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Watershed on Peachtree
1820 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta, GA 30309
www.watershedrestaurant.com

Good choices: Starters: Pork and olive meatballs, pork belly wraps, sea-scallop schnitzel. Entrees: Jambalaya, blue crab/shrimp ragout, vegetable plate. Desserts: Hot milk cake, coconut cream pie

“It certainly does,” Robert replied.  And so do you, he thought to himself, meaning Brandon was not like his usual dates.

Brandon, 39, had attended the initial meeting of Robert’s Food Porn Supper Club. He looked like a clone with tattoos, tanned muscles and a buzz-cut. He had even suggested that the club be limited to “masc men.”

Robert, hunting a husband before he turned 50 next year, was surprised when Brandon called and invited him to dinner. Robert was above all an intellectual. He taught queer theory at Georgia State and had written several critical papers on gay masculinity and body image. He was a regular at LA Fitness himself but excused that as a necessary antidote to his foodie habits.

“So,” Brandon said, “why don’t you approve of me?”

Robert turned scarlet. He was not used to people who were blunter than him.

“I was pretty shocked,” he stammered, “when you suggested we limit the supper club to masculine men…”

Brandon cut him off. “Well, I like men who are super-hung,” he said, not looking up as he poked at his appetizer — a scallop schnitzel topped with a fried quail egg and anchovies, surrounded by grebiche and capers.

Robert laughed nervously.

“It’s just a preference,” Brandon said.

Robert groaned internally. “Preference” is many men’s excuse for sexual prejudice. Most famously, white men use it to rule out sex with black men, but it’s also applied to “fems,” Asians, the inadequately hung, etc.

Noting that such “preferences” parallel racism and other forms of cultural bias provokes angry denials like, “I don’t want to have sex with average dicks. I don’t want to have sex with vaginas either. They’re both preferences, right?”

Robert’s entrée, jambalaya, arrived. Executive Chef Joe Truex and Julia Leroy, chef de cuisine, are both brilliant cooks. Truex is a native of Louisiana and his jambalaya

depends more on a spicy roux than the tomato sauce that turns most jambalaya screamingly red. Comparatively little rice was at the bottom of the bowl but it was filled with jumbo shrimp, sausage and shelled crawfish.

“So,” Brandon resumed, “you do have a big one, right?”

Robert had just speared a slice of sausage and shook it gently at Brandon. “Stop being an idiot.”

Brandon exploded into laughter. “You academics,” he said. “You never realize when you’re being teased. Of course, I don’t believe that shit. But since you were clearly stereotyping me the other night, I thought I should respond in kind.” He twirled his fettuccine triumphantly around a chunk of blue crab.

Robert smiled, forcibly. “OK, touché, but what’s your deal?”

“I just moved here from LA to teach at Emory. I heard about you and when I read about the supper club, I decided to check you out. I’m also a foodie and I’m about to turn 40, while you’re about to turn 50 – big milestones.”

Robert was feeling almost nauseous, but not enough so that he resisted sharing a slice of the restaurant’s hot milk cake, similar to the tres leches cake popular in Latin cultures.

Brandon licked his fork and sat it down after one taste. “I guess I win this round, right?” He flexed his right bicep in the new gesture of gay hypermasculinity.

Robert gobbled up the rest of the cake and mentally scratched off husband candidate No. 1. Still, the sex might be good.

 


Food Porn is a new fictional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cliff Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband — or at least a good meal.

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