I admit it. I am a cart snooper. I take sneaky glances at other people's shopping selections as I pass them in the isles. Sometimes it is to remind myself of the stuff I used to buy and how unhealthy it made me (cereals, whole grain bread, low fat products...eww!). Sometimes I look for clues as to why someone's kids are bouncing off the walls and acting like little jerks (Oh goody! Mountain Dew, Little Debbie's Snack Cake and Macaroni and Cheese! I hope they put money aside for Ritalin and fat camp!). Other times I look to see what a thin person is eating and how can they possibly look that good trudging through a Walmart at 11pm (Maybe there are secret clues to thinness, longevity, and full pouty lips? Fat-free yogurt, tofu burgers and Zima? Never mind...I'll stay chubby and poutless.)
I also get a good laugh playing "Spot the Bachelor". A married man shopping alone will buy milk, bread, cheese, vegetables, and even, if he thinks nobody is looking, feminine hygiene products for his wife and/or daughter. A bachelor heads right for the frozen food section, grabs anything with the name "Hungry Man" on it, adds a 12 pack of soda and bolts out the door as fast as he can. Maybe I need a new hobby, but for me, this qualifies as entertainment.
As much as I snoop at other people's carts, I am actually shocked if I notice someone else giving my cart the eye. Sometimes "the eye" comes with "the smirk", as in "No wonder you are fat lady! You have MEAT, CREAM and CHEESE in your cart!" Yeah, whatever bitch. I used to weight 280lbs. Now I weight 210. Bite my shrinking ass. I have also noticed a few looks of longing lately, usually from some poor man who, I assume, has been placed on a low-fat diet by his vegenazi wife. The accompanying whimpering and drooling are heartbreaking to say the least. One thing I never noticed before was a look of admiration...until the other day.
I went to my local Safeway to take advantage of a weekly sale on London Broil. At $1.98/lb, it was a great deal. I often braise this cut in a small amount of white wine or beer, add California blend vegetables, and then mix sour cream right before serving. ...delicious! So when it goes on sale, I stock up. I also had a rain check for cheap chicken since they ran out the last time I was there plus I always troll for other discounted items and manager's specials. What I ended up with is over 15 pounds of London Broil, 4 family packages of chicken thighs, 2 big bags of chicken wings, 2 1lb packages of beef liver, 5 Cervelat Summer sausages ($2.98 each manager's special....usually $5.98) and 3 huge packs of 99 cents/lb beef ribs that looked like the brontosaurus ribs right out of the Flinststones cartoon. Then I headed to the dairy section and added 2 quarts of heavy whipping cream, a large brick of pepperjack cheese, and a large tub of sour cream.
As I walked out of the dairy section, I passed a young man who, not so inconspicuously, glanced in my cart, then looked at me, smiled, then gave me the ultimate sign of male approval...the upward chin snap. You know... that slight upward tilt of the chin one guy gives to another guy. It is usually reserved for acknowledgment of important things like cool motorcycles, impressive tool collections, or riding lawn mowers with flame graphics on the side. Yet here I was, a girl, getting this high mark of honor and recognition. All I could do was grin as I walked toward the check out. I honestly think that if I asked him to marry me at the moment, he would have cheerfully followed me home.
This got me thinking. I have a friend who is smart, cute, has a good job, her own home and a fun personality, yet she can't seem to find a descent boyfriend. Maybe it is because she is a vegetarian. If a handsome single man saw her walking through the store with a cart full of Boca Burgers and Tofu, he would run in the other direction lest he end up like some of his starving, whimpering brethren. I tried to tell her about my experience the other night and suggested she try slipping a few packages of chicken or steak in her cart for show if she sees a cute guy at the Safeway, but she just gave me a nasty look. I guess telling someone they should do the dating equivalent of tying a pork chop around their neck to get someone to pay attention to them wasn't a good idea. If I keep this up, I might not have any girlfriends left. At least I know I can load up a cart full of meat and make new guy friends. Good thing I don't mind talking about lawn mowers.