Love at the Grocery: A Recipe for Success
Today’s grocery list:
1. ingredients for s’mores
2. the latest People
3. a bag of those sweet little clementines (no seeds, please)
4. a man to call my own.
Come on, don’t tell me you haven’t fantasized about bumping into Mr. Right at your neighborhood grocery over a stack of pomegranates. While I’ve not yet found love in the grocery aisles, I’m convinced this is an efficient method of combining errands, so I’ve been polishing my man-shopping skills. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
Wear comfortable shoes. According to those sage architects of grocery parking lots, singles don’t eat. This must be true, because all the parking spots within a five-county radius of the grocery are designated for every category of shopper but singles. You have the expectant-mothers parking, the mothers-with-children parking, the mothers-who-left-their-children-at-home parking, the cats-with-kittens parking, the lucky-in-love parking, even the aliens-with-spaceships parking. Singles, despite having no one to share in the lugging of their heavy grocery bags filled with chopped liver, are relegated to the three unmarked spaces on the far outskirts of the lot somewhere near Maine. So wear hiking boots and carry blister cream.
Dress for success. If you were a Hollywood heroine you might meet your Prince Charming while wearing pink sponge rollers and a bathrobe. But face it, you’re not Nicole Kidman (unless you are), so at least throw on a bra before venturing to the grocery. You should know by now that life is random and love can strike anywhere, especially if you nudge it along by shaving your legs and wearing deodorant.
Choose your store wisely. Kroger is where you dash without mascara when you’ve already dumped the brownie mix into a bowl and realize you’re out of eggs but by then are craving brownies desperately. Publix is where you go for your weekly shopping because the clerks are the nicest. Trader Joe’s is where you run to pick up dessert for a dinner party last minute and pretend you baked it yourself. But Whole Foods, Whole Foods is where you go to bump into single men. That’s because Whole Foods has a whole section devoted to steaming ready-made dinner options for bachelors who can’t cook a lick. And if you don’t find love at Whole Foods, you can always pick up a comforting treat in the dazzling dessert case.
Time it right. Tackle the grocery on Saturday and you’ll risk your life dodging those mini-carts driven madly through the lanes by young children without a license. Sunday is the day every gorgeously perfect couple hits the aisles to choose a meat and starch combo to grill for dinner and to use the words “babe” and “honey” as often as possible in the process. Weeknights, though, singles hit the grocery as an afterthought after work because no home-baked chicken pot pie offered up by a spouse in an apron awaits on the home front.
Check his cart content before choosing. Bachelor Number One’s cart contains Wonder Bread, olive-pimento loaf, a jar of Miracle Whip and a six-pack of beer. Bachelor Number Two’s cart contains protein bars, chicken breasts, and five heads of broccoli. Bachelor Number Three’s cart contains pappardelle pasta, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, a wedge of parmigiano-reggiano, crusty bread, and not-the-store-brand extra-virgin olive oil. This is an easy one, ladies.
When you do find him, speak up, for heaven’s sake. Has this ever happened to you? While scanning the lima bean options, lo and behold, the perfect man for you rolls his cart down the aisle and pauses, eek, right next to you to consider the canned corn. He glances at you and smiles. You smile back. Then you grab a can of lima beans, he grabs a can of corn, and you both go about your merry way without ever exchanging a word. Next time, say something! Might I suggest: “Can you believe how many canned corn options there are nowadays?” You never know—you and he could be frequenting the aisles one future Sunday searching for a meat and starch combo to grill for dinner and using the words “babe” and “honey” as often as possible in the process.
Dana Birdsong didn’t have time for a headache that day. The (then) 35-year-old lobbyist and advocate for the American College of Cardiology in Washington, D.C. had a meeting on Capitol Hill she couldn’t miss.
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