Ahhh Paris, the city of love. Or is that Amsterdam, with its Red-light district? I spent some time in Paris and there was this girl I liked. The price seemed a bit steep, but it was my first time and I wanted to try it. It was good, but over so quickly. If I am honest, that was my first time, but it doesn’t really count, does it?
Like any young adult, I was curious. I tried it a lot on my own, but it wasn’t very fulfilling that way. It’s not the same if you do it by yourself, so I don’t really classify all those fumbling attempts as my first time.
Occasionally I tried it in a group... the booze flowing, everyone laughing and reaching, hands all slimy. That too was fun, but it still didn’t seem right. Everyone else was having a great time, but something still seemed wrong to me.
The first time I did it properly was only recently. The setting made all the difference. We’d gone up-market, the furnishing were much better than usual, and the light was subdued yet flattering. My wife and I were impatient for it to begin... looking across as each other giggling and laughing.
Slowly, we shed outer layers. My wife proffering hers to my waiting mouth. I took it in - savoring it - rolling it over my tongue. I returned the favour, sporting an impish smile. She pulled back playfully but then looked at me in horror... “Yuck! That isn’t how you do do it Silly! That part of it is dirty, it is full of of shit! Disgusting! Throw that away, this is how you eat ốc!”
So finally, after many years I finally ate ốc the way it is meant to be. It tastes much better now that I know you don’t get every little bit out and stick it in your gob. A good three quarters of it is grit, shell and fecal matter that is crunchily unpleasant. And there I was thinking I didn’t have a very refined palate and I was missing something.
OK ốc is a generic catch-all term for most shellfish, and a bunch of them I had eaten long before coming to Vietnam. And the snails in France were different again. But why let facts get in the way of a good story?