OK, on the face of it, it does seem unlikely that I am pregnant, being a man and all, but over the years so many people have asked me when the baby is due while pointing at my pot belly a chap could be forgiven being a little confused. That is not however the reason I ask the question “am I actually pregnant?” today. On no! I have a far stranger reason
I awoke this morning from a dream about programming, to find myself craving baked beans. Now nothing unusual about that I guess for many people — but I loathe and detest baked beans. I’m not allergic to them or anything, and I can eat them without vomiting unlike Lisa, for whom the mere sight of them makes her green; no I just can’t stand them.
I can eat a spoonful without gagging, and don’t mind them on my plate as long as I’m not expected to eat them, but really, if carrots are Satan’s favourite vegetable, then baked beans are the droppings of Satan’s Bunny Horde, a host of hopping demons who do nothing but poop this vile orange stodge on to people’s plates.
I recall with grim horror the Bean Wars of the 90’s, when the price of a big can of baked beans was between 2p and 4p most of the time, till one supermarket just gave them away, I tried, inspired by miserable poverty, to eat them. Now it seems that the Bean Wars of ’96 have been judged as less culturally significant the Battle of the Beanfield — no one sings about when Tesco beans were tuppence a can, not even The Levellers – but the Bean Wars had victims too. Maybe a million people consumed way too much sodium (one can is 44% of your RDA for the ones I bought today), thousands were gassed in a terrible epidemic of flatulence, and huge numbers of children traumatized by this foul orange gloop. I don’t know how the price war ended – the Bean Wars just suddenly faded away? Perhaps when Frank Dorell became minister for Health he ended the war, issuing gas marks to civilians who had to travel by tube, encouraging a Blitz spirit, and encasing millions of cans of the horrid stuff in concrete and burying it with nuclear waste?
Anyway in 1996 I was poor, and tried to live off beans. I lasted one meal. Happy to watch you eat them, but no way I am going to. ..
So when I woke up today fighting an urge to eat baked beans I was baffled, but sure it would go away. It didn’t. It grew stronger, and stronger. My body craved baked beans. Nothing else would do. It was like giving up caffeine or nicotine, I began to feel physically unwell, so strong was the craving. I needed baked beans. In fact I was unable to concentrate, as images of baked beans stewed with cabbage and peas began to haunt me. I wanted beans…
Now there is actually one type of bean that I am allergic to. I’m not going to name it, as I don;t want to make potential assassins job easier. I also have a very mild reaction to sweetcorn, and can’t eat that. I detest broad beans as well. Even stranger, I have a strong psychological aversion to the colour orange, which actually seems to provoke mild anxiety in me. Yes, OK, I’m a freak. Yet know I was obsessed with eating baked beans.
Everyone I asked said the same thing “are you pregnant?” I had heard of women who are experiencing strange and strong cravings for odd foodstuffs – never actually witnessed it myself, but so strong was the baked bean desire I actually stopped to wonder if the Testes Fairy had visited me in the night, waved her wand and changed my sex. I still seem to be male, and I don’t have any reason to think I might be pregnant, so I’m wondering if there are other reasons for such a peculiar craving? Was I really short on salt or sugar or something? Did my body need tartrazine or whatever E number dyes them that ghastly bright orange colour?
Anyway I finally succumbed, and bought a can of them, and consumed it with relish – well actually without relish, I did not fancy adding more tomato sauce – but with apparent enthusiasm. So yes I actually ate a whole can of baked beans for lunch, and I’m still alive, and did not vomit, and the craving seems to have gone for now. What I fear however is that they might be addictive? Even psychological dependency would be too much. I can imagine a life wandering the streets begging for coins to indulge in a bean habit, and it is not a happy picture. I ate them, devoured them even, and hopefully now I can keep them down and not regurgitate them over myself, but this is all very very puzzling.
Oh well, at least I’m not pregnant.