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redeyechicago.com

Would You Rather Give Up Sex or Cheese?

Stephen Markley

1:17 PM CDT, April 23, 2013

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I was having a beer with an old friend from college, and somehow this hypothetical question came up: if you had to give up either sex or cheese for the rest of your life, which would it be?

Now at first I thought the answer was obvious, and I kind of didn’t understand what there was to discuss, but she put on this pained expression and said, “Weeeellllll, I dunno. Close call.”

She went on to say that one of her best friends swore up and down that she’d give up sex long before she gave up cheese.

I should say first off that I’m a bit biased because my friend KDoe is an anti-cheese zealot, and his influence has rubbed off on me a bit. He never gets cheese on a sandwich because, “What does it add?” he says. “It’s just a little slice of barely flavored fat.”

Then I couldn’t help but notice that KDoe was right: we as a culture do give all this credit and slavering devotional worship to cheese, which is at best a middling addition to something else you’re eating. Whether it’s a sandwich or pizza or tacos, cheese is, at best, a role player. It’s the Sixth Man of the Year of food. You never notice this more when a restaurant displays the economic value of its cheese.

For instance, I was in Kincaid’s Monday night watching Chris Paul play the role of heartbreaker like he was Justin Bieber and the Memphis Grizzlies were Anne Frank (wow, how have I not written a column on that?), and I ordered a turkey burger. Now this was one of those nights where the turkey burger was discounted to $2 but you had to pay extra for additional toppings, the big question being, “Do you want cheese for a dollar?”

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it often the case that you find yourself paying a dollar for a slice of plasticky American cheese that costs $1.09 for a packet of fifty at the grocery store? How is cheese now a third of the cost of this meal? As if I didn’t already hear KDoe’s voice in my head every time I’m given the chance to order cheese, now you’re telling me I’m going to increase the price of this turkey burger by 50 percent just to get a slice of preservative-packed dairy product? I’m sorry, Kincaid’s, but this feels like a bridge too far. Good day.

Now there’s probably also an argument about “good cheese” lurking out there, but every time someone tells me that the reason I don’t like tomatoes is because, “Oh, you’ve just never had a good, fresh tomato” I hate them as much as I hate tomatoes. No, motherf***er, I don’t like tomatoes because they’re a disgusting bathwater-tasting vegetable, and the relative freshness, organicness, or ripeness of the bathwater flavor will not change my opinion.

The same goes for cheese. While I like cheese, I find that every time someone tries to foist a “good” cheese on me, I can’t help but notice that it remains a piece of cheese. It’s the difference between the Sixth Man of the Year and the third runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year.

So maybe you feel differently, but I guess my uneventful answer to this particular query is sex. I would definitely take sex over cheese. Sex ends in orgasms, and it feels great the whole time. Duh. I have no idea what kind of subpar sex these people are having that cheese is even in contention.