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Pasta Man: A Colander of Pasta is an Invitation

Our assignment for our New Year's workshop in 1992 was to create a collage of images visualizing the upcoming year in a positive light. The seminar leader had provided piles of magazines to cut out any picture that captured our essence and what we wanted life to be. Sounds a bit far-fetched, but I was ready for something completely different back then in regards to career and dating. Most magazine ads for women presented overly happy females ecstatic about no-cling socks from the dryer, or a woman dressed in gold looking like a queen because she's wearing perfume from a golden bottle. It's not easy finding images to identify with, and then I found this photo of a guy holding a colander of cooked pasta whom I will call "Pasta Man."

Eureka! This ad for men's clothing had a blonde haired man wearing an apron. While his striped shirt and slacks didn't have a wrinkle he's crouched down holding his colander of cooked pasta as if to say, "Pasta's done. Where's the spaghetti sauce? Let's eat!" This was the kind of person I wanted to have in my life. Sure, he's good looking, but there's more. He's cheerful, participatory, and inviting.

"Pasta Man" is cooking for both of us, and by his smile he's inviting me to join him. Surely I wanted the kind of people in my life who make the party, someone who would make the dinner that we would enjoy. I kept this menswear ad for several years as I dated in the 90s. I would come home from these dates and see this image taped to my mirror. Many dates did not "feed me" except sharing a meal at a restaurant. Five years after this workshop I finally did find someone who shared my interests one of which is cooking.

In 2022 I was going through a box of my possessions when I found this image of the "Pasta Man." I recalled the early 1990s, and I thought about how my partner and I do things together including travel and cook. We share our stories and dreams. If I had told the other workshop participants back in the 1990s that I wanted a man who would "feed me" they probably would have said, "Go out to a restaurant on your date." But, it's more than that. To be participatory and inviting is important, too. Sometimes images can sum up the intangibles, and those images can be a springboard for expressing in words what we want to create in life.

© 2022 Georgiann Foley


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