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Eat Like a Girl

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<img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1164158590/gallery_29805_1195_4210.jpg"></td><td align="left">By Ivy Knight

In late February 2006, I was drinking in a bar with some friends. Sitting at our table was a guy I didn’t know, a friend of a friend, who kept staring at me. As I got drunker and drunker, he introduced himself as Matt Patterson, Referee, and told me I should come out to audition for the Pillow Fight League. I pictured busty babes in lace teddies giggling through full red lips while downy feathers snowed over their ample bosoms.

This turned out not to be the case. Not even close.

I went to the audition very anxious. I’m not an athlete or a performer and I had no idea what would be expected of me. When I got there I saw Katrina, a girl I’d known for years. That set me at ease a bit. A man named the Mouth was running the audition and he got Sally Spitfire (Katrina) and another fighter, Digit Jones to get on the mats and do a quick bout to show me and the other girl auditioning (Aimee) what would be expected. He also planned to interview each of us on camera and wanted us to have some idea of what type of persona we'd create for ourselves. Good girl? Evil Bitch?

Aimee looks like a young Faye Dunaway and I was so blown away by her beauty that she whacked me quite a few times before I came to my senses and leaped on her. Her slippery shirt made it hard to get a grip so I ended up holding her breasts to stay up. We grappled a bit more and then they called for the fight to end. I knew who my character was going to be. We did our interviews and were both asked by Stacey “The Pillow” Case, Commissioner and creator of the PFL, to join the league. Life would never be the same again.

It took a bit of tweaking, but my character, “Vic Payback”, finally emerged. She’s a good girl, but she’s a bit of a hussy and gets easily distracted by the proximity of her opponent. She loses track of the ultimate goal -- winning -- and never really comes out on top. That sounds as if the fights are scripted, but they're not. No fight is predetermined, but we do try to fight in character. Vic really wants to win, but having fun is more important. We now have twenty girls in the league and, while some are intent on winning, all of us care more about fun and entertainment.

Although none of us has professional fight experience, we’ve caught the fever and love fighting. We’re a diverse group of girls from all walks of life. I want to know what some of these broads eat. How do they prepare for a fight? Do they follow some strict dietary regime?

Our first PFL champion was the Persian Princess who's this tiny Barbie doll made from sinew and muscle and steel. She’s the strongest creature in the smallest package I’ve ever come across. “I eat everything except the PFL pillows! Since I’ve joined the league I eat more. To maintain my physique I eat every two hours, I have a very high metabolism.”

She likes Doogh, a traditional drink prepared by beating plain yogurt until smooth, then diluting it with water to get a consistency close to whole milk. Salt is added with dried mint and it's left to ferment, then served chilled over ice. The Princess likes to add diced cucumbers for crunch.

I ask her what some favorite Persian dishes are. “Gorme Sabzee is stew beef and kidney beans fried with scallions, spinach, parsley, mint, basil and sun dried lime, served over basmati rice. Dolme is peppers stuffed with rice, lentils, ground beef , onion and spices.”

Digit Jones battled the Persian Princess in the league’s first championship match -- she told me about her diet regimen before hitting the mats. “Carbs are great before a fight. I’ll eat a big bowl of pasta at noon then just peck a little before the match. Fast burning carbs full of energy and nothing to weigh me down.”

Sarah Bellum is probably the only girl in the league who has a six pack; she works out like a maniac and watches everything she eats. She’s actually smaller than the Princess -- at 5 foot 1 and 100 pounds this librarian with a PhD in Pillow Fighting is our tiniest fighter.

“I’ve cut out a lot of unnecessary sugar, alcohol and fried foods. It was a change that I’d been contemplating for a while and joining the PFL finally gave me the motivation to try it. So far my change in diet hasn’t resulted in better performance during my matches, but I’ve definitely seen the changes in my body. After years of working out, I’m finally starting to see the kind of results that I want.”

I’d have to argue that her diet has resulted in better performance on the mats. At a recent event Sarah Bellum and Persian Princess went head to head in a fifteen minute Iron Woman Match. Fifteen minutes might not sound like much, but try fighting all out and see how long you last. Our regular matches are called after five minutes if no one has surrendered or been pinned, and decided by a panel of judges. Getting all the way to the five minute mark is very tough: lot of our fighters have never made it that far.

