As of today you can discover my deepest, darkest feelings toward figs in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s column in City Paper. Specifically that “Biting into one almost feels like too intimate an act to do in public.” Unfortunately, this was not an exaggeration. Despite my love of figs (I get gleeful when I see figs show up at local farm stands or in grocery stores), the texture really does have an uncomfortable resemblance to genitalia.
As a mostly midwesterner, I have a certain reluctance to make the private public. Though figs aren’t a popular aphrodisiac in the twenty-first century, their curvaceous shape and soft juicy interior have given it a historic place in the bedroom. Even D.H. Lawrence was inspired enough by figs to write a (not great) poem, titled simply, “Figs” that’s an ode of sorts to the lascivious qualities of this fruit. I may not be the only one to have made this particular comparison but I still wish figs would take a minute to tone it down.
While there are clear ties between figs and a lady’s unmentionables or bananas and phalluses, the food you find overwhelmingly sensual will often elicit blank stares from those around you. Rachel quotes a woman in her piece who gushes about the arousal a banana can cause. Though bananas (like hot dogs, bratwurst, popsicles, sausages, and anything else with a similar shape) certainly elicited some snickers on the playground growing up, a banana to me is just a fruit. Nothing more.
I love an oyster happy hour as much as the next gal but have never felt any of their purported aphrodisiac effects. Pomegranates are just difficult to eat. Nothing about combining chili peppers and sex seems like a good idea to me. Chocolate which has made an appearance in every rom-com of the last 50 years* (*not vetted for accuracy) reminds me of the Cathy comics and Ben & Jerry’s-fed breakups before it makes me think of romance.
For each of these foods you can find some loose scientific backing for why they might be helpful in the bedroom. But that only makes it all the more confusing when they bomb. So are sexy foods sexy because of something happening in our bodies or in our minds?
Personally I’d go with the latter. Yet what that says about me only Freud knows.