Welcome to Thatz Not Okay, a regular column in which I school inquiring readers on what is and is not okay. Please send your questions (max: 200 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Thatz Not Okay."
I have been dating this guy for about six months now and it's been going great! He definitely has potential for the long haul. Here's the thing: my boyfriend HATES eggs. I happen to love eggs (in general, breakfast is the reason I wake up every day). I also love to cook – for myself, him, his family, friends, etc. I constantly find myself having to think of breakfast meals that do not include eggs, which as you can imagine, is a bit challenging. Not only that, on several occasions, we have gone out to have a nice little weekend brunch and will have to get up and leave a restaurant if they do not have a non-egg item on their menu that meets his satisfaction. We were in San Francisco on vacay and had to leave THREE different places because they didn't have non-egg options. We ended up settling for bagels (and I really wanted a good ol' breakfast that day). Before I ask my question, let me clear up some specifics: 1) No he is not in any way allergic. He just doesn't like the taste. 2) He will eat things like French toast or baked goods – eggs can be in the food as long as it isn't identifiable or the star of the dish, 3) According to his mom he's been like this since he was around 10/11. I am convinced he just hasn't had eggs cooked properly…or maybe he needs to try them in a different style (scrambled? poached? burnt to a crisp?). I want to gently push him to give them another try. Can I maybe make an egg dish (like a quiche) without telling him it's eggs and see if he likes it? Is that okay?
First, this is the plot of Green Eggs and Ham. Like, exactly.
Before you do anything, you should ask yourself the question your boyfriend will undoubtedly ask when you slap down the recipe for "Breakfast Surprise" in front of him and only ingredient is "EGGS!!!!!" circled in red marker 11 times. That question: Why is it so fucking important to you that he eat eggs?
For most couples, differing food preferences are not an insurmountable challenge. My boyfriend doesn't particularly like one of my favorite breakfast foods—chocolate—but I have not made it a life goal to trick him into eating it. Enjoy your Bit-O-Honey, loser. More chocolate for me.
You say you're confident this fellow just hasn't had eggs cooked properly (or in a box or with a fox), but, based on the litany of untried cooked egg options you present, I'm wondering if he's ever had them cooked at all. What was his mother serving him at age 10 that turned him off eggs for life? Breakfast in "the mad Dutch style" (raw egg cracked over Corn Chex)? Is his experience with eggs limited to removing one from the carton in the refrigerator and chomping down on it—shell and all? How many unhatched blue jays and starlings did he pluck from various nests and eat before realizing "You know what? I do not think I like these little ovals."
It is unfathomable to me that your boyfriend demanded to leave three separate restaurants because they did not have suitable non-egg items on their breakfast menus. Places that serve breakfast don't not have non-egg items on their menu. Unless the three places you took him were Egg Eggers' Scrambled Egg Palace, Ovatopia, and an actual chicken coop, I am willing to bet $1,000 that he could have made do with something at the second place. Abstaining from eggs isn't like being a vegan. It's like saying "I don't love Dr. Pepper." You get one veto.
On a related note, while your boyfriend is weirdly selfish about his egg demands, I disagree that it is "challenging" to dream up breakfast meals that meet your boyfriend's made-up some-eggs-are-OK-but-most-eggs-are-not-OK criteria, should that be how you choose to spend your time. I am going to come up with a list of breakfast foods right now, on the spot, that meet this criteria: pancakes, waffles, muffins, toast, oatmeal, fruit plate, bagels, smoothies, granola, sausage, hash browns, hushpuppies, yogurt, donuts. And that was without even thinking. That was just my fingers typing out breakfast foods from muscle memory. If you want to make an egg-free breakfast, pretty much the only dishes you have to stay away from are ones that have "EGGS" in the name, plus omelettes, plus frittatas.
And, of course, plus quiche. Since you are positive he is not allergic, there is nothing to stop you from preparing yourself a quiche and offering your boyfriend a fluffy forkful. But if this man is so dense and has such blunted senses (sight, smell, taste, etc.) he doesn't know the primary ingredient in quiche is eggs, he might not be worth your time.
There are a few ways this could play out. There's the outcome you are hoping for, which is that, after you make the big reveal that Soylent Green is eggs, your boyfriend will careen around your home like a madman shouting, "O merciful God, thank you, thank you for this gift! No longer shall I wander eggless and kind of hungry through the vast wasteland of non-egg based foods!" That is probably the least likely to happen. (There's also a variation of this, in which he will admit that yes, he does like eggs. But only in this one specific new dish.)
On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's the chance that, even though your boyfriend says he doesn't like eggs, it turns out that, yes, that's correct, and he actually doesn't like eggs. That he will try a bite of your beautiful breakfast quiche and say, "Hmm, I don't really like this. What's in it?" And you'll say "Eggs!" And he'll say "Oh, yeah, I don't like eggs."
... but there is another option. A third option. A darker option: the hellish psychological labyrinth. Allow me to weave you a tale of betrayal and suspense.
There was a period in my life, sometime during high school, when, out of nowhere, I became A Person Who Loves Caesar Salad. Every time I went out to dinner with my parents, I would order a Caesar salad. Caesar salad for lunch. Caesar salad with dinner. Would I like to substitute the house salad for a Caesar salad for a $1 surcharge? Certainly, I would. I was eating Caesar salads left and right, with a reckless opulence not seen since the last days of Rome. And then, the last day of Rome (or, more correctly, the Fall of Caesar Salad) arrived. I was out to dinner with my mom, tucking into—what's this—a Caesar salad, when she made an offhand comment about me liking anchovies now.