There are girls like me who don’t know about carb-loading, and girls who don’t eat right and don’t care, like our current champion ChamPAIN. “I eat what I want, when I want, and my favorite is roti. Oh, and I love cake too!” ChamPAIN doesn’t work out every day but she plays soccer, performs in a burlesque troupe, models, works 9-5 at a “real” job and fights in the League, where she rarely loses a match. Eat cake baby, knock yourself out.

One of our newest fighters is Lady Die, a class act with a regal bearing. I asked her what a typical day in her life is like. “Fox hunt, beauty salon, orphanage, manicurist, ribbon cutting, dress fitting, fight.” She has a typically British approach to nutrition: “I fancy lollies, fairy cakes, clotted cream, treacle tarts and sweets with a cuppa.”

Sister Resistor is a bad girl fighter, a heel; she’s a welder and film grip by day. "I like to get my carbs in the form of beer, preferably Labatt 50. Protein is also important, so I l eat at least two breakfast specials from Carousel Bakery in the St. Lawrence Market downtown. A breakfast special is scrambled eggs and cheese with peameal bacon (Canadian bacon rolled in cornmeal in the U.S.) on a fresh bun. It's important to eat as much peameal bacon as possible to keep your strength up. Apres fight you need to replace those lost carbs, so again with the beer. Labatt 50 tastes good warm so you can stash it behind the couch in the dressing room or in your bag so that wastecase Boozy Suzy doesn’t find it and drink it.”

Boozy Suzy -- big surprise -- is a big boozer, a beautiful barfly. She maintains a very odd diet, once eating an entire block of generic cheddar before coming to practice.

“It's perfect that my persona allows me to keep up my daily alcohol consumption and in fact encourages it. It's satisfying to find an athletic league that condones the frequency at which I imbibe. My fighting physique is nothing to be desired so I feel that maintaining it is easier than one might expect.”

To prepare for a big fight Boozy stays true to character. “I like to drink right before the fight, maybe four to six beers to loosen up a little. It tends to make me more flexible and resilient to blows about the head. My preferences are Creemore Springs Premium Lager or McAuslan’s St. Ambroise Pale Ale and, for the dessert course, their Apricot Wheat Ale. Vegetarian pizza seems to be the trend in the dressing room a few hours before we have a live event. I feel that it slows me down considerably but is a good base for the Jagermeister.”

Sally Spitfire, our WWII-inspired pin-up girl is not joining Boozy in her pre-show piss up. “I do not drink before I fight at an event. Once my fight is done it’s free game, but before I hit the mat I avoid alcohol.”

Betty Clock'er also avoids alcohol for the most part and maintains a vegetarian diet. She bakes cookies to hand out to the crowds at the fights. “I made cookies before our first live show because I was feeling jittery the night before and baking always calms me down. The audience went nuts for it, so I’ve done it for all the live shows since. I went with chocolate chip for PFL 1, peanut butter for PFL 2 and pecan shortbread for PFL 3. I’m an inveterate snacker, so I have to make up a lot of cookies so some will actually make it to the audience.”

Polly Esther and Pixie Stix are two other sweet-toothed fighters. Pixie seems to live on candy and quadruple shot espressos. Polly, a bitter waitress, likes her sweets pumped up with a little more than sugar. She dips chocolate bars in batter and throws them in the deep-fryer at the diner where she works. If it’s the day before a fight she’ll deep fry a mango to get healthy. She thinks some of our fighters are too scrawny, “I could eat Sarah Bellum in one gulp and Digit Jones for dessert. Then I’d wait half an hour and swallow Vic Payback -- I think the only thing she eats is the lime wedges from her drinks.”

If it were up to Vic Payback, she’d prepare for a fight by eating dozens of raw oysters while chugging cheap champagne and snorting blow off some guy’s nether regions in a room at the Econo Lodge. I don’t prepare for fights in character, so that doesn't happen. I know about food -- it’s what I do for a living -- but I don’t know a lot about sports nutrition. My motto has been "Eat a green thing every day" and I usually stick to it. The night before our most recent live event my husband Kerry (also known as the Krippler; one of the PFL trainers) and I decided to have a feast to help me get ready for the fight. Kerry has rowed since he was a child and coached rowing for over twenty years, so I let him pick what we would have. He called it the “Eat to Win Dinner” and started a grocery list: I peered over his shoulder and saw the first item on the list was champagne. This wasn’t going to be the heavy-on-nutrition/low-on-decadence meal I'd been anticipating.

Kerry’s Eat to Win philosophy is very simple: "Eat what you like. If you want to become a professional wrestler then you should have a responsible training diet and limit your intake of saturated fats. For the short, intense nature of the pillow fights, you can stick to what you know and like."

