It was a chilly winter night in Taiwan and I found myself sitting in a bar. I’d been dating a girl for a few weeks now and we’d gone to post dinner drinks to catch up with some of her friends.
Being the only foreigner at the table the conversation flipped between Chinese and English, enough times that I quickly lost track of what it was we were discussing at any given time.
Every so often though someone would realise I looked a bit bored and make an attempt to
practice their English with me strike up a conversation.
On one particularly extended length of such conversation we found ourselves talking about dog food and before I knew it most of the table had joined in too.
I’d only ever owned cats before and found that although they might not instantly want to change their food over to another brand, if you left the new food out long enough, reluctantly (at first) they would.
One girl was telling me though that she spent quite a lot on food each week (more than on herself) because her dog was so fussy. Despite my best efforts to try and convince her to just leave out the food until it was eaten, she insisted that she’d tried it and
subsequently caved in before the dog did it simply hadn’t worked.
Shortly after that conversation, that’s when it happened.
Out of nowhere, the girl I was with suddenly blurted out about how she’d tried dog food when she was younger.
Not once, but twice.
My eyes blew up to twice their size and my mouth recoiled in horror as I then witnessed virtually everyone else at the table then confess that they’d tried it too!
What the hell was going on I had no idea, but it felt like I’d stumbled into the Twilight zone. Here I was sitting at the table of dogfood eaters anonymous and turns out it was confession night!
I mean yeah sure, I’d looked at cat food once or twice before and wondered what it looked like (some of the casserole tinned food almost looks palatable), but trying it?!
Not a chance! The idea had never even been up for contemplation!
After running an internal dialogue through my mind wondering ‘who are these people and what am I doing here?’ It was roughly at this point I realised most of the table were now staring at me.
‘What about you? Have you tried it?’
I knew that my next few words had to be chosen carefully (how do you politely tell a table of people they’re a bunch of freaks?).
‘uh.. yeah. No, I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it. I mean it’s dog food. It’s for dogs. People eat people food duh’.
A bit of banter back and forth and I became amazed at the surprisedness of the table at me not ever having tried dog food, or even having contemplated the idea.
For some reason in a smoke filled room in the middle of Taiwan I’d somehow become the odd one out for not having sampled the culinary delights of canine chow.
Sure I’ve felt ostracised in Taiwan but not quite so much as I suddenly felt that night.
Later that night we found ourselves back at my place. We were both a bit tipsy and things were going well.
Clothes thrown off with reckless abandon, check.
Then she moved in for the kill.
…it still pains me to say it, but it was here that I did the pullback. You know that reflexive move you with your head where you sharply slide it backwards to try and avoid something undesirable coming right at you.
Yeah, I did that.
‘what was that?’
‘what was what?’
‘what you just did!’
‘what’d I just do?!’
‘oh my god.’
At that point she tried to kiss me again and it was then that I realised it was hopeless.
I couldn’t get past the dog food.
Yeah, she was beautiful but everytime her mouth got near I swore all I could smell was ‘Pal meaty chunks casserole with extra chunks’.
The night was a lost cause.
‘You are unbelievable. Invite me back here and then you don’t want to kiss me’.
‘It’s the dogfood, I can’t stop thinking about it!’
I then realised my mistake.
‘That’s it! I’m going home. You’re CRAZY! Don’t call me – don’t do anything!’
And all within the timeframe of about thirty seconds, I found myself sitting alone on the couch.
She stormed out and I never saw her again… but I’ve never quite been able to fully embrace the idea that by not eating dogfood… I was the crazy one.
I mean yeah, narcissistic maybe… but crazy? Surely not.
Only people who eat dogfood are truly crazy.