My Valentine’s Day did not include being lashed with bloody leather whips in the ancient tradition. It didn’t feature a sex partner lottery, either, although that would’ve been quite entertaining. Instead I shared a pleasurable evening with my co-conspirator in life. I was under strict orders to rush home from work and make myself pretty. Jeans and khakis were outlawed. Those of you who know me well are already wondering what in the world I found to wear. My closet is not the typical woman’s repository, stuffed with all manner of clothing and dozens of pairs of shoes. I lucked out with a little black dress that’s been hiding in the inner recesses of my closet for a while. It’s a dress I’ve worn only a few times, and perfect for the occasion. There was but one small minor problem: my stomach. My belly, panza, gut, tummy, spare tire, breadbasket, keg…whatever you want to call it. What to do about the jiggle in the middle?
Valentine’s Day at lunchtime found me in a lingerie department, pawing through the section devoted to body shaping apparel, henceforth to be known as BSA’s. BSA is synonymous with bind, strap, append, brace, swathe, adhere, bolster, secure and affix. Trying on BSA’s is worse than bra shopping and far more hateful than swim suit shopping. For the men out there who are clueless, think of attempting to wrench a child-sized spandex tube over your head, struggle it down your shoulders and wriggling it inch by inch to cover your torso. Once on, you have to fasten the snaps in the crotch to form a panty, which is supposed to make the BSA look like a sexy teddy instead of a giant black Ace bandage. You know you’ve got on the wrong size if you can’t straighten your back and find yourself staring at a grotesquely bent image of your pudgy self in the mirror. Under harsh florescent lighting.
After the fifth BSA, I found one that fit surprisingly well and was slightly more attractive than not. For the record, “fit surprisingly well” translates to mean I could breathe almost normally instead of with shallow panting breaths and as an added bonus was standing completely upright. I hopped up and down a few times to see what, if anything, could still manage a Jello tremble. Satisfied, I made my purchase with the addition of black stockings with a seam up the back. Rarrr! It is a romantic holiday, after all. I was going to be dressed to kill, or at the very least, maim. My efforts were rewarded later that evening with a sweet compliment from my boyfriend. It’s always good to know you look as beautiful as you feel.
All dressed up, we fought rush hour traffic and made it to our destination slightly after our reserved time. Our meal was delicious, although we didn’t have the best table, probably because we were late. We dined at Asti, a classy and cozy Italian spot in Hyde Park. Frank ordered wine for me, which is unusual in that I normally order my own. He chose well, a bold pinot noir bursting with flavor that paired up nicely with both the mussels we shared as an appetizer and my lamb entrée. I implore you, if you visit Asti you must order the mussels. They are steamed in a broth of tomatoes stewed in white wine, garlic and red pepper flakes and served with grilled focaccia bread. Heaven. My main dish was a meltingly tender lamb osso buco served with the traditional celery and onion but substituting sweet potato for the carrot. The richness of the meat and vegetables was tempered by a creamy saffron risotto. Frank enjoyed a grilled NY Strip steak, which although it was tasty doesn’t compare to the steaks at Austin Land & Cattle Company on Lamar. I was anxious to sample his black truffle mashed potatoes but was disappointed that the earthy, nutty flavor was barely discernable.
Upon leaving the restaurant we stopped to admire the moon. Not quite full anymore, it was still heavy and luminous in the sky. Inspired, we chose to lazily wrap up our evening by winding down with a few cocktails. Once home, I was content to happily dissolve into sleep with only a miniscule struggle to free myself from my BSA. Life is good.