Hunger Games

I’ve got another 22 days until I can eat pasta, and I’m looking forward to it in a deeply, serious way. Until then I’ll only be ingesting meat, vegetables, some fruits, and some nuts. It sounds simple, but this is America. And in America, we serve almost every meal with rice or bread or a noodle of some sort. I began this diet of sorts as part of a month-long initiative to combine faith with fasting through our Church, but it turns out that the diet—though I want to be clear that this is not a wedding diet nor an I-Got-Fat-After-I-Came-Back-From-The-Bahamas diet, but is instead a choice I’m making as a Believer—is based on a real ‘diet’.

The Paleo Diet is centered around the idea that ancient hunters (ie cavemen!) were too busy and too unsophisticated to grow grain. Therefore, things like bread and rice and pasta weren’t part of their diet. They were healthier than we are now because they didn’t include sugar in their meals, or milk cows, or include any dairy in their food. They focused on hunting big game, grabbing a few leaves off of the ground, and drinking water. I learned all of this on my way back from the film shoot in the car ride home with some of the crew members. Guys who know how to fix things with duct tape know a whole lot about many other subjects too.

Brandon can fix things too and he’s extremely smart, but absolutely clueless when it comes to wedding planning. He can’t fathom why I need a long list of to-do’s. Or the idea of having more than a couple of bridesmaids. I mistakenly thought that sharing the people I chose would be a great way to trick him into making a final decision on his groomsmen, but it backfired. Upon hearing that the list had more than ten people, he sat his McDonald’ coffee cup down on the table and said, “No”. I started listing the reasons why each was important to me, but he wasn’t having it. I pleaded and told him it would be like a village of women welcoming him into a sacred club, and he told me to get on the phone and start uninviting them. Thankfully, I had only asked two up to that point, but I felt like I was stuck. I didn’t want to start out my marriage by directly disobeying him, so I did what I do best—I acted in the most dramatic fashion that I could to make him change his mind.

“But what will I say? Huh?! What do you want me to do? I need all of them! Ok. OK. Fine. FINE. I’ll just—I’ll just have a “HUNGER GAMES” COMPETITION AND LET THEM RUN THROUGH A FOREST and whoever wins can be in the wedding. Is that what you want? Huh? You happy?”

Brandon didn’t even look up. I kept going with the ‘Hunger Games’ reference, throwing in a nod to the character *Katniss and that dude that Lenny Kravitz plays as I walked between rooms, but he never answered me back. When the Miami Heat is on television, I don’t think he hears a word I say.

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Later that week I picked up my purse, my modern-day version of the bow and arrow, and ran to press the elevator button as quickly as I could. I had less than twenty to minutes to make it uptown to the bridal boutique I had previously made reservations with on a Friday night. Steve came through the loud lobby door, and suggested we take the stairs nine flights down if I was really in a hurry. When I reached the street, I kept up the jogging until I was in the subway, back out again, and to the door of the boutique. From outside I could see a girl standing inside who I hoped wouldn’t be helping me. She looked miserable, but quickly smiled when the dainty bell hooked to the door rang as I opened it. After greeting me, seating me, and then handing me a stack of papers, she retreated back to her post in the back of the store. It was quiet, save for my heavy breathing as I stripped my coat and scarf off. Only an occasional giggle rose louder than the soft music playing above my head.

A young black woman came out from the back of the boutique and put one of her arms half-way around me. She was in the middle of asking me what kind of dress I wanted, when she stopped and looked behind me. She was obviously looking for the women that you see in the movies. There was no one. The opinionated mother, the drunk best friend, and the catty friends weren’t there. It was just me. She asked me why I had come alone. and I brushed it off  by pointing at a dress that was ugly. “What I don’t want, is that,” I said before we continued moving down aisles. I liked her immediately, and she liked me too. She was flabbergasted that I hadn’t come in to shop, but to demand that they produce the dress of my dreams in a single shot. I gave her a clear description of what I wanted, but she kept suggesting we try various options. I refused, so we finally walked to the back of the boutique arm-in-arm with only one option slung over her shoulder.

I didn’t realize that the person helping you try on a dress actually comes into the fitting room so I had to apologize for unpolished toenails, unshaved legs, and damp skin that was still cooling from the jog. She genuinely didn’t seem to mind, and we had a great time laughing as I stripped down to a thong. We talked about the type of wedding I was going to have, my fiancé, our vow to remain celibate until the wedding night, and my parents. Upon hearing about them, she again asked why I was shopping for my wedding dress completely alone. “Who says I’m shopping? Maybe I just came in to try on dresses and waste your time,” I joked. “No,” she said, “you really know what you want. You’re the first bride I ever met like that. So decisive. Like a…,” she said before trailing off. I think she wanted to say “like a man“. That would have been fine by me. Decisive and independent caveman Jasmine. That’s me all day.

To be continued…

*Author’s note: I have no idea what the “Hunger Games” is. I mean, I know, but I’ve never read the books or seen the movie. Everything I know I learned from my roommate who is borderline obsessed. Feel free to send me emails about it at, or better yet, let me borrow the book. I think I’ve been banned from the Brooklyn library. Thanks!




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