Rachel
Bradley

BULGE

“I have a bulge in my pants.” I was halfway through my Sunday morning cheat meal ricotta pancake when he shared this revelation. It’s common knowledge that you never disturb a pre-contest girl during her feeding, but Dante didn’t have enough circles of hell to place this travesty: disturbing a pre-contest girl during her cheat meal. “I beg your pardon?” All things, including pants bulges, especially pants bulges, could wait until I came up for air. “No, I mean, there’s something in my pants.” Well, it was a fine time for him to have this moment of self-discovery. My first thought was that his mother should have had the talk with him, but his mom had enough voices in her head to hold an American Idol audition, a drinking problem and at least one murder under her belt by the time he was 25. What should have been the “birds and the bees” might have become “Thorzine and felonies,” so maybe it was best.
“I have a bulge in my pants.” I was halfway through my Sunday morning cheat meal ricotta pancake when he shared this revelation. It’s common knowledge that you never disturb a pre-contest girl during her feeding, but Dante didn’t have enough circles of hell to place this travesty: disturbing a pre-contest girl during her cheat meal. “I beg your pardon?” All things, including pants bulges, especially pants bulges, could wait until I came up for air. “No, I mean, there’s something in my pants.” Well, it was a fine time for him to have this moment of self-discovery. My first thought was that his mother should have had the talk with him, but his mom had enough voices in her head to hold an American Idol audition, a drinking problem and at least one murder under her belt by the time he was 25. What should have been the “birds and the bees” might have become “Thorzine and felonies,” so maybe it was best.

We were working at the Funny Bone in Columbus, Ohio, and currently eating at one of my favorite restaurants. I had dreamt of this cheat meal for weeks. At training week one, the cheat meal is a cheesecake, but by week five, becomes a ricotta pancake and egg white frittata. He of said bulge commented that I had lost my “cheat edge.” I had cooked my food, packed my cooler and checked it at the airport. I kept to my diet religiously, watching him chug cheap wine and snort cheese snacks on the plane. When I train, food stops being an indulgence and becomes fuel. I actually NEED it every 2.5-3 hours, or else I feel like I NEED to punch a baby (preferably one eating carbs) and then pass out from the overexertion. I also feel great when I eat clean, instead of the heavy, sluggish and “tap water in Juarez” I feel after eating junk.

This had been a great weekend. Since I had started training, everything in my life had improved-- most notably, my comedy. I had a clarity and energy on stage that I had never had, which may have had something to do with my trainer’s vodka prejudice. Before training, when I heard “bottoms up,” I grabbed the nearest bucket of vodka, funnel and a garden hose, but now my first thought was, “Yes! I need to boost my glutes!” I was popping plie squats while brushing my teeth and doing reverse lunges to the mailbox, Grey Goose and soda a distant, yet beautiful memory.

We had gone to Tiffany’s before breakfast. I walked in already feeling like I had stolen something. We were led into the “Platinum Room,” and I tried on my very first engagement ring. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but *girlie spoiler alert!* it was pretty spectacular. Even though said guy watched the space jump video on his iPhone the whole time, I sensed the moment was moving for him, too. And now here we were at breakfast. He stood up after declaring said “bulge,” fished around deep in his pants, and in the middle of the restaurant, triumphantly yanked the balled-up underwear from the night before out of his pants.

As the angry-looking bacon eaters at the table next to us shook their heads in disgust, he held his prize high in the air, finishing with a magician’s flourish and a loud, “Ta Da!” I sat there, looking up at the man who would do anything to make me laugh, the man I loved, the man I was going to marry, and felt complete. I finally had exactly what it felt like I had waited my whole life for. Pancakes.