What happens when basically the only thing you can agree on with someone is pizza?
If you found yourself in this situation you might not think that you would be in a serious, very long term relationship with this person, would you? That was the mess I was in up until late Spring of last year. Things were not always this way and probably at the very beginning we probably agreed on a lot more things and didn’t agree on pizza toppings. As the years went on and our relationship crumbled like bacon, pizza was our common ground.
Let’s call this one Lilith. I had racked my brain trying to think of a name that would encompass someone who is uptight, judgy, emasculating and extremely conservative so I did a Google search that literally was “the best name for an uptight person” and realized that these people are often important characters as another bro had asked the very same question in an online forum. One commenter suggested “Lilith” based on the name of the character from Cheers and Frasier and I knew that this was the perfect name for the pizza eater in question.
For the record, Lilith is a good person and I really did love her despite our differences. When I met her she was much more fun than when things ended and maybe I played a part in that. She also played a part in my low self-esteem as she spent a lot of our time together trying to change me or to make me a “better version” of myself. I always felt that she was somewhat ashamed of me and wished that I could have been me but better. She was also super religious and conservative so in the eight years we spent together we did not have sex. So just like in the last article I never got pizza from Lilith but there were some varying degrees of pizza related “appetizers” if you will which as you can imagine would lead to one very pizza-starved boy.
So now back to pizza. I mean real pizza and not the euphemism for sex that I just used a sentence ago. Pizza was basically the only thing we could agree on and even then it wasn’t perfect. We both had to sacrifice certain toppings we may have wanted on our pizza which I mean is sort of what being in a relationship is all about and also a very good analogy for our entire relationship; sacrificing things we wanted in order to share a pizza. I knew for a long time that Lilith and I were struggling and on the road to nowhere and she did too but for some reason, we never ended it. I’m talking years. I knew this for years. I mean she lived and worked six hours away from me for nearly two years and I never really missed her. Holy red flags Batman! Let’s just say that I’m not usually quick to act…
Now after that aside, let’s get back to me in the kitchen. I take pride in my cooking abilities and because I’m a bit of an underemployed deadbeat I often feel like cooking for someone is just about one of the only things I have to offer in terms of a relationship. In an effort to make time for each other I would attempt to make supper for us once a week. Yes, you read that right, a couple who have been together for nearly a decade often only saw each other once a week. I lived alone and she lived with family which meant she always felt like she needed to be home to eat with them. Things became worse when I had to move in with a roommate and he pretty much never left the house unless he was at work. I bet you are confused as to why we didn’t decide to live together? Remember how I said she was religious and conservative? Yeah…
So while trying to save my crumbling relationship that I thought I didn’t really care about I’d try to make fun and exciting new dishes and of course pizza was often on the menu. When I cook for someone I want it to be ready or almost ready by the time they arrive. This never worked as Lilith was notorious for being late so I often never knew when to start preparing the meal. This was always a source of contention for us and we’d often fight even before the pizza got in the oven. So what did a typical pizza for us look like? It probably involved bacon, tomato, red pepper, all the cheese and possibly pepperoni. She got me to come around to the pepper and I always believe that if I can sneak something onto my pizza that comes from the fruits and vegetables family I’m #winning.
One of the last pizzas I remember making for us was this recipe I came across on Buzzfeed for pizza pie. I definitely recommend trying this as it was fun to make and very tasty. This occurred one weekend night when we had designated time to see each other. We were losing things we had in common and were sort of just left with food and a television show that I’d have watched earlier in the week but rewatch with her. Again, not the stuff of fairy tales. The thing with Lilith was we were never a team. We spent so much time fighting each other that we couldn’t fight anything else as a united front. Again, I loved her; to the point that I considered ending a friendship with a good friend because he didn’t like her and was often outright rude to her.
Now Lilith was no victim. As I said I always felt emasculated by her as she would criticize just about everything I did. She would speak in this tone of what I’d liken to a Kindergarten teacher speaking to her students. For some reason, she thought she knew better and she often let me and anyone else know this which rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. When we’d fight, she would speak to me in this quiet but bitchy tone which made me get defensive and when I get defensive I raise my voice. She would proceed to tell me to stop shouting at her because people could hear which enraged me even more. You don’t get to talk in a bitchy and emasculating tone and have it be ok because you are being quiet. Apparently once at a party, I was telling a story and she proceeded to put her hand over my mouth to shut me up because I wasn’t telling the story “right”. I don’t remember this as I’m assuming I was intoxicated.
Here is where the problem with Lilith and I was. We could agree on pizza. We knew we could share a pizza and be happy but that was almost it. We were growing apart and I don’t really know when that started to happen. She was desperate to be a “grown-up” with a “real job” while I was not progressing in my career and my Peter Pan complex gave me a real fear of growing older so I was trying to live out the more fun and exciting “party phase” of life that I had sort of missed out on in my teen years. I was becoming more socially liberal and she was becoming very socially conservative. Our values were not lining up. We were stuck. We couldn’t live together because God would strike us down and I couldn’t marry someone that wouldn’t live with me or let me have anything other than pizza related appetizers in the bedroom. (That was a euphemism, I don’t like eating in bed and pizza can get messy). Ideally, I think a couple should be like JAY Z and Beyoncé, Frank and Claire Underwood from House of Cards, or Lucious and Cookie Lyon from Empire; individually very capable people but collectively an unstoppable unit that can’t be broken by any outside force. Lilith was not my Beyoncé, Claire, or Cookie. We could be broken by any outside force because we couldn’t unit ourselves.
Something had to give and finally in May of last year she ended it. Our relationship was that pizza crust that no matter how long you tried to let it bake it just would not rise. As I said, I wasn’t happy and neither was she but I never thought about what would happen if it ended. I just knew that I didn’t want to be the one to do it because I never wanted to hurt her. So she did it and in the least “nail in the coffin” type of way. She said she needed to take a break and would drop subtle hints about hiding my relationship status on Facebook “in case” things ended. Then a few weeks later I got confirmation when a mutual friend reached out to me. (More on her later). Things really were over and I was crushed. Why, though? Was I scared of being alone? Was I scared of what might happen next? Who would I make pizza for? At least cooking for someone means you can’t eat the entire pizza and that is a blessing for your belt buckle. I was also crushed by the rejection. Someone I cared deeply for no longer cared for me or wanted me in their life and there was nothing I could do to change this. I have found myself in this situation two more times after Lilith and it sucks and it’s something I can’t come to terms with which is why I hope that writing about these stories will bring some closure.
So, by June of last year, things with Lilith were pretty much over and I would go on to meet Awkward HJ (hey, he gets another mention!) that one time. About a month after that I discover that she moved on and was legitimately dating someone else. This lead to several intoxicated text messages and one very late night phone call in which I ended up bringing back the word “skank”. (Obviously, Lilith was no skank considering the things I have said about her already but boy did it feel good). I remember walking the streets into the early morning, listening to a song called “Lucifer’s Hands” where the lyrics “You no longer got a hold on me/I’m out of Lucifer’s hands/You no longer got a hold on me/You’re no longer in control of me/I am” really resonated with me. I had spent nearly two months feeling the lowest I’d ever felt in my life at that point over someone who did not care and moved on without being honest. I felt like I was Evey in V For Vendetta when she finally is released from being held hostage and feels liberated and free. I was free. No longer would I have to put hot sauce on my pizza after it baked. I could have whatever topping I wanted now and it felt so good to know that.