Licking the Spoon

A guide to food, sex, and relationships.
Sample Chapter


Sarah put the finishing touches on her platter of raw shish kebobs and stood for a minute just admiring her handiwork. The colorful rows of red (the round tomatoes and square hunks of beef), green (peppers and zucchini), yellow squash, pink shrimp and white onion, all with a light sheen of olive oil and flecks of red pepper and green parsley flakes, were a feast for her eyes, and her mouth watered slightly at the thought of enjoying the finished product. Tonight the feast is just for herself, as she takes the first step toward understanding the Sarah who longs for a relationship, yet thus far has not been able to find the one that lasts.

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Of course, no longer a teenager, she has had her share of dates, a couple of one-night-stands, a few LTRs of different durations, and one live-in fiancé for almost three years. But as much as she would like to say otherwise, most of her relationships ended in one way or another by the man’s choice. Sure, she broke up with her fiancé, but it was because of his refusal to set a wedding date. Neither of the one-night-stands even asked for her number afterward. The dates were mixed: She was not interested in pursuing anything further with about half of them, but some that she really liked did not call her again. One boyfriend cheated on her with another girl and blamed it in part on Sarah’s insecurities and dislike of oral sex. Another said that she was too high-maintenance, because she wanted him to spend more time with her than hanging out with his friends.

Sarah is intelligent and does her best to be attractive. She senses that there may be a pattern in her relationship history, but she can’t quite put her finger on what it is. Does she pick the wrong kind of guy? Or does she pick the right kind of guy but screw things up herself? She reads relationship articles in women’s magazines and has delved into a self-help book or two. She’s talked with friends about their situations and received more advice than she ever wanted: ‘Try singles websites; let me fix you up with my brother, cousin, co-worker; buy some lingerie and learn some new sex tricks; go to singles mixers and give speed dating a try;’ etc. But none has really suggested that she take a closer look at the one consistent piece in all the puzzles. Tonight Sarah is on a quest with one focus: Sarah.