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I Took My Poor Friend to Lunch... Is That Enough For a Column

Image via Getty.
Image via Getty.

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her to a restaurant that serves sushi, the traditional Japanese food of white rice and vinegar, either rolled (maki) or in little balls (sushi) or, for the real connoisseurs, just the raw fish (sashimi). But you, my peer in education and taste, already know that.

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As we looked at the menu, I could see her face freeze up. Ah, I know what’s happening here—she (a woman) who has only graduated from high school (but I won’t say why or what she’s done after that) is uncomfortable with the idea of eating raw fish, as she probably hasn’t had the opportunity to travel or speak with people outside her culture, even though I, just the mushroom part of the penis, am also outside her culture. She also doesn’t understand globalization—she hasn’t read James Farrer, or watched the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Neither have I, but I am upper-class and speak with the confidence of someone who has never been told, “Actually, no thanks.”

I’m sure her visible discomfort isn’t because I keep tickling the small of her back and breathing into her ear, “Are you okay? That word says izakaya, it’s like a little bar with snacks—you know, you love to order cheap beer and potato chips at the corner store, like that.” It’s probably not because she is fatally allergic to rice (a fact which I once knew, but have pushed out of my mind to make room for important thoughts like Kant, and the names of my favorite hotel pornography rentals), or because I have been very slowly allowing silent farts to seep out of my sphincter and into the sushi restaurant, a sacred place where The Japanese and White Americans go to appreciate a beautiful and ancient culture.

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After observing her facial expressions and interpreting them to mean, “I am uncomfortable in this sophisticated environment because I’m Pretty Woman’s Julia Roberts pre-makeover and also because my dining partner keeps saying a striata baguette which I don’t think is a thing because striata is an Italian word and baguette is a French word,” I asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else. She anxiously nodded yes, and we ate Mexican, a comforting cuisine of beans and rice and tortilla-and-cheese paninis. A cuisine that’s of the people.

This just goes to show how out-of-touch the white educated class has become, and how stupid and uncultured the lower classes still are—podcasts... babies... Ramen burgers... athleisure... Park Slope. Social media. The youth. May I have my money now?

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DISCUSSION

beatrixkiddo
beatrixkiddo

I was mad reading that because he was so on the verge of being right with his overall points, but he was so WRONG in the practical examples he gave. I’ve lived in both worlds, of the stereotypical lower class rural person and the stereotypical educated urbanite, and I can tell you that what poor or uneducated people resent the most is being condescended to. It’s equally paternalistic to be like “you have not lived a full life if you’ve never dined on (fill in the blank exotic food)!” OR “OMG, how insensitive of me! Of course you wouldn’t want a gourmet sandwich, let’s go to taco bell where you’ll feel more at home.” This assumes that people who haven’t had the same opportunities as you lack even the curiosity to join you in your world. If you want to do right by people who have had different experiences than you, just be humble for pete’s sake.