I’ve touched on this elsewhere, but thought I’d post on it again.
In childhood, being a picky eater is hard because even if one isn’t actively punished for not eating stuff, even if people are tolerant and accepting, one does still come away feeling….inadequate, different, bad, not understood. And even though I’d say my experiences weren’t as bad as many, I still spent a fair amount of time, both at home and at school, sitting at the table in front of a plate of food I knew I couldn’t eat if my life depended on it, long after everyone else had finished and left the table. Ironically, unlike for normal people, it made no difference to me that it had gone cold and congealed. It was inedible to start with, so it was not possible for it to be any less edible cold. I got the distinct impression that adults did not grasp this fact, but I lacked the ability to explain it to them. I wanted to be good, I wanted to be like other children, but I just couldn’t. And no-one seemed to get this either. People just think you’re stubborn, obstinate, spoiled. But you’re really not.
It’s hard as an adult to explain it to non-picky people, let alone as a child. Part of the reason it’s hard is because most other people haven’t heard of it as an actual condition – if we think we are the only one, so it seems do our families, friends and doctors. No wonder they don’t understand. No wonder we felt like freaks. No wonder most of us received zero help or understanding.
But as an adult, being picky is hard for a whole other set of reasons too. Most people have heard of pickiness in children, but never in adults. As such, pickiness is seen as….childish. It also can make you somewhat vulnerable in the context of social eating. There’s a whole set of anxieties that can surround it. None of this feels terribly….adult. It doesn’t really fit with being competent, secure, or in control, or many of the other things that we associate with adulthood.
And, as many picky guys have said, if you’re a man, it’s not just that it feels childish, but it feels unmanly too. Which must be doubly hard. So here’s a big salute to all you picky men out there. I hope this can be a place where you can support eachother. There is strength in numbers for definite.