as an aid to wind up his stringed pasta. At this revelation, he began to spin the spoon ineffectually in circles amongst the noodles. No. No, dear. Not like that.
And so there were further instructions: Use your fork in conjunction with the spoon. No. I did not mean orbiting the fork on the plate about the spoon in dosey-doe fashion. Would you like a demonstration, dear? He handed over the utensils – or perhaps I seized them in shame in case the other diners had begun to stare. I don’t recall. Regardless, I demonstrated the proper mechanical method for twirling the noodles within the spoon by twisting the fork within the stationary spoon’s bowl. Enlightened and eager to apply this newly demonstrated skill, he began. There was indeed some initial twisting action of the fork upon the spoon…and then both utensils – in double-fisted fashion – were raised to his mouth simultaneously to deliver in dump truck style the maximum amount of pasta into his gullet in a single delivery. No. No, dear. The spoon, despite its size, is not intended to be used as a shovel. It is not about efficiency. It is about not appearing as a baboon who has just discovered that two sticks are infinitely better than one.
Despite the public shame, and despite the fact we may never be able to return to the quaint, Italian/coon themed establishment, the experience has further strengthened and guaranteed the longevity of our marital bond. The man obviously needs many more years of feminine refinement and care before he can be trusted to survive in the civilized world. There are many big spoons yet to be conquered.