Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2023
No Matter What’s on the Menu
When I was a kid, my dad was on dinner duty during the week, and I was a very picky eater. We had a running joke when I asked what he was making, there were usually multiple pots and pans in use on the stove. He would lift one lid and say, “this is eww.” He’d close that, lift another and say, “and this is yuck.” I usually disliked at least one element of meals and would say so, often in those exact words, eww and yuck. Ugh, why couldn’t he just make stuff that I liked? Thankfully, I’ve outgrown that. My tastes have changed, I try new things but still, I like what I like. I can do so without need for commenting on the parts I don’t, or that others do, now. To each their own, doesn’t bother me at all.
Apparently, not everyone grew out of their ‘eww/yuck’ phase. Many grew deeper into it, digging so far in as to make remarks anytime they see someone consuming food they dislike, or declaring anyone who likes something prepared differently than the original way, or the way they prefer, wrong or that the recipe isn’t authentic, and the person can’t be truly enjoying it. Pineapple doesn’t belong on pizza soapboxers, I’m looking directly at you. Seriously, though, can’t we just let people enjoy things? I don’t need you to compare my tofu to all kind of nastiness as I’m eating it, or tell me that I’m doing something scandalous by eating pickled ginger with my sushi roll, or heaven forbid, having peppers on my cheesesteak. I am fully aware that not everyone likes tofu, ginger is included as a palate cleanser, and a “Philly” cheesesteak doesn’t call for peppers, but I LIKE these things…and don’t recall asking for your input. The fact that all of these things are made, sold, and consumed widely show I am not alone, so there.
The eww/yuck idea spills over from food preferences into all aspects of life, though. No matter who you are or what you do, someone is going to have something to say and it won’t always be kind. Or welcome. Or even directly to you. And there is little to nothing you can do to change that.
We’ve covered food preference, and I went light on that, believe me, it could have been a longer rant. But let’s hit some other topics shall we? Let’s start with physical appearance. I am a brunette. I’ve gone lighter, nearly blonde for a while, then to the other end of the spectrum with a near-black brown. I’ve gone pink, purple, and for the longest stretch, red. it’s been extra long, quite short and every length in between, straight, wavy and curly. I’m currently letting it grow, trying to figure out what my actual hair color is and allowing the grey to come as it may. At nearly every point in my hair’s lifecycle, I was told I should do something else with it, wear it some way other than how I liked it at that moment, because another person would prefer MY hair their way. I was told I was too old to experiment with colors, that it wasn’t professional. All unsolicited and absolute nonsense. Because, for every ‘eww/yuck,’ there was a ‘your hair is fabulous.’
Continuing with the physical, I’m not a person who often shows a ton of skin. But sometimes, my choice of clothing reveals that I have a few tattoos. I recall one time at a gala fundraising event for my job, I chose a strapless dress, paired with a classic updo for my hair. I was having a lovely conversation with a guest in my line at the registration table, face to face. A question they asked required me to turn around to pick something up for them. This person who had been so lovely to my face, gasped and said aloud,“ugh, well THAT’S trashy, it ruins the whole look!” When MY upper back was shown to not be the pristine skin they would prefer. They took what I had handed them and walked away, glaring over their shoulder with the eww/yuck look. The person next in line apologized and asked me all about it saying they always wanted tattoos but were too scared to get one.
How about more of a less permanent aesthetic example, hmm? I adore a vintage look. I spent a not insignificant amount of time in social circles, claiming to be inclusive, that did as well. I – or anyone really – could be impeccably dressed, made up, hair done, the whole shebang, for an event. For every compliment, there was an insult or backhanded comment dished out. Well that’s not TRUE vintage. That looks like a costume. You and a million other people got that look straight from Amazon. There would often be whole groups of people passing judgement on anyone who didn’t meet their ideal of what someone should look like to be at this event. But I still will say I met some amazing people, despite such eww/yuck reactions from a small (but loud) segment.
And now for something a bit more intangible: personality, life choices, etc. As a forty-something, heterosexual, single female, I am constantly asked rather inappropriate questions by, or hear comments and suggestions from, well-meaning individuals about improving my life. To be perfectly clear, the improvements are most often ways in which I can align myself better to the ideal woman’s role of wife and mother. A role I do not at all identify with. Let’s face it, if I haven’t drank that kool-aid by now, honey, it ain’t happening. So things like telling me how if I stopped doing this or started doing that I could get a man, and how much easier my life would be with him in the house to take care of me and fix things; saying I will regret not having children, and couldn’t possibly mean it when I say I have no intentions of getting married, and a thousand other variants of these things isn’t cute, appreciated, or necessary. I won’t change my mind about who I am and what I want because it doesn’t align with your opinion. No one should have to for anyone, or any reason. I can take care myself, and the home I purchased for myself, by myself. I am enough; it’s a shame you can’t see that.
For all of the times we laughed at the dinnertime eww/yucks, even the times I actually thought it of the things that were on the menu, I’m grateful the idea didn’t stick. I can experience something and decide ok, that’s not for me without the compulsion to tell others it shouldn’t be for them either simply because I don’t like it. All of this to say, I recognize and appreciate we are each different. From what we like to eat, to how we like to look, to who we spend our time with (or don’t) and how, to the choices we make for ourselves, big and small. No amount of eww/yuck attitude from anyone should deter us from being who we are and enjoying the hell out of the time we’ve got, no matter what’s on the menu.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.
In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.
You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.
To access additional articles by Miss Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-what-if/