Ah, the predicament of pizza: so many toppings. Whether you select them individually or go with the restaurant’s recommended combinations (or, perhaps, abstain completely), it’s all about choice.
My partner and I were faced with that choice when we went to Tutta Bella recently for a quickie.
For this sex educator, it’s tempting to turn to “The Couch” episode of Seinfeld for today’s sex lesson. Kramer wants to put cucumbers on his pizza, but Poppie objects, asserting “We cannot give the people the right to choose any topping they want…now on this issue, there can be no debate.” When Kramer fights for his personal pizza-making rights (“It’s not a pizza pie until it comes out of the oven”), Poppie claims “It’s a pizza the moment you put your fists in the dough.” The scene is a brilliant peek at the politics of choice.
But I want to talk about topping talk as sex play.
Sex is like a menu, full of possibilities. You don’t have to like all the choices, but it’s great to have many available, and it’s best to know and talk about them. If you’re on your own, you can choose whatever you like. But if you’re going to share the experience, you’ll need to come to consensus on a choice that works for your entire party. Communicate and negotiate what you want–and what you don’t want. The foreplay should be fun, with lots of “Oh, that would be exciting” and “Mmm…I’ve never done that before” and “Wow, sounds juicy…let’s do it.”
As for what we did? We played around with the possibilities, and narrowed it down to something “experimental” (the Giovanni, with extra virgin olive oil, fresh mozzarella, cherry tomato halves, prosciutto di Parma, fresh arugula, and shaved parmigiano reggiano) and a more standard pleasure (the Regina Margherita, with Pomodoro San Marzano, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil). Then taking control of the situation, we asked Tutta Bella to do a split pie. After all, variety is the spice of life.
Don’t forget the “How was it for you?” afterplay. That’s how we learn and grow in a relationship. At Tutta Bella, as much as we liked experimenting with something different, we ultimately preferred the familiarity and joy of the more simple Margherita pizza. There’s no right or wrong on this. It just felt right to us, which is what matters most. And on this issue, there can be no debate.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on August 26, 2010.