Sandwich #131–“The Sexy Back Project” Sweet and Sour Sloppy Joes

DSC_0811 Maybe I’ve been spending too much time in the kitchen. Maybe I’ve spent too much time taking care of others and not myself. But despite dating a tall attractive man who loves me, I didn’t feel…sexy.

I’d lost that desire to wear heels and put on cute, form fitting dresses and style my hair, even to have dinner out with my darling E. I’ve taken to wearing what’s comfortable and throwing my hair in a bun if that’s what gets me to work/a wedding/drinks out with friends faster and easier. What I wear to bed is even worse. Ratty t-shirts, oversized grey sweatpants, and a set of red cotton PJs that E calls the “red flannel suit.” Not exactly Victoria’s Secret. More like Santa Claus’ Secret.

Poor E. Who’d want to get naked with someone wearing that?

This needed to change. I needed to get my sexy back.

First step: pole dancing class.

My friend, J, who happens to be quite sexy in my opinion, thought pole dancing would help me loosen up and express my more seductive self. I’m all for trying new things, so I agreed to meet her at the studio in Midtown over the weekend where we’d learn to, among other things, “climb and swing” around a pole. I thought the class would be taught by strippers and populated with housewives with the same “sexy back” goals as mine. I watched the other students lined up before class begun. None of them looked like strippers or overtly sexy. The instructors were all professional dancers, and the other women could have easily been my sorority sisters. I should have fit right in.

Instead, I am probably the only fool that cried after pole dancing class.

As I looked in the mirror at myself compared to the better coordinated and more alluring students in class, It was pretty clear that I had as much sex appeal as a rhinoceros. I felt uncoordinated, awkward, stiff and decidedly not sexy. This scared me. Does E think I’m not sexy? Was he not attracted to me? Would he start looking at other women? Will he dump me for my even sexier yoga slash pole dancing instructor?!?! Cue the tears!

I looked at my friend J. She was wearing gold heels, a low-cut bright colored tank top and short hot pink shorts that showed off her legs. She wasn’t that much better at pole dancing than I was, but she at least looked the part. I was wearing conservative black shorts, with a basic t-shirt that covered up everything from my neck down. My outfit, coupled with my poor dance skills, made me look like a schoolmarm.

This was a wake up call. After class, I launched the “sexy back” project, taking on tasks to make me feel sexy.

I vowed to only wear clothes that made me feel pretty—that included sleepwear, which would only be made of silk and lace from now on. I would get weekly manicures and pedicures. I would do my hair every day and not just throw it up haphazardly into a bun (unless that bun is groomed as part of a sexy librarian type look). I would make more time to seduce my boyfriend, even if that meant kissing him a hundred times a day. Hell, I might even make sandwiches for E naked. Or, at least, wear something while I cook that would want him to get me naked.

That night, I made sweet and sour sloppy joes for dinner. I was craving beef, plus the recipe from Real Simple gave the meat a spicy tang, just like what I was searching for in myself. Before I hit the kitchen, I got myself glammed up. I put on a cute outfit—shorts and a low cut top— and enough makeup to look as if I were going on a date. I set the table with wine and candles before we sat down. And afterwards, I told E to draw a bath while I did the dishes, and we cuddled in a soapy tub before we tucked into bed and….. didn’t sleep (see? This project is working out well so far!)

When we finally did sleep, I put on a black silk nighty instead of the “red flannel suit.”

In all, I felt more confident in my womanhood. E agreed. “I always thought you were beautiful, babe,” he said. “But you’re sexy when you’re confident in yourself.”

J asked me via text the next day: “Would you come back to pole dancing class again?”

“Yes,” I said, and signed up for six more classes. Because there’s no crying in pole dancing.

“THE SEXY BACK PROJECT” SWEET AND SOUR SLOPPY JOES
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1 squeeze lemon wedge
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
1/2 red cabbage, sliced thinly
2 carrots, grated or shredded
1/2 cup cilantro
juice of 4 lime wedges, squeezed
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large non-stick pan, add a tablespoon of olive or canola oil, ginger and scallions. Soften up the veggies for about 2-4 minutes on medium heat. Then add the beef. Stir meat and break apart with a wooden spoon and brown until thoroughly cooked for about 4 minutes. Next add the soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Add the water and let simmer for another 3-4 minutes. Add chili flakes, and a squeeze of a lime wedge towards end of cooking.

Brown buns. Remove from oven and place on plate. Scoop meat onto buns.

To make salad, combine cabbage, carrots, cilantro, sesame oil and the other tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl and mix. Squeeze lime wedges on top to add juice, stir a bit more, then serve.

Adapted from this goodness.

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