Love in a hot rotisserie

I hope you enjoy the titular bastardisation of Mitford’s most famous novel — which I’ve reserved for this rotisserie-based tale. In keeping with the pedestrian life that I do lead, I’ve come to realise that the best forum for flirting is that of foodstuffs. Several incidents of late have made me realise that a grocery shopping is, infact, better than Tinder. For a start, you know they’re local. And secondly, I’m of the firm belief that you can tell virtually everything about a person by the contents of their shopping basket.

Anyway, to offer up illustrative vignette numero uno, I give you Tesco, this past weekend. There I was, aisle-browsing away, when a man approached me and enquired as to whether British people ate green pesto (he was not British, by the way. That would have been weirdly 3rd person-y.) Not only was he thrilled when I affirmed that we did, he then asked me to help him find it. Now, I’m no sexpert in the fields of pesto and love, but with a bevvy of Tesco staff around me, I knew this to be a tentative olive branch of flirtation. Sadly, I declined, but it reminded me of an incident last week, concerning a tall man and a whole roast chicken.

Illustration by Daisy Wallis

I was meandering my way around Wholefoods, when I chanced upon a suspiciously healthy-looking salad. “Buy it, it’s so good!” said a friendly, American man to my right. I did (and it wasn’t – but I shall only semi hold that against him) and made my way upstairs. Presently, he asked if he could join my table. I waved him ahead, immersed as I was in my pound of bikini flesh, courtesy of Heat. Gingerly, he lifted an entire roast chicken out of his paper bag. I eyed this hulk of protein – jealous that he had that, whilst I had a tasteless salad, as recommended by him (this is the ‘semi’ part of me holding that against him.)

“How’s your salad?” he ventured. “A little healthy”, I responded, redundantly. (Remember how your mother told you not to speak to strangers when you were 5 years old? It’s like I’ve never forgotten. Thanks, Mum, for that initial prod into social autism.) “I have to eat this WHOLE CHICKEN”, he told me, similarly redundantly – since it had become immediately apparent that he intended to pick the carcass clean. I nodded, pretending to look at a reality starlet’s wedgy, in Heat. “I’m filming a TV pilot”, he went on, conversationally. I turned the page and studied an oddly hairless torso, or three. “I need to put on, like, 40 pounds for the role.”

Now, it was at this point – like pesto day – that I realised we were on the cusp of flirtation. He was quite clearly doing a verbal chest-bang, sharing the ritzy details of his TV-ready life. Here, was my window of opportunity. Like the romantic pesto hunt a deux┬áI could have had, here I could seize a breast to match his drumstick and engage in some poultry prattle. Think of the tales we could have told our children! Alas, what with me not being single – and social autism rearing it’s ugly head – I made my exit shortly afterwards. But it was only when I left that the recriminations begun.

What pilot was he filming? I ruminated. Had he filmed others? Was he famous, with Hollywood tales to tell? I’ll never know. And I only have myself to blame. But what I do know – take particular note of this, single ladies – is that next time you see a man settling down with a rotisserie chicken, it’s always worth sitting down next to him. For who knows what tales he will tell; what pilots he may star in. And you never know, you might even get a date out of it.

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