The Erotics of Mayonnaise–for JAH and JMW
If I fear mayonnaise, does that mean it holds power over me? The sandwiches I have skipped because of it, potato salads leaving white pools on a plate, not unlike vaginal secretions or cum. From Spain where it was first produced, to France where it was popularized, to Philadelphia where it was jarred in glass, mayonnaise has made its culinary mark—sometimes as an obvious dollop, other times wearing a disguise in southern “buttermilk” cakes and white barbeque. And what about mayo as a conditioning shampoo? A facial mask? A household cleaner to remove crayon scribbles from the floor? An emollient to make plant leaves and piano keys shine? O mayonnaise, your diversity deserves an ode, yet all my gastronomic dislikes trace back to your jiggling gooeyness–oozing Ranch and Thousand Island dressings, dreaded lumpy tartar sauce. When my cosmopolitan friend dips her fry into a mound of you, I can’t help it, I am repulsed. She suggests that I slather myself in your slime to see if I am simply repressed. Is my fear of mayonnaise a fear of something else? Or is saying “I’m afraid I to die,” the same as saying “I want to live?” I learn my fear of mayonnaise is really a plea. Mustard, come here. Hold me.
Denise Duhamel is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, including: Ka-Ching! (University of Pittsburgh, 2009), Two and Two (2005), and Mille et un sentiments (Firewheel Editions, 2005). Her other books currently in print are Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (University of Pittsburgh, 2001), The Star-Spangled Banner, winner of the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize (1999); Kinky (1997); Girl Soldier (1996); and How the Sky Fell (1996). Duhamel has also collaborated with Maureen Seaton on three volumes: Little Novels (Pearl Editions, 2002), Oyl (2000), and Exquisite Politics(Tia Chucha Press, 1997).