Confession time: I was taught to eat pizza with a knife and fork.

Is there any way to eat popcorn gracefully? No matter what I try, the end result resembles a human trash compactor. The words nimble, delicate or elegant need not apply. It’s shovelling, pure and simple. I’ve tried picking up smaller quantities with fingertips, but possessing all the coordinator of a claw machine, that inevitably leads to fluffy kernels tumbling to the ground as my fingers clench bleakly. Even when I’m slovenly grasping a handful, it’s unlikely it’ll all end up in my gaping maw. Instead it spills down the side of my face, ending in a pool of shame somewhere around my feet. It’s a humanising experience, driving home the fact that with any act, failure is just around the corner. Risk vs reward seems to be the overriding principle of popcorn, with that satisfying infusion of buttery taste as the trade off for dignity.

Those people who can manage elegance in all things, do they slip up? Is it a facade they hold in public, then as soon as they walk in their home’s front door, collapse into a Hasselhoffian pile of drunken sloth? Or do they pull out a little knife and fork, raise that pinky and take to a pizza with small, delicate bites? When they have sex, does their hair stay immaculate? Are their no slips or ungainly thrusts? Just simpering moans or commanding (but not animalistic) grunts? None of this sweaty swamp monster shit, but a single teardrop shaped bead gently flowing from the nape of the neck down the centre of the chest, between taut abdominal muscles and dropping tantalisingly down onto their partner’s sex? Ugh, I hate these hypothetical plastic people already.

Life is messy and it weirds me out when people appear flawless. I don’t know if it’s a feeling of being intimidated, challenged or unsettled at what I perceive to be lacking in a certain human quality. Perhaps it’s a kind of internalised class warfare, casting this “perfection” in my mind as a symbol of privilege, opportunity and genes. Perhaps I’m seeing what I want to see and attempting to make myself feel less inadequate by bringing down their successes. The answer, of course, is to comfortable in my own skin and not compare myself to others. I am what I am and that’s all that I am, so why would I try to be Popeye (though I often wish I had the ability to rotate my arm like a rubber band)?

Then again, that’s not gonna help me to eat popcorn effectively, so does it really matter?

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