Seafood and civilities, or lack thereof

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So I was invited to a seafood dinner by friends of a mutual friend. No big deal. I shouldn’t have to think too hard. Yet this invite had me debating whether or not to go. Firstly, I don’t eat live seafood, and secondly, I don’t know the host and his wife well which is a legit consideration for me. I don’t like dining with strangers.

On any other day, I would’ve declined without so much as batting an eyelid. But since our K friends would be flying off soon, I figured it’d be my last chance to catch up with them. So against my better judgement, I agreed and didn’t give it any further thought.

Came the night of the dinner. When the first course – raw oysters – arrived, I pushed my portion to the middle of the table and politely offered it to anyone who wanted a second helping.

Suddenly all eyes were on me as everyone struggled to make sense of what they’d just heard me say. Our host’s eyes were the size of aircraft carriers and his jaw positively dropped to, oh, 2,000 feet below sea level.

YOU DON’T EAT SEAFOOD?!!!!!“, he bellowed.

The look of sheer shock and horror on his face was priceless. I could totally have been this little green woman with antennae on my head the way he was staring at me. I was tempted to wink and say, you’re right, we don’t have seafood on Mars!

“No, I don’t eat live seafood,” was my reply, plain and simple.

Our host started looking desperately around the table for help dealing with this alien, the expression on his face clearly screaming, What the h*ll are you doing here? You shouldn’t even have come! Are you crazy?! When no support was forthcoming, he changed his tone and started selling it to me instead.

“Not even a bit?? You’ve never eaten seafood? Why don’t you try some? It’s VERY good!”

See here’s the thing. People either don’t listen or they don’t process information too well. I don’t know which. Instead they conjure up their own funky ideas of what they THINK you said. Now did I say I don’t eat seafood, or did I say I don’t eat live seafood? Big difference there!

Okay, 다시한번더, let’s try this one more time.

“I don’t eat live seafood.”

YOU DON’T EAT SEAFOOD??? REALLY?!!!?

Here we go again!

Seafood and civilities, or lack thereof

Okay, let’s see what happens if I explain the meaning of the word ‘live’ and while I’m at it, throw in some visuals.

“I do eat seafood. I just don’t eat the live ones swimming in those aquariums over there.”

You think I made myself clear enough this time? You think he gets the picture now?

Well, he should because in Asia, many seafood restaurants have all kinds of live fish and sea creatures lined up in rows of aquariums, all swimming happily, oblivious to the fact that a diner could walk in any time and hand them their death sentence.

They would then be hauled to the kitchen, thrashing helplessly in a net, to be tossed into pots of boiling oil or water depending on how the diner wants them done. Woah, and then they’re dead meat. On the table. Literally!

Frankly I don’t subscribe to this concept. Already there’s so much killing in the world today I think the least I can do is spare these poor harmless creatures .

Our host seemed to be enjoying the drama. He started throwing both his arms into the air and bellowing.

BUT THIS IS A SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, YOU KNOW!!!

And this isn’t Hollywood, you know! 너무 이상해요! Strange that you should mention it. Now I may not be the ex-CEO of a multinational (like you, dude) but please give me a little credit here.

Seriously, who would’ve thought? Maybe I’m too used to being around civilized company, people who would’ve flagged down a waiter right away and ordered something else for me. It’s really just plain good manners.

Which brings me to this question. How is someone’s food preference even such a big deal? True, I don’t walk around with a neon sign on my forehead advertising it. But in a world full of people who are vegetarian, gluten-free, diabetic, lactose intolerant, allergic… how is this even news?

Long story short, while our party gorged on seafood, all I had for dinner that night was a heap of vegetables and a few slices of stir-fried venison (the only non-seafood dish he had ordered, not for me, of course but simply because it’s his favorite).

Not complaining here but this goes to show our gracious hosts were only too happy to let their guest go home hungry. Epic fail *shrugs*! I didn’t go home hungry. I had dinner at home before I went to their dinner. Sixth sense perhaps. Or maybe I was half-expecting this. Still I had the last laugh *cheeky wink*.

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