Friday, January 11, 2013

Road Babe Dispatch From Loveless Cafe

“My weaknesses have always been food and men ... in that order.”

- Dolly Parton

Can I get an Amen? As a female in my twenties, I can attest to sharing in those same struggles. I will also tell you that I am newly single. A friend once told me that whenever her relationships end, regardless of the who and the what and the why, she always celebrates the ending to its fullest potential.

“You’ve got to do it up big, even if your heart isn’t actually broken. Maybe you’re just kind of bummed, but you don’t get a lot of heartbreaks in life, so you need to make sure you don’t miss the lessons. I do this by acting like the world has ended. I listen to Heartbreak Express by Dolly Parton then cry as hard as I can and as much as I want. After a while, I wake up and realize that the world hasn’t actually ended, so I move on.”

She is brilliant. I can earnestly assure you that there is no infallible remedy for post-break-up blues. However, I can also assure you that nothing can console a girl quite like eating her feelings. By golly, if I’m going to have an empty heart, at least grant me the indulgence of a full belly. So I got in my car, drove myself down Highway 100, until I found myself at the Loveless Café. How apropos.

The South is wonderfully romantic with its firefly-lit nights and open country roads, but if you’re ever in need of comfort, no place offers comfort quite like the South. I’m talking about food here.

The Loveless Café is right outside Nashville Tennessee. Its traditional-country-diner feel includes checkered picnic cloths draped over the tables, pies on display at the entrance, and country music legends crooning softly in the background. If you're brokenhearted, then you're in luck. The welcome is like walking into your mama's kitchen when you're weak and weary in need of some lovin’. In other words, just perfect.

I came with a familial posse - my brother, sister and friend Taylor. You see, the trick to overcoming a rough patch is to surround yourself with people who are totally biased toward you, but also not afraid to look you in the eye and say, “Yes, your jeans seem a little snug these days.” This is the ideal combination of love and honesty.

We sat down and our coffees arrived (as did my 30-year-old brother’s chocolate milk in a mason jar), then the biscuits began. Here at ground zero for Connie Fay’s legendary biscuit recipe, you can expect to be greeted with a heaping plate of warm biscuits accompanied by jams and butter. My brother remarked on the fluffy buttery quality of the biscuits, fondly adding that those were qualities also embodied by many of his ex-lovers.

And there it is. The transition into tales of lost love, smack dab in the middle of the Loveless Café. Being a veteran survivor of both sides of the relationship battle, I can attest that break ups are a very uncomfortable experience regardless of the instigator. There is always an element of sorrow when something that was once good goes sour. Still, we were in the right place at the right time.

Our food arrived. Four filled-to-the-rim plates were put around us like a warm blanket. There was an armada of egg dishes, fried potatoes, country gravy and greasy salted meats - all perfectly cooked to ease our minds and soothe our bodies. With each bite of cheese-smothered eggs, I felt myself relaxing, slipping into a comfort food stupor. I wasn't the only one.

A painted Dolly Parton hung over us, to guide our conversation. Every delicious bite inspired more tales of past lovers. The forgettable ones, the ones that you wished you could forget, and the ever memorable ones who taught you what you didn’t want to learn the hard way. The verdict? They were all losers. Maybe that was the comfort food talking, but however cliché, I was an eager listener.

In a circle of loved ones who would proudly sport a [your name here] team-booster t-shirt, you have to agree that your ex was a loser and you could do SO much better. This is the default consolation phrase for any break up. However, does it really make things better to hear your cheering squad has forgiven your bad taste and chalked it up to a momentary glitch of judgment?

As far as losers go, the term is normally used to describe someone frowned upon by societal standards and generally refers to his/her occupation or social skills (typically an absence of both). But let's get real. Your ex could be a druggie deadbeat loser or a rich popular loser. I've dated both. It doesn't matter. Right there in the Loveless Café, a weight was lifted from my shoulders just as surely as it was added to my waistline.

What we need to revel in is that sometimes people cross paths and fall into something wonderful. Many times, that something wonderful is just a passing season. That's ok. I’ve found the best thing to do is cherish the good and forgive the bad. Plus, regardless of who your ex-lover is, graciously accept your supporters' consolation advice. Loser, by definition, is someone who has lost. Your ex is a loser, because he has lost you. And you are wonderful. Have another biscuit, darling.

Nikki Crane is a 25-year-old Nashville native about to embark on a three month adventure through Switzerland. Her degree is in Communication and Spanish from the University of Tennessee. If Nikki ever grows up, she wants to be a professional storyteller. Follow her journey on her Facebook page at Her inclusion in the Road Babe Dispatches column reflects only the view of Lyn's "editorial staff."

1 comment:

  1. Terrific post, NIkki!

    I'm getting hungry just looking at those pics, by the way....