Almost everyone has had a moment of truth, when your world has just gone through a major over- haul. For most of us, it starts early in childhood, when we all suddenly discover the real deal behind the miracle of Chanukah or that Santa couldn't possibly squeeze through the chimney.
As we age, the realizations involve very different subject matters, thanks to locker room talk or sleepover gossip (I didn't know you could do that with your mouth!), but they still leave lasting impressions on our minds. I hit a bit of a milestone myself, thanks to a scene in a movie (no, not that kind of movie).
Let's see how your own knowledge stacks up and play a quick round of "guess that movie."
The advice in a scene during the film was, in somewhat paraphrased form: "And remember, eat only fruit for the three days before your date. It'll make your skin taste sweet."
Does this ring a bell? The movie was a defining piece of cinema for our generation (scary): Clueless.
Awhile ago, I was watching this classic with some friends and, when the character Amber spoke that line, someone made a comment that the movie's content was surprisingly mature, considering its target audience. The advice, not the Lisa Frank Trapper-Keeper-toting audience, seemed that weird to me. Needless to say, I got a lot of incredulous looks from my friends.
More Educated Friend: You don't know what they're talking about?
Me: No. I eat a lot of fruit and I bite my nails. Her advice doesn't really work, but who cares?
MEF: They're not actually talking about the taste of your skin.
Me [looking confused]: Wait, what other taste is... Oh! [Actually see the light bulb go off over my head] I get it.
Not particularly my most astute moment, but at some point, we were all that dense.
Taste is something everyone worries about at some time or another. Some unfortunate people have that one story about the time they were getting up close and personal with someone and then almost gagged, actually did gag or worse -- try talking your way out of that one.
There are a good number of girls who are missing out on one of the more fun grown-up recreational activities because they won't even let a guy try and impersonate Stalin for fear of their "taste." (For those who missed world history, go Google a picture of Stalin. Look above his lip.)
Right now, there's little scientific evidence on this subject, one way or the other (Provost research grant idea, anyone?), but there's a growing body of anecdotal evidence gathered by intrepid college students.
For instance, there's a reason I don't like to hook-up with smokers. First, you smell bad. Secondly, yes, more often than not, smokers taste bad in more ways than one to a non-smoker. Obviously this is dictated by how bodies process what's ingested, but generally the more someone smokes the stronger their "taste."
Another culprit is asparagus, which ranks up there as a number-one evening killer.
The less usual suspects include beer, red meat, dairy and animal products, and really any food you would be worried about giving you bad breath (think curries, garlic, etc.).
Unfortunately I just described the average college student's diet. Before giving up, it's about quantity and timing as much as it is about the food you eat. We're talking about changes that take place in hours not days (contrary to our Clueless education), so this is not an overwhelming lifestyle choice.
What can you do if you're really worried? (We'll get into the irrationality of this fear another time -- more or less, it shouldn't matter, and good foreplay should take care of everything anyway for girls.)
Basically, eat a healthy diet complete with lots of fruits and veggies. Word on the street is that watery veggies like parsley or lettuce do the trick pretty well. Also, whole grains have a good reputation. So find yourself a nice vegan and go to town.
Besides taking on healthier eating habits, there's a better way to dealing with the "what if..." scenario: Don't complain, but don't suffer. If you're worried the girl you're about to go down on might not get a five star rating, suggest a shower. Jump in, lather up -- lend a wandering hand.
Just remember to wash off all the soap. After doing this, you can feel pretty safe letting your mouth go anywhere it pleases. A shower is always a fun (and ego-saving) way of saying "eat more fruit."
For girls, subtly attempting to improve your partner's taste is a bit more difficult to achieve. Showers won't really do much to help your situation. I won't try and convince anyone that his protein drink tastes like honey, but if that's what you're looking for, hit a supermarket.
Having hardly any taste is the ideal, but that's not always easily attainable. Sex and all things associated are messy and never perfect (that's kind of why they're fun), and when it comes down to it, you're not there for the taste.
Unfortunately for the guys, you will need to make some of the recommended diet changes if you've received complaints. Or, if worse comes to worse, you could (gasp) use a condom for oral sex. Then the choice isn't a matter of head versus beer -- instead it's between latex and cum, and that's a personal decision.
If you're on a low-carb diet, all of this might not be the best news in the world (serves Atkins right), but just be thankful we're not dealing with Amber's three day rule.
If you're one of those people who's really worried, just cut a few beers out or skip the dinner date to Ruth's Chris. As for the rest of your worrying, don't stress. Most people are just happy to serve, steak dinner or not.