We started with champagne -- Veuve Clicquot, not cheap sparkling -- and some beautiful Colville Bay oysters from Prince Edward Island. When we were visiting the Island in September for my sister’s wedding, we spent a day in Souris with Johnny Flynn at the Colville Bay Oyster Company. I love any and all oysters, but Johnny’s are my favorite. The section of water where these babies grow must have magic dust floating through it. They are briny without being overpowering, and they have a sweetness that tastes more like innocence than debauchery.

Then Kerry and I had a course of seared sweetbreads with a pistachio crust in a beurre noisette. Veuve goes with everything so we stuck with it.

The main course was inspired by what Kerry imagined Andre the Giant might decide to have for dinner the night before a big showdown. He served steak and eggs with spinach (that's the green thing) and bearnaise sauce. He figured Andre would probably have a beer with his meal so we switched to Maudite, a beer from Quebec that's rich and strong and packs a powerful punch. We finished off the Veuve later with some Ontario MacIntosh apples and a twelve-year old cheddar.

The next night Trashley and I teamed up to take on Digit Jones in a two-on-one match. It was a wild, crazy fight but the two of us could not get that girl to stay down. She’s tough and wily as hell and ended up winning the fight by unanimous decision. Trashley and I accepted defeat and drowned our sorrows with a few cold ones in the dressing room. Well not really. We had a few cold ones for sure but there were no sorrows. Who would be down when you get to do what we do? It’s a lot more fun than any traditional sport I’ve been involved in and that’s the key word: "fun." In every sport you want the emphasis to be on fun and healthiness and all that, but deep down you really want to win.

Here you can do what you want, as long as you fight hard and show off. You get to dress up in crazy costumes, wear makeup, get your picture taken, sign autographs and take out all your aggression on someone while people scream their fucking heads off. Who wouldn’t want to fight like a girl?</td></tr>

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<tr valign="top"><td><img src="http://forums.egullet.org/uploads/1164158590/gallery_29805_1195_5987.jpg" align="right"></td><td valign="top">When not writing about food for the eGullet Society and Gremolata, or pillow fighting as 'Vic Payback', Ivy Knight works for a living as a cook in Toronto.<br><br>PFL fighter photos copyright © 2006 Carrie Musgrave. Used by permission. Lead art by Dave Scantland.

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What a unique article! Fascinating.

Do the refs have any special regimens?

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What a riot! Brava diva!

(What? None of the fighters do shots of bourbon before a bout? If it were me, I'd be knocking back a couple good stiff snorts of Wild Turkey 101 before I hit the canvas. :laugh: )

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Is this a local, regional, national or international phenomenon? Great story!

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I always wondered where the Molson Canadian "Pillow fight referee" beer label came from. Looks like great entertainment though.

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Is this a local, regional, national or international phenomenon? Great story!

The Pillow Fight League is based out of Toronto with plans to branch out to the rest of Canada and the U.S.A

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What a unique article! Fascinating.

Do the refs have any special regimens?

Matt Patterson, head ref of the PFL, eats a lot of fried chicken.

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Is this the same website that eliminated off-topic chat?

Oh, I see. It's the eGullet Literary Review, not the forums. :huh:


Edited by Sandra Levine (log)

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Oh, I see.  It's the eGullet Literary Review, not the forums.  :huh:

Exactly so, Sandra.

Besides, if I may say so, the meals of any group of people are on-topic.

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I'm in love.

No, really. Marry me. I may be endearing, I may be infuriating, but I'll never be dull. Plus I can throw down in the kitchen.

Okay, I'll stop being creepy now. But think about it.

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I'm in love.

No, really.  Marry me.  I may be endearing, I may be infuriating, but I'll never be dull.  Plus I can throw down in the kitchen.

Okay, I'll stop being creepy now.  But think about it.

Hmmm...

Well I am already married to the Krippler, sorry doll.

Ivy/Vic

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I believe in supporting my wonderful contributors in any way I can. Ivy's hard at work on a piece about stock-making as practiced by several Toronto chefs, but if you need your Ivy fix:

Buy a copy of the current National Enquirer. She's on page 8, I'm told, battling Eiffel Power.

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She's on page 8, I'm told, battling Eiffel Power.

Who won? And what did the winner eat before the bout? I don't wrestle, exactly, but need equal amounts of energy in order to deal with my kids. I need a kid-toppling regimen. My energy must blow theirs away. Perhaps maybe one of these wrestling diets would do that? :rolleyes::unsure:

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