Thursday, February 4, 2010

Do you want fries with that…?

By Ashley Lister

Love or sex? The choice is simple. And it’s analogous to popping into any burger joint.

I recently remember reading a sign that said, ‘Going to a burger joint for a salad is like going to a brothel for a hug.’ But, when you visit any burger joint, the choice is always more than just a burger or a salad. Nowadays these places offer you a hundred different types of burger, with or without cheese, and coated in a variety of different sauces. There are chicken-burgers, turkey-burgers, beef-burgers, hamburgers and so many other burgers, made from such a wide variety of animals, I’m surprised that unicorn and dragon aren’t on the menu.

And, which item do I always choose from the burger joint’s mouth-watering menu?

I’ll be honest and admit that I pause at the counter and consider my choice. I do this for two reasons. Primarily, I do this because I’m not an impulsive person and I do relish the opportunity to make a considered decision. However, I also take my time because I know it pisses off the people in the queue who are standing behind me, and that sort of malevolence is always entertaining.

And I enjoy looking at the pictures on the burger joint’s walls. Being a writer of fiction I’m often accused of distorting reality for my own purposes. Seriously, if I ever distort reality as much as the twunts who take those photographs, I’ll happily admit to the crime of egregiously glamorizing fiction. The pictures on the walls of a burger joint bear no similarity to the shrivelled slices of stale bread and the segment of unwiped cow-arse that the patty-jockeys eventually pass over the counter. I have yet to see a better representation of Saussure’s hypothesis on the arbitrary relationship between a sign and its referent than the relationship between those photographs and the chunks of greasy minced bovine peddled in a typical burger bar.

But, when I’m making choice, I always pick the same thing. I always pick the one item that will give me the greatest satisfaction and the fullest sensation of a lingering warmth inside. Quite often that lingering warmth inside turns out to be some sort of e-coli infection, or gastroenteritis. But I try not to order it by those names because it tends to upset the counter staff and the first rule of ordering anything from a burger joint is never annoy the guy who’s got a chance to garnish your food with a splash of his own special sauce.

The same thing is true with the choice between love or sex. Given the opportunity, I’d prefer to take both. But if I’ve got to have one or the other, I’ll always go with love.

Woody Allen reminded us that sex without love is an empty experience. As I recall, he went on to explain that, as far as empty experiences go, it’s one of the better ones. But if I’m after enjoying empty experiences, I can think of far more titillating ways to wile away my dwindling free time. Hanging around burger joints and admiring the fantasy artwork is always a good place to start. Especially if it pisses off the other customers waiting in the queue behind me.

You might think I’m being a hopeless old romantic, especially with Valentine’s Day being just around the corner. You’d probably be right. But it’s my choice and you can’t prove otherwise.

And, now you know my preferences between love or sex, would you like me to supersize you?

15 comments:

  1. Hi, Ashley,

    The effects of your recent degree are showing.

    "Saussure’s hypothesis on the arbitrary relationship between a sign and its referent"?

    Hmm...

    Excellent post, however, although it's hard to empathize because I avoid burger joints like the plague.

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  2. Lisabet,

    I adore Saussure. He was the perfect antidote to the senseless garbage of linguistic determinism that we had to study.

    And I adore the occasional burger. They never look as good as you hoped, but they always obscenely sweet.

    Best,

    Ash

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  3. Oy! After my last outing to a burger joint, I've had to swear off them all together. Though I suspect it was the fries that caused me all the stomach trouble...

    I wonder if the reason you choose love over sex is so as not to upset the person providing it for you in the long term (i.e. the person capable of withholding their own special sauce).

    Supersize away, Ash ;)

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  4. Hi Ash,

    I gotta ask, what's a twunt? I'm actually terrified now. I have a feeling it's something really rude and has something to do with bodily functions that I'd rather not know about.

    It's very nice to know you chose love over just sex. Although, just sex might be nice for a change now and then.

    Great post, and I shall return to find out what twunk is.

    Hugs

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  5. Hi Ashley!

    You will not agree with me on this, but when it comes to empty experiences I can't think of a better way to spend dwindling free time. If I had that choice.

    Fun post! For some reason I never think of England as having cheeseburgers.

    Garce

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  6. I also adore Saussure with eggs and potatoes in the morning. Saussure on pizza is good too.

    Garce

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  7. My problem with this entire topic is that it's a false choice. Love is an emotional state. Sex is a physical act. Positing that there's a choice between them is like asking, "would you rather have a massage or a good laugh?" Or, "would you rather drink wine or eat cake?" Both, please. If simultaneously isn't possible, I'm happy to take them sequentially.

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  8. I think many people want sex and love to be united at all times, but they can't be.

    Yes, it is great to have sex with somebody you love, but it isn't how it has to be.

    Sex for the fun of it is great.
    No love required....
    Sadly however, romantic love lacks greatly when sex is not involved.

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  9. Helen,

    You could be right. I could be choosing love so as not to upset the sauce-provider in my life.

    But, given a choice, I'd seriously prefer the satisfaction of emotional fulfilment rather than 15-30 seconds of pleasure :-)

    Best,

    Ash

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  10. Jude,

    Twunt was a popular word during my final year at University, where someone clever had blended two very rude words to make one neologism that is so new it's inoffensive.

    Best,

    Ash

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  11. Garce,

    As empty experiences go, sex is high on the list. But I'm a writer, and the empty experience of writing a novel or story for my own satisfaction still ranks higher for me.

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  12. Garce,

    Wouldn't it be good if they brought out a brand of Saussure's alphabetti-spaghetti?

    Best,

    Ash

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  13. Big Ed,

    I can take your point that it's logically a false choice. But I also think 'love or sex' is a legitimate choice faced and made by many adults.

    And, whilst it's difficult/impossible/illogical to make such a choice in reality, it's always fun to postulate on such matters.

    Best,

    Ash

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  14. Inferno,

    The consensus does seem to be that sex and love SHOULD be united at all times. The reality is a different situation and you're right that without one of those elements, the experience is unsatisfactory.

    Best,

    Ash

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  15. Why does it have to be one or the other? I want love with my sex thank you very much. :)

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