A single friend complained to me the other day about a disturbing trend: grocery shopping dates.
‘‘Making out right there in front of the Wheat Thins – it’s disgusting.”
She re-enacted a recent showing in the canned goods aisle: ‘‘‘Oh, which corn do you want, snook’ems, creamed or whole kernel?’ Giggle, giggle. ‘Anything’s fine with me as long as it’s what sets your taste buds on fire, my Dove bar.’ Smooch, smooch.
‘‘They kept at it through fresh produce all the way to the dairy department. What a pair of fresh fruits! Yuck. Take it to the back of the movie theater where it belongs!”
One thing I can say with reasonable certainty is that these grocery store lovers are not married. Or at best are newlyweds who have yet to face the reality of marital blisters.
You may love this person dearly. You may nurture this person, die for this person.
But disagreements always will break out over his or her taste in food. And spices. Side dishes. Clothing. TV shows. Relatives.
Especially relatives, which shows how silly these arguments become. You have no more control over who your relatives are than over your cravings for Cheetos for breakfast. But your spouse will question you anyway: ‘‘Are you sure you have to claim him as your brother? Can’t we just tell people he’s a foreign exchange student?”
The only thing the significant other doesn’t call into dispute is your choice in spouses – which is the only taste you are beginning to doubt.
When the two of you want to rekindle that flame, it sure won’t be standing next to the flour.
I used to be married. And we used to shop together, sometimes as a family of four. But my wife grew tired of the whining, the grousing, the sneaking of chocolate chip cookies and Cap’n Crunch into the grocery cart.
In my defense, sometimes the kids did that stuff, too!
Anyway, we soon settled into the proper arrangement of shopping for married couples: One person shops and the other person waits in the car. Or at someplace that serves wings.
For married couples, the shared grocery experience goes something more like this:
‘‘Stop staring at the shredded cheese and grab a gallon of milk. Not that one, dummy. The skim milk. You know we always use skim.”
‘‘Oh, c’mon, I’m sick and tired of that watered-down stuff. Can’t we at least do 2 percent. You’re sucking all the life out of me.”
“Uh, I don’t know why I forgot to grab those towels that suck up spills for the life of me. And I wish you’d stop crying over me wanting it to be whole milk that gets spilt.
‘‘Look, tubby, you know you have to watch your cholesterol. Seems like that’s something that should concern you. It’s a good thing at least one of us pays attention. Now grab that milk and hurry up. We’ve got a lot of shopping left.”
‘‘I’m not going to drink it. How about some Coca Cola instead?”
‘‘Oh, all right, if it will make you shut up. Go get a bottle of Cherry Coke and let’s go!”
So please, young lovers, go to lookout point and watch the submarine races. Let the married couples have their food fights in peace. And allow us singles to shop on settled stomachs. Or we’re going to start throwing tomatoes.