J-Term Journal: Dinner with the Centerfold

timmerman journal playboy bunny
Kathryn C. Reed

What could Kim and I have in common? My bunny passed away years ago. Besides, I’m not accustomed to this type of Bunny. Kim is a Playboy Bunny, at my table on Christmas Eve as the date of my stepdad’s good friend, a hopeful Don Juan who boasts a 210 IQ, claims to be the 11th best chef in Mexico, and was a professional arm wrestler.

Quickly, this Don Juan classifies Kim as “Bunny” and me, “Harvard.” Given the expectant gaze I am receiving, “Harvard” seems to be in charge of supplying conversation.

And so I rack my brain. I nix the dead pets lede. Kim’s physical assets are also off the table—it wouldn’t take a woman’s intuition to see that Kim felt uncomfortable with her date’s detailed description of her latest photo shoot, obliging my brother when he asks for a definition of “lipstick lesbian.”

If I don’t find conversation fast... I look at Kim picking at her specially-catered salad. I look at my own prawn-topped plate—and I give thanks to Baby Jesus. I hit the jackpot—“Are you vegetarian?”

Kim beams: “Yes! But I felt healthiest when I was a fruitarian seven years ago ... I could eat nine bananas for breakfast, and ....”

I relax into my chair, skeptical of the nutritional benefits of her banana intake but relieved at the ease with which we chatted. Suddenly we aren’t “Bunny” and “Harvard.” We are just two women, swept up in fad diets, and the conversation could have lasted forever.

And the conversation does, in a way, until the end of break.

My best friend, who turned pescetarian in the fall, becomes a yoga fiend. My stepmom espouses the virtues of South Beach. My mom’s friend, Nutrisystem. My cashier at Whole Foods, organic.

What’s the source of our food fetish? The media, health concerns, vanity, insecurity—at this point, I neither know nor care.

I like Kim, and I’m glad we found conversation. But of course I had something to talk about with the Bunny—carrots.

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