-Or- Today, I really ended a paragraph in a business email with “…nothing ruins an afternoon like explosive diarrhea”.
-Or- You’re getting a free lunch… quit your bitching.
Okay, I’ll stop there. Here is my point, food brings people together. Big gatherings, small gatherings, almost all gatherings of people involve food in some form. I’ve written before about how I’m gluten-free; this wasn’t really by choice. The simple truth of it was that I had gas so bad and so often that I didn’t even want to be in the room with myself. (Is the magic over now?) That was just the major symptom of Celiac disease that was noticeable to people in my general vicinity, and what usually would cause me, or them, to rapidly vacate the area. “RUN! Save yourselves!” There were a host of other symptoms from eating gluten, but in the year preceding giving up delicious, forbidden gluten, we’ll just say that Mr. Muse made more than one comment about odiferous expulsions. (Women fart, okay. You’re just going to have to get over that fact.)
Going gluten-free wasn’t something I woke up one day and said, “Gosh, today I’m going to go gluten-free and eliminate all spontaneity from my life, disappoint my friends, family, coworkers and myself and never be able to indulge in normal food ever again!” No no, I carefully thought that shit out (literally… usually I read in there, but sometimes I just sit and think) because food brings people together.
Game night with friends? FOOD!
Movie night? FOOD!
Date night? FOOD!
Holiday gatherings? LOTS of FOOD!
Backyard parties? FOOD!
Birthday Party? CAKE! and FOOD!
I can’t just jump in the car with Mr. Muse and NOT think about food. Where can we stop along the route that is safe? Do I need to bring snacks along just in case (the answer to this question is always: YES!)? Attending an event; did I remember to call them and ask about the menu beforehand? And then there is the feelings of isolation and alienation when you see everyone else getting to enjoy some delicious meal or dessert and you can’t have it or they’re enjoying it, start to offer you a taste because for a moment they forgot that you were no longer normal and give you that pitying “ohhh, that’s right. You can’t have it…. gluten.”
You see where I’m going with this? So, let’s repeat: food brings people together. When there is someone who doesn’t just rock the boat but fucking flips it over, the passengers are all left bobbing in the water wondering what the hell they are going to do now.
I just so happen to have great family and friends. My mom, she makes sure that I’ve got gluten-free fare to nosh on and meals are gluten-free for everyone when we visit. My friends probably took the diagnosis harder than I did because entire menus that had been relied upon for events like our Misfit Thanksgiving had to be tweaked, adjusted or certain products replaced altogether because of my new, special diet. How awesome are my friends? They even make DESSERT gluten-free now!!
I won’t say that there wasn’t any teasing initially. The familiar foods we’d all grown to enjoy together were no longer on the menu. They had to be replaced or reworked. This rocked everyone’s world but I have fucking awesome friends who have gone to great lengths to accommodate my gluten-free status. And now, a few more have switched over for various symptoms like joint pain, and are noticing results.
Where was I going with this? Well, my job requires me to order lunches from time to time for staff or clients coming in for training and at present, we have a series of classes going on where two of the attendees requested gluten-free food. No problem! I’m gluten-free! I got ’em covered.
Accept I didn’t.
Because there was a “Gluten Bully”.
The Bully bitched about the “healthy, gluten-free food” that was ordered and essentially, said they wanted junk food. So the gluten-free folks said, “Oh, don’t worry about us… we’ll just eat whatever is ordered.”
What?! Oh HELL no. There will be no fucking Gluten Bullying going on during my watch.
So, I sent a response about how lunches for the upcoming training were already orders, budget parameters, the need for delivery, the numerous requests prior to training for “healthy options” and that two attendees were gluten-free and was that a problem. I then explained that due to the number of people attending and the quantity of lunches that needed to be ordered, we had to give at least 3 days notice and the need to order “safe options” for the gluten-free folks was important as “nothing ruins an afternoon like explosive diarrhea”.
Then I told them that they’ll get the same lunches for the remaining trainings to simplify matters…. and that I was still ordering lunches for the gluten-free people because it is important to make them feel included.
Because food brings people together.
Don’t think Food Intolerance/Allergy Bullying is a “thing”? Oh, it is so a thing…
Look here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. (There are a lot more. Search for “food allergy bullying” or “gluten bullying” or “celiac bullying”.)
Yeah, it’s a thing.