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Leah Umansky

By Leah Umansky

As a child, my dad used to joke that the way to my heart was through my stomach. I’m in my mid-thirties and he still makes that joke.

I blame it on being two months premature, and being born at 2lbs 6oz, but nothing makes me happier than a cheeseburger or a steak.

As a single woman in her thirties, I’m on a few dating sites. There have been times I’ve been at a loss for what to write in my profile. “Teacher, poet, book lover”? “Teacher, poet, romantic, anglophile”? “Teacher, poet, romantic, anglophile, book snob carnivore”?

Finally, I settled on “I’m a teacher, and a poet. The way to my heart is steak and books.”

What I want people to know is that I’m not going to be a bird on our date and eat a goddamn salad.  How many men do you see who order salad at a bar on a date? Very few.

I remember back in college, a professor took me out for lunch to Applebee’s. I ordered the riblets, because they’re delicious. She ordered a salad.  

“Okay,” the server said. “One order of riblets and one small salad.”

I watched my professor shake her head, sigh, and toss back her long blonde hair.

“No,” she said. “I want the large salad. Don’t assume all women want the side salad.” 

A few years ago, my father stopped eating meat. I panicked. Who would take me out for steak on my birthday? 

A friend recently joked around with me, and said, “You’re a fancy poet who runs around Manhattan waiting for people to cook her meat.”

You know what, she’s sort of right.  


What is a societal value you have seen change during your lifetime?

What is a societal value you hope to see change?


Leah Umansky is a poet and teacher whose most recent collection is the Mad Men-themed chapbook Don Dreams and I Dream.