[religion|food] Saving your pizza for marriage

There’s a meme in the Evangelical world that if you wait until you’re married to have pizza, your pizza will be awesome.

I understand that in some people’s belief systems, pizza can only be consumed within the sanctity of marriage. The right of every individual of consenting age to choose when and how they begin eating pizza is entirely up to them. That right clearly and unreservedly includes the choice of not eating pizza until they have entered a state of church-endorsed marital bliss.

For a lot of those folks, they’re not even allowed to look at pictures of pizza, or smell pizza, or go into pizza parlors, or attend parties at homes where pizza might be served. To my personal view, this seems like it might be taking the whole no-pizza-before-marriage thing a bit too far, but everyone is entitled to their worldview. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of religion, and I for one would go to the barricades to vigorously defend the rights of my fellow Americans not to eat pizza out of wedlock.

But I really have to question the practical wisdom of this perspective, and especially the assumption of that married pizza will be even more awesome if you’ve never indulged in pre-marital pizza.

How would you know? With no pizza experience, you wouldn’t have any idea if your marital pizza was awesome or not. You’d have no standards of comparison, and you would never have gotten an opportunity to develop your tastes.

We all know pizza preferences vary widely from individual to individual. Some folks are inveterate sausage hounds. Others prefer the classic simplicity of plain cheese pizza with all its warm, milky goodness. Some people like their crust thick and chewy. Others love it crisp and thin, going down fast and hard.

Beyond that, what about vegan pizza? Or gluten-free pizza? Or junky kitchen sink pizzas? Let alone the more esoteric forms of pizza, such as stuffed crust pizza, pesto pizza, pepperoni rolls, stromboli, and calzones. Even the sink of moral depravity that is meatball sandwiches can be argued to be a form of pizza.

And the ways and means of eating pizza… Many people do it missionary style most of the time, grasping the crust firmly and munching on the warm triangle before them. But some folks like to come in from the other end. That thick, ridge of fully risen and freshly baked dough can go down a treat before the explosion of salty goodness that follows. Some people use a fork. Some people even use a knife. Others stick to their hands, just as God intended.

Of course there are risks to eating pizza. You don’t want to cut a slice out of some skanky old box that you don’t know where it’s been. Pizza shared with trusted friends and partners is probably a better idea than picking up any random pizza on a street corner down by the docks. But that’s all human behavior. Smart, sensible pizza consumers can enjoy a wide variety without risking themselves overmuch. Prophylactics such as antacids can cut down on the health risks of pizza. Frankly, for most of us, life without pizza is a worse fate than navigating the risks of procuring and consuming pizza.

My point is, there are as many preferences in pizza as there are people who enjoy pizza. There are even people who don’t enjoy pizza at all for purely personal or physical reasons. I fully support their right to live their life untrammeled by the emotional and social complications that pizza always seems to bring.

So, if you follow the Evangelical way, and you never look at pizza, or smell it, or taste it, or sneak a pepperoni roll on your way to the altar, how will you ever know if your married pizza is so very awesome as you’re being promised? What will happen if you’re a deep dish eater at heart who marries a back-to-front New York style vegan? You might never find out what kind of pizza pleases you most, what sort really makes your life worth living. You’ll never know until it’s way too late.

How will you know?


Because of the broad public interest in this topic — who among us does not think about pizza on daily basis? — I invite you to share your personal pizza testimony in comments. When was the first time you had pizza? What was the best pizza you ever had? Do you have an especially favorite pizza? Any recommendations on where someone just branching out and testing the pizza waters might find good advice and the appropriate support for their pizza-curious interest?

11 thoughts on “[religion|food] Saving your pizza for marriage

  1. Mike says:

    Normally, I would never advocate going to a tavern to pick up a pizza. But the Northlake Tavern in Seattle has been the best place to pick up truly quality pizza for decades. Even in college my buddies and I would save our money then go to Northlake to split a giant combo pizza.

    It would take four of us to really work a number on that pie, and we left sated. It was so good we didn’t want to have pizza for at least another week, and for a college boy that’s saying something.

    Even today I’ll take friends there, order a pie, and reminisce about the other great pizzas we’ve had there. Whether singly, with friends, or a group of strangers, I definitely recommend hitting Northlake when those deep, dark cravings hit.

  2. Oh, Jay. You just made me soooo happy with this post. Delight!

  3. Dave says:

    In my youth I was convinced there was no such thing as bad pizza – even the worst pizza is better than no pizza, right? Not so much, as it turns out. I’ve still yet to meet a variety of pizza I’d turn away, but some people’s preparations are just plain terrible.

    Of course, the best pizza is next morning pizza – it was good the night before, but when you wake up, pull it out of the fridge, and drop a flash-fried sunny-side-up egg on top – now you’re cooking with gas. All the flavor and textural joy of the original pizza but without the rush to eat it while it’s hot, and the added rich creaminess of the aftermarket egg yolk.

  4. Dave says:

    But the idea that pizza is fundamentally sacrosanct is one I just can’t get behind. I understand some people feel that way – and even worse, some people don’t accept it intellectually but find themselves behaving as if it were because of early childhood training. Growing up with my father and Robert Heinlein made that idea completely alien to me. Sure, sometimes pizza is a sacrosanct, meaningful, powerful, moving, lifechanging experience. But sometimes friends go out for pizza on rainy Thursday afternoons when there’s nothing good on TV – and it’s still just as delicious.

  5. Matte Lozenge says:

    Fear not, brethren. Any and all questions about the awesomeness of post-marital pizza will be answered by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He has noodly appendages in many pies, you know.

    1. Jay says:

      I was afraid of that…

  6. Josh English says:

    I don’t know, Jay. I don’t need to taste BBQ Chicken pizza, taco pizza, or even artichoke hearts on a pizza to know that such toppings are morally wrong and flatly un-American.

  7. I had the most wonderful experience with my first pizza. Some people say you need a lot of experience with pizza to really like it, but my first pie was made by a master in Chicago. I started with cracker crust cheese pizza, but the experience was so sublime and joy-filled that I realized I was open to all kinds of pizza experience as I grew older.

    If your first pizza is really good, and is shared with someone you love, I don’t think it matters if it is a pre- or post-marital pizza. It will prepare you for a healthful, joyful, pizza-filled life. It even helps you know how to reject sub-standard pizza and demand the pizza you deserve. In or out of the kitchen.

  8. Bridget Coila says:

    There are definitely things to be said about sampling cross-cultural pizza… the different toppings and unique styles you get to experience when traveling or living abroad add a new dimension to the pizza experience and often force one to truly examine important questions, such as: “What is the true nature of pizza?” and “Do differences in pizza preferences truly matter in the bigger scheme of things?”
    {Disclaimer: Please consult the US Consulate in your area and the Department of Homeland Security before bringing foreign pizza back onto American soil. You may be subject to extensive questioning about the specific details of your pizza experience. This questioning is for your own good and for the good of all Americans who need protection from pizza that is different from that which they are used to.}

  9. Kat says:

    If you call for a pizza delivery in the middle of the night, is that a booty call?

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