tfw is a mini personal essay series I’m try to do on Tuesdays to recount second-person experiences of feelings and experiences we all have. Or maybe I’m the only one who has them?
You are eating a banana. You always feel uncomfortable when you eat a banana.
Is this because you are gay and eating a banana? You stare at the fruit in front of you. Is someone going to watch you eat this, to see if you eat it “differently”? You unwrap the fruit from its sleeve, peeling it from the tip. You are careful not to hold it with two hands, not to pluck at it too gracefully. You hold it away from you. Is anyone watching you?
You stare at the unsheathed fruit. Banana filaments tether the yellow flesh to the greened husk it came from. You peel them off, daintily but try not to be too precious about it. Do you break a piece off and eat it or do you just put it in your mouth? What is the correct way to eat this? Do you need to get a fork and knife or shove the whole thing in, in one bite, as if an excited monkey?
You hold the banana in one hand and wrap your mouth around the fruit. You pause: is someone watching you? Does anyone see you eating this? You take a bite and catch a passerby’s eyes. You quickly place the banana on the table in front of you. You chew. Can you smile? It tastes good. You give a slight smirk and chew. The person smiles back at you and you, blushing, now feel like you are sweating through all of your clothing. You still have three quarters of the fruit left to eat.
You pluck a quarter off, holding the fruit between two fingers, this alien food item that you don’t want to be seen with. You put it up to your mouth and are distracted by a man across the room. The banana idles on your lips, between your fingers, a joint of the greater food digit. You open your mouth slightly. The man squints and makes a face. You realize what is happening with the banana and you pop it in your mouth and look down at the remains, hoping the man disappears.
Are you sure you know how to eat bananas? The deflated greened shell browns on the table, the fruit poking out from the floppy parts atop of it. Do you continue eating it? Does everyone around you think you are eating a banana because you are gay or are you gay because you are eating a banana? This is the struggle with bananas, the double consciousness of being seen eating a fruity faux sex act, the food that doubles as a condom model.
You take the remains of the banana out and you put it in your mouth and chew it and are rid of the phallic fruit.