Menu Please – I’ll Have What She’s Having

I have a psychological disorder. Many of my friends have speculated this for years. And in my defense they were presumptuous. I’ve checked the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” and my problem is not mentioned. It’s either not officially recognized, not taken seriously by psychiatrists or I’m the first person to exhibit symptoms and give it a name. It falls under the general category of “envy” and no it’s not for a penis. I don’t know what Freud was smoking when he thought up that idea. I’ve never wanted one of my own. A pair of Manolos or Jimmy Choos but not a penis. My problem is more troubling yet I’m too humiliated to seek counseling.

I have “order envy.” Yes it’s a real issue. I never order right in a restaurant. I look longingly at what is on everyone else’s plate and despairingly at mine. It makes me sad and costs money. My friend Betsy has a perfect record when it comes to getting the best thing on the menu. It never fails I always want what she’s having. So, why I don’t follow her lead? This question haunts me. For example she gets a fresh farm veggie omelet and do I order the same thing? No, I ask for the turkey sandwich after sweating with indecision. Out comes her fluffy yummy looking eggs and my thinly sliced fake turkey. I’m green with envy as I pick at my loser choice and fight back tears.

“What are you getting?” is my restaurant mantra. I query everyone at the table and carefully consider their answers. The pressure mounts as I insist on ordering last and the waiter is impatiently hovering over me waiting for my selection and my friends are giving me dirty looks because they’re hungry and I’m torn between Emily’s choice of curried chicken, and Les’s order of Trout. “I can’t decide!” I want to shout and seek medical attention, but don’t. Then it never fails the fatal yet predictable words come out of my mouth. “I’ll have the Salmon.”

Originally published October 15, 2012