Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fois Gras, Champagne, and Awkward Facial Hair in Lyon

I recently went to a fois gras and champagne exhibition, because the invite contained the magic word: gratuit. Libre means “free” like being free from one’s chains, but not all of the liberté, égalité, or fraternité in the world can compare to gratuit, because that means “free” as in “does not cost any money.” I’m there! As soon as I walked in, I knew I had made the right decision. There were about 50 booths all selling cheese, fois gras, pesto, wines, and champagnes with which I could drink my duck-induced guilt away. (Fois gras, or duck liver, is the most inhumane and evil of meat products. But damn, is it delicious.) I soon developed a pattern: drink a little, eat a little, drink a little, eat a little. Repeat until you burst of happiness. Or fullness. Whichever comes first.
If fois gras had a "before" picture, this would be it. The "after" picture would be a jar.
My favorite booth was towards the end of the exhibition (my judgment at that point may have been a little buzzed/biased), and it was run by a large, jolly, red-cheeked man with a RIDICULOUS Mario or Luigi meets Salvador Dali mustache. It was thick like Mario’s ‘stache, but curled upwards obscenely into a spiral, like Salvador Dali, or a cartoon villain. He was a very nice man, but with facial hair choices like that, it was hard to take him seriously. In fact, it was hard to listen to him at all because I was so preoccupied trying not to stare at it, worrying that I was staring at it, and checking to make sure that I wasn’t. It was like the elephant in the room, but this time the room was only my brain.
          No one else seemed to have a problem with it, and I bet he certainly enjoyed it. But I almost felt like it needed to be brought up, because to ignore it would be ridiculous. It would be as if I were talking to someone, and they were naked, or wearing a three foot tall hat. That sort of thing definitely merits a response, right? As if they’re expecting your remarks, and if you don’t give them, you’re obviously ignoring it on purpose. Somehow, I managed not to say anything through four different champagne samples, and I really did enjoy my conversation with that man, despite his outlandish facial hair.

"Excuse me, sir, but I couldn't help but notice that your face looks INSANE."
        The more I drank, the more uninhibited I was, and the more comfortable I was speaking French. By the time I got to Mustache Man, I was a regular social butterfly. Every time I have a good conversation entirely in French it feels so rewarding, and I feel so proud of myself, and so accomplished. If I hadn’t been full of fois gras, I could have stuffed myself on my own bloated ego. But I bet it wouldn't have tasted as good.

1 comment:

  1. So... would you be adverse to me growing out my mustache then?

    and I love the sad duck. Too bad we ate him over Christmas break. le nom-quack.