Perhaps I’m a closeted prude, a shorts-wearing nevernude, but I was queasily perplexed by my friends’ invite to their feast, which seemingly doubled as an orifice-filling orgy. “We’re co-hosting an aphrodisiac dinner, and you’ve been handpicked to attend!” my friend Emily wrote. “You should feel special.”
I assumed I’m special because I pay less than $650 a month in rent. But hey, a compliment’s a compliment. Wait—aphrodisiac dinner party?
“The goal is to celebrate how much we LOVE you and how SEXY we think you are by feeding you delicious foods,” the invite continued. “You should bring aphrodisiac food to share. Extra points if you a) feed it to others while fanning them, or b) let others eat it off strategic body parts. I doubt you’ll find better plans than eating sexy food with sexy people.”
“We have better plans, don’t we?” I asked my girlfriend. She’s the sole human I’d conceivably employ as a plate, provided she was covered in pork dumplings from toes to cranium, her belly button filled with gingery soy sauce.
“I don’t know,” she said. “This sounds kind of…interesting.”
That makes one of us. I’m too straightlaced for key parties, too prudish for unhygienic deviance—especially sploshing. It’s a Britain-born fetish employing foodstuffs for sex play, like plopping your derriere in butterscotch pudding or plastering people with cream pies. Think of the world’s starving children, forced to fall asleep hungry because your kink demanded you pelt your paramour with spaghetti and meatballs.
“I ain’t gonna lie, hon,” I said, stepping away from the fridge and our full bottles of ketchup. “This party frightens me.” “That’s because you’re an emotional cripple who’s petrified of intimacy.”
“Not until I drink a fifth of Jack,” I replied. “I want to go to the dinner.”
I contacted my mustachioed friend Matt, whose girlfriend was hosting the banquet. I vocalized my reservations about using my appendages to serve hors d’oeuvres.
“It’s not an orgy in disguise,” he replied, exasperated. “It’s a dinner party with a theme. A dozen people will be sitting around a table, eating oysters and pomegranates and chocolate and almonds.”
“That’s how orgies begin!” I said.
“Not this one.”
“So I don’t have to see you naked?”
“No,” he said, sighing like an annoyed parent. “I hope you both come.”
Exercising maturity and restraint, I let the unintentional double entendre die a quick, unacknowledged death. Instead, I planned my contribution to dinner. I considered taking culinary cues from Kurt Vonnegut. In his classic tale “Welcome to the Monkey House,”Vonnegut prophesizes a dystopia in which well-preserved citizens eventually expire in government-run suicide parlors and consume genital-numbing pills. Keeps pleasure and population low, you know. Then along comes sexual rabblerouser Billy the Poet. His pants-dropping weapons are poetry and “a drug so powerful…that even a person numb from the waist down would copulate repeatedly and enthusiastically after just one glass.” That libido-spiking narcotic was wet, wondrous… gin.
In lieu of liquor, I investigated sexy comestibles such as avocados, which Aztecs dubbed ahuacuatl, translating to “testicle tree.” Pineapple, I discovered, is a homeopathic treatment for impotence. And pine nuts provide zinc, a mineral that aids in testosterone production. Screw Viagra—I’m bringing pesto into the bedroom.
In the end, I settled on garlic, whose “heat” supposedly inflames passions. I’d craft Castilian sopa de ajo, a paprika-spiked garlic soup paired with poached eggs and pan-fried chunks of bread.
“So your plan is to make everyone’s breath so bad that they don’t want to make out?” my girlfriend asked, as we biked to the dinner bash. “Mwahahahahaha,” I cackled, as we reached our destination.
I was relieved to find guests were fully clothed and only the food was spread wide. Toasted bread was topped with chocolate, chorizo and saffron threads, creating a savory-aromatic snack. Oysters were messily slurped, juices running down chins. Chicken was stuffed with figs and arugula, and oranges were added to shaved fennel. “It’s a source of natural plant estrogens,” a guest said, passing me a scoopful. I ate the crunchy veggie with gusto, flooding my system with delicious womanpower.
“Now I know how you feel,” I told my girlfriend, grabbing another forkful.
“Embarrassed by you?” “I think I need a different aphrodisiac,” I said, reaching for a longneck of Brooklyn Lager to insert between my lips.