I DIDN'T KNOW CAESAR SALADS WERE MADE WITH ANCHOVIES.
Suddenly, all I could taste was anchovies. I had a sip of my soda to wash the taste out of my mouth and then remnants of anchovies were stuck to the straw like an invisible lipstick stain (I figured), so I couldn't use the straw anymore. Anchovies on my tongue. Anchovies in my nose. Anchovies was all there was. I looked around the restaurant: Anchovies in jackets or dresses, tucking into meals, feeding their tiny anchovy children even tinier anchovies. I turned to my mother and saw her rolling her anchovy eyes. "Don't be so dramatic," she said as I looked down—only to find small anchovy fins holding my knife and fork.
Had I never found out about the anchovies, I would have gone on eating Caesar salads forever. From that point on, though, even if I knew a Caesar salad contained no anchovies, I could not eat it. The scent of Caesar salad became, to me, the smell of anchovies. It made me gag.
So, before you act, stop and think. It is more important to you that you be able to secretly feed your boyfriend eggs according to your whims, or that he know, as irrefutable fact, he is eating eggs?
Or is it more important that your boyfriend be able to trust that you will not secretly tamper with his food in order to prove a weird point that, all things considered, doesn't really matter?
(You are, of course, free to continue to encourage him, openly to try your eggs. He will probably decline, because he doesn't like them.)
I'm a musician. A friend of mine lent me his bass amp for an extended period of time without ever asking for it back. So essentially I played a lot of gigs with his stuff. I ended up breaking one of the speakers by accident through heavy use and soon after was able to buy my own. I put his broken amp in a friends garage and told him where he could pick it up. 4 years later I receive an email about how I owed him money for the busted speaker (which he admitted he would use towards rent as he was totally broke). It seems to me that certain debts have a shelf life. If he felt I owed him money for this he should have told me when he first took it back. I felt conflicted, but I told him that it had simply been too long for him to collect on the broken speaker and that I didn't feel right paying for it especially since it was not going to go towards repairs. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
There appears to be a minor typo in your original letter. Forgive me for correcting it here.
I ended up breaking one of the speakers by accident through heavy use and soon after was able to buy my own.
What you meant to write was:
I ended up breaking one of the speakers by accident through heavy use and soon after was able to buy my friend another one—a replacement for the one of his I had broken through my abuse of his generosity—which I continued to use.
How exciting for you that, once you purchased a brand new amp, you were able to stop caring about that broken ol' piece of shit your friend lent you. Your lifestyle sounds very razzle-dazzle glamorous. However, it is also important to remember that your friend didn't loan you a broken ol' piece of shit. He loaned you a moderately expensive piece of electrical equipment that you proceeded to turn into trash.
Yes, it is certainly plausible that, depending upon the state in which you reside, the statute of limitations during which your friend could legally claim payment for his damaged property might have run out. It is also possible that you live in a state (Virginia, perhaps?) in which he is still firmly within his legal rights to sue you for compensation. I hope this is the case and I hope that he sues you, because you are a monster.
Either way, what you have done is 100% illegal...in the court of friendship.
I can tell you are a wealthy and successful musician based on the fact you would rather give up a years-long friendship than two $50 bills. You would think that the cachet that comes along with a position in the inner circle of one of the most powerful and talented musicians in America would be enough to satisfy your friend — and yet he still wants the $100. Curious.
(In fact, I know exactly how successful you are because after reading this question, I Googled the name attached to your email, in order to see what a monster looks like. I see from your last Facebook wall post—which is public! Maybe lock it down?—That you are currently seeking to "borrow" a snare drum. I hope your friend—we'll call him Steve but we both know his name—reconsiders his offer to let you borrow his, because, if past behavior is any indication, you will break it and then, when he eventually requests that you produce his drum or, God forbid, the money to cover repairs after you destroy it, you will stare at him aghast.
"Steve! If you ever wanted to see that drum ever, ever again WHY would you lend it out to me, a noted monster? I punctured its skin with my monster claws as soon as I removed it from its carrying case!")
It is unconscionable that you would justify your decision not to pay your friend for the damage you caused to the amp by pointing out that it's "not going to go towards repairs." Here's a newsflash: If your friend is cashing out minor debts from four years ago in order to pay his rent, THINGS PROBABLY AREN'T GOING SO WELL FOR HIM. It might not be the best time to lecture him on the importance of music in his life.
Did it occur to you that the reason he didn't ask you for the money four years ago or three years ago or two might be because he was hoping he was never have to ask you for the money? That this might not have been exactly how he wanted to spend his November? He's not buying blow. He's not buying a brand new pair of flashy sneakers. He's buying (not even buying! renting!) SHELTER.
Even if he didn't need the money to cover his rent, you would be in no position to lecture him on responsibility. You know what is less responsible than dilly-dallying on calling in a debt?
BREAKING SOMETHING THAT YOU BORROW.
Submit your "Thatz Not Okay" questions here (max: 200 words). Art by Jim Cooke.