By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate
In my dreams, which occur every night and even during the day while I am at work, I often picture myself as a hot-blooded Latin lover. I have hesitated to admit this publicly because I am afraid not only that Antonio Banderas will sue me, but that my wife will laugh and say, "In your dreams."
Now I know I am a regular Don Juan. That’s because I have been classified as "the universal romantic" in a recent study on Mexican food.
The study, which was conducted by my favorite mad scientist, Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, explored the relationship between Mexican food preference, personality and romantic capability.
According to the methodology, "2,621 literate, English-speaking adults in the U.S. were queried regarding basic demographic as well as Mexican food hedonics." Among the participants, 71 percent were women and 29 percent were men. Seventy-three percent were married.
The food preferences were as follows: tacos, 31 percent; quesadillas, 26 percent; burritos, 22 percent; taco salad, 9 percent; chips and salsa, 8 percent; and nachos, 4 percent.
I may not be in the most popular group, but I am in the best because burritos are my favorite Mexican food and, according to the study, people who prefer burritos are "dramatic, they love being the center of attention. Craving novelty, excitement and stimulation, they are seductive and flirtatious in romance and gregarious, witty and charming in social situations." They also are described as "the universal romantic, compatible with everyone."
"This is great news for your love life," Hirsch said when I called him to discuss the study. "You are such a romantic that your wife will never leave you."
I decided to put our compatibility to the test when I took Sue to a Mexican restaurant called Cinco de Mayo, which means either "sink full of mayonnaise" or "the fifth of May," I am not sure which because in high school and college I took ocho anos de Espanol and I still can’t hold a decent conversation.
The only phrases I know are "Cerveza fria, por favor" ("Cold beer, please") and "Donde es el bano?" ("Where is the bathroom?").
Fortunately, there was no communication problem with our waiter, Marcel Salazar, 40, a handsome charmer who was born in Acapulco, Mexico.
"What can I get for you, mi amigo?" he asked me after Sue and I had studied the menu.
"I’ll have the burrito supreme because I am the universal romantic," I said. Marcel smiled and replied, "I can tell." Then he asked Sue, "What will you have, senora?"
Sue ordered a chicken quesadilla. According to the Mexican food study, people who prefer quesadillas are "dependable and true friends" and "the rock and driving force in the relationship." As for romance, "Quesadilla lovers are most compatible with those who prefer tacos."
When I explained the Mexican food study to Marcel, he smiled at Sue and said, "I like tacos."
I thought, "Uh-oh."
Luckily for me, Marcel, a divorced father of two, has a girlfriend. Besides, he said, "I prefer fajitas," which weren’t in the food study.
I don’t know if he was looking for a big tip or what, but Marcel said he could see why I am the universal romantic. "You are very charming and easygoing and you have a good sense of humor, which women like," he said.
As for Sue, Marcel said, "She is muy bonita – very beautiful." Sue blushed.
"Food preference doesn’t really matter because you two are already compatible," Marcel said. "I can see that you are very happy together, which is muy importante."
"Si," I said.
It turned out to be a very romantic dinner. The food was delicious and the service was fabulous. The margaritas helped, too.
Unfortunately, I was a little short of cash, so Sue paid the bill and left Marcel a nice tip. But I did go outside in the rain to get the car, which I drove to the front of the restaurant so Sue wouldn’t get wet.
When it comes to love, just call me Senor Romance.
Copyright 2008 by Jerry Zezima