This article was originally published in Frankie Magazine #20. It was in response to the man myth – the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

This saying was first coined by the United States Chief Medical Surgeon Ernie Monbulk in Connecticut in 1943. At the time he was giving a lecture to a group of medical interns, in a stifling lecture theatre during an intense heat wave. What he actually meant to say was ‘the way to a man’s heart is through the pulmonic valve,’ however, it was such a hot day! His mind got to drifting, and, as documented in his 1963 memoir ‘The forty year old surgeon,’ at the time of his infamous blunder he was actually thinking about the mermaid cake his dear mother made him for his eleventh birthday. Except, in his adult memory, he couldn’t help but focus on the well endowed chest his mother had sculpted. Oh how hungry he was! What he would have now given to nibble at that pale pink frosting. A powerful man was overcome that day by the curvy mistress of cake.

As we all know, men are wispy, flakey sea captains, destined to be ruled by the tides of their metabolism on the good ship SS blood-sugar. Ahar, after a solid meal there’s wind in the sails and a clear sky ahead – anything’s possible – the stomach juices rise and fall with wistful abandon, a man stands tall – proud – he is a man of activity! Of fair spirit! Of salty confidence. However, on the horizon lurks the pirates of hunger, smudging up the sun and leading his manships astray to shallow, barren shores. Once emptied of his lunchy riches, the revered boy admiral is driven to madness, ordering his most cherished crew to walk the plank, before flailing about in a vacuous rage of astronomical self-pity.

Now, is to say that men fall apart when they haven’t eaten fair, or is it more accurate to suggest that ‘everyone’ falls apart? Asking around, I note that it is generally regarded as a man thing to get clinically cranky when famished. Perhaps this has less to do with genetics and reflects more on sir’s general inability to deftly process untoward emotions. Perhaps the action of a man saying: ‘I really need to eat now or I’m going to lose my freaking melon,’ is his way of saying: ‘I am vulnerable, uncomfortable and I need to remind you at this time that I require care, despite my rugged exterior and appreciation of Transformers.’

In one of my recent groundbreaking studies, I took all the Justin Heazlewood’s in Melbourne and conducted a simple experiment. I sent them on two dates, one, with a gorgeous record store girl with a great sense of humour who’s signature dish was ‘savlova’ (a meat based dessert). The other was with a plain, real estate secretary who served up a casual menu of pumpkin soup, roast lamb with all the trimmings, followed by apple crumble and ice cream.

I found the results startling. The subject, while clearly having a better time with the indie girl, called the date short, and left soon after dinner. And while conversation was stagnant with the secretary, Justin stayed the night! Sure, the secretary was his flat mate and the indie girl asked him to leave after a lewd incident, but I think the results are obvious.

To suggest that menfolk, as complex and sensitive as we are, can be wooed by pie is utterly offensive and possibly true. We are driven by earthy passion and daring intellect, and the way to our hearts is through love, understanding, and a special kind of food you can’t buy at the supermarket. As Ernie Monbulk said, ‘the way to a man’s brain is through his innuendo.’