By Lori Welch Brown
Mashed, Men and The Meaning of It All
For me, I like mashed potatoes. Doesn’t really matter what’s in them, how ‘mashed’ they are, if the potatoes are Iowa or Idaho, or even if the potatoes are real or instant for that matter. I like everything about them—the flavor, the texture, and the immense sense of comfort they bring. Me likey likey! Get it? It is hard for me to even begin to wrap my mind around the fact that there are people—seemingly normal, decent credit score kinda people—walking around out there who do not like mashed potatoes. For every reason I like them, they passionately and fervently dislike them. Insanity, right? Hate the flavor. Hate the texture. These people and I could never be friends. Maybe we could be at the same wedding reception or something—“just not seated at the same table.
Why am I talking about mashed potatoes? Because I had this epiphany the other day when I was with a very attractive, intelligent, fun, witty and single friend that sometimes we forget that people aren’t turned on by the same things we are—even things that seem really obvious like mashed potatoes and Tory Burch boots. She was telling me over coffee about a few recent Match.com dates—dates with guys she felt like she had connected with and/or felt some level of attraction, yet whom had disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle of dating. That happened to me plenty of times, and like my friend, I internalized it and made it about me. For God’s sake—I was like mashed potatoes! I am somewhat attractive, practice good grammar (don’t rely on spell check and know the difference between their and there), am financially independent, moderately active, and in the grand scheme of everyday life—somewhat emotionally healthy. If there’s a range of emotional health that starts with The Dalai Lama and ends with Charlie Sheen, I’d register somewhere closer to the left. Yet, with all that going for me, when faced with what seemed like rejection from a virtual stranger, I would curl up in a ball and think “What’s wrong with me?” Was it my outfit? Did I use the wrong fork? Did I talk too much about my cat? Within 24 hours, I could have materialized a list of at least 38 reasons why Mr. Wrong had written me off when all along it was that he didn’t like mashed potatoes. He wasn’t hard wired to like my deliciousness. Once you have that understanding, life crystalizes before your very eyes. It’s not you—it is him (or her!). You are amazing perfect in every possible way today as you are right now in this very moment. Not when you lose 25 pounds and not when you get that new car or those fabulous Tory Burch boots you’ve been saving for or when you finally send your 1996 Camry to car heaven. Right now starts right now.
If Mr. Perfect isn’t calling or emailing or texting or Snapchatting or whatever the hell he is supposed to be doing—that automatically puts him in the Mr. Wrong box. Period. End of discussion. Realize he doesn’t like mashed potatoes and move on. Instead of listing the things that are wrong with you, start making a list of things that are awesome and amazing about yourself.
He or she is allowed to be turned on by other things, and they really don’t have to give a reason for why. As much as I want to grab them by their shoulders and shake their little warped and confused brains out of their heads and scream at the top of my lungs, “WHY in God’s name don’t you like mashed potatoes? What in the world of majesty is wrong with you? What have mashed potatoes ever done to you?” It would be senseless and would likely get me arrested. Instead I have learned to let it go and move on with the realization that: a) it means more masheds for me; and b) it doesn’t serve my higher purpose to force my will on anyone. They should come to the mashed potato dish jubilantly and passionately. And—they shouldn’t just show up with a spoon, ready to dig in. If they are really are interested in a seat at the table, they’ll bring some gravy or a slab of butter. They’ll add to the bounty.