The Cheese Man works at the cheese counter of a well-known local specialty foods store. I first came to know of him through a friend, C. She is knowledgeable in all things food, especially cheese, so she had frequented this specialty foods store; I suppose this is how she came to know the Cheese Man. Often, our discussions of gourmet food would turn at least once to the specialty foods store, and then she would speak of the Cheese Man in her breathiest, dreamiest tones. Once, while we were out (at a farmers' market, naturally), she spotted him, and we followed him back to his place of employment like a couple of creepers; however, when he got there, she was too flustered to speak to him. I empathized, because I too get a little strange around the dreamier people I know; frankly, though, I didn't see it in him.
I have to admit at this point in the story, though, I had never seen him up close or spoken with him. This changed mid-winter, when I found myself at a free cheese-tasting he hosted. I came early, and saw a small, slender, dark-haired man I thought I had never before seen chatting with my friends. Somewhere in his late twenties, with a well-kept beard (facial hair, if you can't tell, is really half the battle for me) and an almost giddy grin, the Cheese Man came forward and introduced himself. I had to steel my will not to let my jaw drop and squeel, "You? You're the Cheese Man?" I finally understood what had turned normally friendly, socially adept C into a pool of crush-induced fear. We proceded to make a little small talk, bantering about our discomfort with veganism (of course). It was then time for the tasting; the Cheese Man told the group something interesting about each selection, giving history as well as suggestions for food and alcohol pairings. The man knows his stuff. Aglow with that feeling that only a brand-new crush can give you, and ridiculously proud of myself for being able to shoot the breeze with him like it was nothing, I went home satisfied. I was later even informed by someone in the know that he is single. Things were looking up.
However, the Cheese Man seems to have a mysterious power over the younger foodie ladies. Anytime I had a reason to go to the specialty foods store, I would reason my way out of it, secretly afraid I would make a fool of myself in front of the Cheese Man. C and I even went in to buy cheese (stalk him), and both of us found ourselves tongue-tied (even though C's cheese knowledge may rival even that of the Cheese Man himself). Damn him and his mastery of all things dairy and his winning smile and his dreamy brown eyes. It's only doing him so much good if it makes anyone who is interested in him too crushed out to speak.
Recently, I learned I will be working with the Cheese Man. Admittedly, my crush has waned a bit since winter, but I still worry about my ability to string together multiple syllables while speaking to him. We shall see; it could be an adventure.
8 years ago