Recently I read some Chinese girls if still unmarried in their late twenties are renting boyfriends from online shopping sites in an effort to keep their traditional parents off their backs about being late in tying the knot. This, I find to be an interesting concept. For $48.00 you get the basic boyfriend package. An appropriate kiss can be added for a few dollars more. “Find a niche market opportunity, exploit it, then reap the benefits while at all times searching for your next niche to enter, move to make, and edge to employ.” – Ryan P. Allis, entrepreneur. Somebody out there read that quote and had their Tom Terrific thinking hat on. (For those of you who are scratching your heads thinking “who the hell is Tom Terrific”, he was an early animated cartoon character who put a funnel on his head to enhance his thinking capacity. I have since tried this and am sad to report did not see significant improvement. I still put the ice tea pot in the cupboard and find the skillet in the refrigerator from time to time.)
Actually this concept could be fraught with opportunities. Renting a baby, for example relieves you of all that after pregnancy reshaping, or perhaps even twins if they run in your family. Whole family packages might be available including photos and family histories. Uncle Joe could be in County, Aunt Mavis still selling eggs in Arbor Tree, Arkansas. A well-rounded life for the price of a theater ticket. I like this. My life would have been far less complicated had I rented instead of opting to purchase outright.
Recently a friend of mine, on her own for the past eight years, decided to dip her toe once again in the murky depths of the dating pool. As is the custom these days, she chose to begin her search on an on-line dating site targeting the over fifty set. Having met my other half on such a site, she came to me for pointers on where to start. First, I suggested, “be honest”. Do not post that favorite picture of you in the blue taffeta number with shoes dyed to match taken at your senior prom. Also, when composing a profile speak to your true likes and dislikes otherwise you’ll both be disappointed. First encounters while dating often don’t reveal a real glimpse into our day-to-day personas. However, eventually who we really are is bound to surface, and if we try to be something other than ourselves the relationship is surely doomed to failure. Saying you adore roughing it in the woods when your idea of roughing it is a day spa without guava aroma therapy is a really bad idea. Trust me, this will not serve you well. In particular should you attract the attention of an avid outdoorsman whose idea of the perfect woman is a natural gal who can hike 14 miles up the side of a mountain, kill a deer, dress it and cook it on a spit, when up until that juncture you honestly believed meat actually was produced behind those metal doors in the meat department at the supermarket.
Over time I have suffered through many abysmal first dates, some my fault others simply freaks of nature. There was the time I was driving in San Francisco with a lovely man I’d recently met on the way to a local theater and a late dinner. At a corner turning right a large bee buzzed in front of my face. Those of you who read regularly might know that you could put me in a room with alligators and I’d manage to stay calm, but add a bee to the mix and I’d beat the gators to death trying to get out of the room. I digress. At any rate while he was looking left for oncoming traffic, Susie exited the vehicle and when he turned around he found the passenger seat vacant and me standing on the corner illuminated in his rear view mirror. A Friday night it took him about a half an hour to get back to me and needless to say although he saw the humor in the situation once I explained, I don’t believe he ever got over viewing me as a mental case. Sigh.
I’ve been out with men who discussed their ex’s from the first drink to paying the check, those who discussed themselves for the same length of time, then asked me for my opinion of them on the drive home. It is a dicey business this finding a mate, and you need tenaciousness and a sense of humor to muddle your way through it. There are those you know instantly will never be a fit, but they haven’t gotten the same message and visa versa. The awkward moment at the door when you are frantically trying to think of excuses to go inside and he is frantically trying to figure out how to kiss a moving target. You have to take the good with the bad if you’re willing to throw yourself into the fray, that’s all there is to it.
Another tip is that even if a data site matches you with compatible matches do not for a minute believe that is based on any amazing scientific premise, and look at those people who interest you. When I met my other half I believe I was number 207 on his provided list of suitable matches, and we had as much in common as a wildebeest and a garden snake. Nonetheless we sorted through the chaff and found one another. To this day we still have nothing in common, but make each other laugh most days and our differences make life challenging and interesting and our commonalities, makes us friends.
Sooooo, happy Valentine’s Day to all. This is a great recipe. Looks lovely on the plate, isn’t too time consuming, and tastes delish.
Asparagus and Archichoke Linquine
1 lb. linguine (fresh is preferred)
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
8 oz. box of frozen artichoke hearts
1 lb. fresh (thin if possible) asparagus spears, cut in 1″ lengths diagonally
1 1/2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain reserving 1/8 cup of pasta water.
In large skillet saute pancetta over med. heat until crispy, about 7 mins. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel.
Increase heat to med.-high and add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to pan. Add artichokes and cook 3-4 mins. stirring frequently. Add cut asparagus. Cook for 3 mins. Add lemon juice to pan and scape to dislodge any brown bits on bottom of pan.
Reduce heat to medium and add cream and reserved pasta water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 mins. until slightly thickened. Stir in parmesan cheese. Cook for 3 mins. Add pancetta, parsley, salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Toss with pasta and serve with additional cheese.