Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Thursday, October 23, 2003 7:01 pm

Sushi, or she sues

Filed under: Weird — Lex @ 7:01 pm

Sushi is in the news this week. Rather, it shows up in two stories that are really about something else and might be far more related than just the involvement of raw fish.

First, there’s the meticulously researched sushi memo, in which a paralegal at a high-dollar Manhattan law firm prepares advice for a lawyer on where to go for good raw tuna. The lawyer apparently had ordered up the research after getting a bad order of takeout.

“This is what people fear,” said an associate at another law firm, speaking generally and anonymously out of fear of partner retribution. “It’s some sense of arbitrary, dictatorial relationship that we all fear goes on between bosses and their underlings. People really do make people do these things.”

I seriously doubt I’ll ever become a lawyer, but if I ever do and ask a paralegal — or anyone else, for that matter — to do something this ridiculous, someone please smack me.

Meanwhile, in Los Angeles (where else?), the hottest catering trend is body sushi, “a very special presentation during which pieces of sushi [are] served on the mostly naked prone* body of a very lovely young model.”

*I’m pretty sure, to judge from this picture, that the writer meant “supine,” which means face-up. “Prone” means face-down, although it’s frequently used to refer to any lying-down position. I know this because when I used to target-shoot, I shot from the “prone” position. I was not allowed, despite repeated entreaties, to shoot from the supine position, and I’m still kind of bitter about that, but that’s a post for another day.

But both the subject and the article say it’s not about sex. Really:

First of all, [chef Gary] Arabia points out that the photo does not in anyway truly capture the tenor of the event. And it’s true that even the most benign photos can take on a pornographic cast when viewed on the Internet — something about the lighting. Body sushi, Arabia says, must be considered in context. “This is a celebration of beauty and food and environment,” he says, leaning over a plate of very delicious crab cakes in his restaurant on the Warner Bros. lot in Hollywood. “It is about the beauty of the food and the beauty of the woman. This is not a bachelor party experience.”

I doubt that, but more on that in a moment.

The story doesn’t say how much the model gets paid for her 3-hour gig, but I’ve got to wonder whether it’s enough: The job seems to combine an exquisitely distasteful combination of physical discomfort and spiritual debasement in the form of public humiliation:

A sushi girl is required to lie perfectly still for three hours. There is a pillow for her head and she may speak to guests if she wishes, but mostly she has to concentrate on steady breathing and other muscle control.

Arabia stresses that in body sushi, the food is the star. But looking at the photos Arabia has in his portfolio, which are similar to the one on his Web site, it is difficult to keep one’s mind on the food. I found myself contemplating the often unpredictable nature of the human body and its many necessary but unappetizing biological duties (the “other muscle control” referred to above). Three hours seems an awfully long time to impersonate a piece of dinnerware, even with great abs. One also wonders where exactly “body sushi girl” fits in on the resume or if the full nature of the young woman’s job description has been relayed to her mother.

For crying out loud, if you’re going to take off your clothes and put food all over yourself, shouldn’t it be fun? I say let’s keep getting-nekkid-and-being-covered-in-raw-food behind the bedroom door, where it belongs.

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