The New York Slice

Pizza. I’ve had a love affair with it for as long as I can remember. Born and raised in New York and being of Italian descent, I’ve eaten some incredible pizza. Now, I live in Virginia and have yet to find a slice that can compare. The sauce, the crust . . . . It’s just not right.

My friend, now living in France, is in a similar situation. There is no good pizza in her immediate area. She did find, however, a little spot in a seaside town about an hour away where two guys make pizza that’s worth the drive. She texted me the other day saying “Those guys are so good, I’m afraid I’ve been ruined!” She meant she now can’t eat anybody else’s pizza. She’s been ruined for all others.

There are two schools of thought here. Do you do without until you’ve got the gold standard or do you settle because it’s better than nothing?

It reminds me of girlfriends who’d tell me they met a really nice guy but he was just bad in bed. They might give it the old college try – cutting him a break, “it was the first time. He was nervous. He had been drinking.” But more often than not, it turned out to be something that just couldn’t be fixed. Do you just accept that it’s just as good as it’s going to get and make do, or do you wait for the guy who can make your toes curl?

I remember being interested in a guy, many years ago, who turned out to be just an awful kisser. I felt as though I’d gone through a car wash with the car window open and my mouth too for that matter. He thought he was being incredibly erotic. I thought it was downright disgusting. I didn’t have the energy to even begin to try to fix that and I really doubt I could have.

Plenty of couples (or sex therapists) will tell you that a couple can work together to learn one another’s rhythm and develop a real compatibility in this area. A friend pointed out that there are plenty of couples in arranged marriages who can work past the awkwardness of being strangers that now have to sleep together and end up being deeply devoted and in love. They manage to overcome the “meh”.

Everyone has to make that call for themselves, I suppose. Do you settle for “close enough” or “good enough” just to have it or do you hold out for the wow factor, the New York slice?

I went to dinner this evening with a man I met online. He was smart, polite and very nice – but the crust just wasn’t right. He was interesting to talk to but there was no playfulness, no humor, no crackle of electricity. Not.One.Bit. Men who are financially solvent, intelligent, articulate and not creeps don’t come along everyday. Do I settle for the Virginia pizza because it’s better than nothing or do I hold out for the slice that makes my mouth water? Can one turn into the other over time?

Just like the pizza makers in Biarritz, France who have ruined my friend for all other lesser pizzas, the men I’ve known who have the sparkle, who could send me afloat with a kiss and who could make me laugh till I cried, have ruined me for all others. I can’t resolve myself to the bland pizza with the shitty crust. For me, the lousy kisser just isn’t going to morph into Valentino.

I just can’t settle for good not great. I can’t go for just okay. I’d rather have nothing if I can’t have the New York slice and I’m willing to wait for it. I’ve been ruined.


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