I’ve dated my fair share of No Good, Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Hipsters. And despite the hard work I’ve done to outgrow the preference (thank you, therapy), I’ll never be entirely impervious to the charms of a smooth stranger who ends up treating me poorly.
I learned that humbling lesson thanks to my brief relationship with Boar’s Head Apple Pie Dessert Hummus.
When I first saw this product on the shelf at my local C-Town, I did a meet-cute-style double-take at the picture of a huge piece of apple pie posing seductively on the lid. Someone had taken a bite out of the crust, leaving its fruity innards luridly exposed and glistening. Swoon!
Unbidden, I pictured the two of us sprawled on a picnic blanket on a warm July 4th evening. “I never thought I could get 25 percent of my daily protein from a pie-based snack,” I’d murmur to the dessert hummus in a satisfied stupor as fireworks exploded above us.
I failed to notice that there were no artistic representations of hummus or any of its traditional ingredients on the packaging—a successful gambit by the manufacturer to prevent me from thinking too hard about the terrifying chimera of a chickpea apple pie.
Woefully blind to the red flags and swept up in the sweet of the moment, I took Apple Pie Dessert Hummus home. That’s when we started to really get to know each other.
The first bite was cloyingly saccharine with an acerbic undertone; a man whose Tinder profile picture shows him at a women’s march, but within a few months of dating starts subtly demeaning your career ambitions.
On the finish, there was, perversely, an essence of mint, which provided the mouthfeel of sucking on half a Tic Tac after vomiting up the PBRs you drank to prove to a thirty-seven-year-old DJ that you, too, prefer the romance of an all-night happy hour at a dive bar instead of dinner and a movie.
The spread was, as the saying goes, a bean in pie’s clothing.
I felt betrayed. I had been catfished by an impulse purchase in the deli aisle! It dawned on me that I hadn’t even checked the ingredients before I dove in. Classic.
It turned out that this ersatz dessert contained neither apples nor pie crust, but instead “Apple Pie Seasoning,” a blend as darkly mysterious as a guy who’s left you unread for months yet watches every single one of your Instagram stories. According to the label, the seasoning consisted of “spices” (which ones, we’ll never know) and something ominously called Natural Green Apple Type Flavor.
What did it say about me that this was the type I gravitated toward? Was I settling for an artificial, sour poseur because I wasn’t ready for the real thing? My therapist had encouraged me to explore questions like these regarding my “problematic relational patterns,” which is shrink-speak for “you keep dating assholes.”
The most disturbing aspect of my experience with Apple Pie Dessert Hummus was that I kept taking micro-licks of it, despite a mounting feeling of disgust. I felt like if I could just wrap my mind around what I was tasting, that might improve the experience of eating it—or at least give me closure.
Freud referred to this as repetition compulsion: an unconscious wish to master a painful event by recreating it until you achieve your desired outcome.
But after sampling about half of the tub’s contents, I had to face the fact that the hummus tasted like a green Jolly Rancher dredged in cat litter. The foundation of this relationship was rotten to its Green Apple Type Flavor core.
It was time to walk away.
No more falling for false advertising. No more clinging to a type that made me miserable. Certain things, like my ephemeral romances with guys who thought owning a vinyl collection was an acceptable stand-in for having a personality, were not meant to be. Likewise, it was never going to work out between my sweet tooth and a garbanzo-ed simulacrum of dessert.
I’m pleased to report that my toxic tryst with Boar’s Head Apple Pie Dessert Hummus drove me straight into the arms of my new type—someone sweet and dependable, if perhaps a bit mushy: an actual apple pie.