John's eating habits broke me out of my picky shell and freed more than just my palate.
Food is a lot like sex that way. You should go into a relationship knowing what already turns you on, but it doesn't hurt to try something new. At the very least, the experience will make you and your partner closer. You might even find you've developed a taste for something previously unpalatable.
The lesson applied to the rest of life, too it turns out. Fear of the new and different hadn't only limited my diet. It had turned me into a curious person who never answered her own questions. I hated my job, but I was afraid to change careers. I had a bucket list of activities (stand-up comedy, skydiving, fiction writing, etc.)—and the means to pursue them—but I'd never committed to actually signing up. And deep down, though I knew that John probably wasn't the person I was supposed to be with, I was stuck in my ways. In my adult life, I'd never really been single.
John and I are no longer together, but it's not because we couldn't always eat off the same plate. We just weren't ready for a long-term relationship. He changed my life, though. And I'm not just talking about the vichysoisse with smoked trout and almonds. Post-John, I became a freelance writer. I survived stand-up comedy and skydiving, which were both frightening. And I got a good, sometimes bitter, taste of the single life.
As for John? Well, we'll always have cheeseburgers.