Sexy Feast: Pleasure’s Not the Pits at Cicchetti

cicchetti_olives_500For the first half of a two-part anniversary dinner (the second half at Sushi Kappo Tamura, already given the Sexy Feast treatment), my dining companion and I visited Cicchetti, the intimate eatery tucked behind Serafina in Eastlake. Early is the right time to go, as it affords the opportunity to get one of the view tables, and to gab before the popular place gets too loud.

“Italian tapas” is how most people describe cicchetti, and that’s good enough for me. You can easily make a meal out of several small plates of food, generally accompanied by a glass of wine. We wanted a just a few bites before sushi, so we settled upon a pizza, a pork sausage, and a plate of olives. I savored my share of the olives. And was struck by the accumulation of pits.

So what does Cicchetti’s olive offering teach us about sex?

Condoms, like olives, present dilemmas regarding the finish. What do you do when you’re done?

Some, like Miss Manners, believe olives should exit the same way that they come in. Put one in your mouth by hand (though there are actually people who believe you should eat them out of your hands, much like you’d eat an apple or a peach), then remove the pit by hand. Whether that’s an openly cupped hand or deposited into the hole created by a fist is another point of debate.

Others believe that if you bring the olive to your mouth via a utensil, you should remove the pit via the same utensil. That’s possible with a spoon, and more challenging with a fork or a toothpick.

Then there are the ones who say to discreetly (or not) spit the pit into a napkin, or even into a dish. If a pit dish is provided, which should be the case. For regardless of your removal method, once the pit is out of the mouth, where does it go? Some have slipped said pit back into the salad bowl or some other common area–which is dangerous and indeed disgusting.

What one does with used condoms raises similar questions. There are many don’ts. Don’t flush them down the toilet, unless you want potential plumbing problems. If indoors, be careful about throwing them on the ground, as the contents can stain the carpet. Outdoors, the adapted adage should be: “Give a hoot, post skin-flute, don’t pollute. Most of all, don’t expect to rinse out your condoms and reuse them. (Oh, the stories this sex educator hears.)

Best bet is to kindly excuse yourself, perhaps pull the condom gently to tie a knot and prevent spillage, place the condom in a tissue, toilet paper or paper towel, and then throw in the garbage.

Or in a specifically designed dish, half for unopened condoms, and half empty for used ones.

After all, strewn pits, like used condoms, are marked evidence of joyful, sensual pleasure. Especially if, as in the Cicchetti photo, you’re already savoring your sixth round.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on February 10, 2011.

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