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Friday, June 28, 2013

In Honor of Pride Weekend...

You guys, something crazy happened! The Nugget, who's been awash in a sea of (terrible) dudes, went on a lady date! I know what you're thinking. "Freaking finally!" Am I right? I was thinking the same thing...but not for long.
I showed up, and there she was, pacing in front of the restaurant we'd agreed to meet at. She was wearing a perfectly pressed button down shirt, a perfect cashmere sweater, perfectly fitted jeans, and a perfect Tiffany's necklace, all topped off with a perfect blow out (really, Pauly D would be jealous). She flashed me a terse perfect smile (you know, the kind only years of expensive orthodontic work can produce) as she stopped pacing and stared at me, finally offering her hand. "Hi. I'm [High Maintenance Diva] and there's a 30-minute wait. If I would have known that, I would have made a reservation," she announced to me as soon as I accepted her hand, with barely a pause and a distinct accusatory stare. "Oh," I replied, a little flustered. "Would you rather go someplace else?" "No," she responded crossly. "I have to go home and get some work done tonight, so I guess I'll just see if I can wait it out. Besides, it's been a long day and I need a glass of wine. My grandmother died last night." "Oh," I replied, getting a little more flustered. "You could have cancelled. I would have completely understood." "No," she said with a huff, looking as if she were physically restraining herself from rolling her eyes. " I always keep my appointments," she explained impatiently, as if I clearly should have guessed this about her in the 45 seconds I'd spent in her presence. This was going to be a charming date.
"So, are you really in to wine?" she asked, after taking a moment to recover from my clear lack of judgement. "Oh, you know, I really like it, but I don't know much about it. I just know what tastes good." "What's your favorite?" she asked aggressively. This was clearly a test. "Red or white?" "I like both!" I replied. Her face again took on that air of superiority as she tried to muster up as much patience as she could to explain, "I abhor whites. They're absolutely terrible. I love biiiiig, bold reds..." She then started rattling off her favorite varietals, some of which I'd never heard of, throwing in big wine words at every opportunity. She must have noticed me looking a little lost, because she stopped waxing poetic and ended her monologue with (what I'm sure she hoped was) a humble, "...but I don't know much about wine, either." Right.
Thankfully, the hostess appeared behind her at that moment to say, "Good news! We have a table for you!" High Maintenance Diva turned around and affixed the hostess with an accusatory stare and said, in what I'm sure she intended to be a joking manner (she failed), "You lied to me." The hostess looked confused. "You said it would be 30 minutes." The hostess opened her mouth to reply, obviously unsure of what to say to this. Realizing, perhaps, that her joke didn't come off quite as she intended, she said bruskly, "This time I'm glad you did. This time," and motioned for her to lead the way to the table. I trailed behind silently.
Just after we were seated, she launched into the story about her grandmother, in vivid detail, showing absolutely no emotion on her face. She talked about how close her family was, and how her mother (whose mother it was that passed away), viewed High Maintenance Diva as "her rock" and how she had cancelled her last few clients of the evening the day prior to drive the two hours to her parents' house to be there for her mother. She explained how significant this was, as she had just been hired months before at a prestigious law firm (she was a lawyer, if you hadn't already guessed). This had me changing my mind about her, thinking that perhaps there was a soft, squishy interior to this woman, which I'd appreciate. Just as soon as I began to believe this, she said, "...and then my aunt and cousin showed up. They're just so dramatic and over the top and crying and stuff. I just can't deal with people like that so I said, 'Sorry, mom' and I drove the two hours back home last night." Wow. There definitely was NOT a soft, squishy interior to this woman.
Soon after she finished telling me her family saga, the waitress appeared to take our wine order. I had chosen a wine off the menu that sounded tasty, and gave my order to the waitress with a smile. Easy, right? High Maintenance Diva looked at the waitress hard and said, "If I were looking for a big read that's not a Pinot, what would you suggest?" The waitress pointed out two recommendations. High Maintenance Diva then said, "Mm-hmm. And if I were looking for something more tannic, what would you recommend?" The waitress then gave two more recommendations. And waited while High Maintenance Diva carefully studied the wine list. And studied some more. And threw out a few more wine words. And then said, "I just don't know. Can I try [x-wine] and [z-wine]?" "Sure!" The waitress said, and escaped to go gather said wines. The Diva looked at me and leaned forward, as if about to confess her deepest, darkest secret. "I just hate going someplace and ordering a glass of wine and not enjoying it."
She then looked at the menu, and back at me, and said, "So. Are you a sharer, or do you like to have your own food?" Now, we were at a place that served small plates. Usually, when I'm at a restaurant, I order what I want to order, and that's that, unless I'm with my best friend. However, I'd been to this place several times, and had always shared my order with my dining companion. So, I answered honestly. "Well, I usually order my own thing, but here I'm much more of a sharer." She looked at me and almost audibly sighed. "Oh. Well. It's clear that your preference is to have your own food, so we'll do that." "Oh no!" I said, "I'm more than happy to share, especially here." "No no," she replied, "Your food is your food. It's fine." It was clearly not fine. Luckily, her wine samples came just then, and she finally made her wine choice before she could sigh some more about my apparent selfishness when it came to dining.
After a bit of awkward conversation (most notably, discussing her dog that she apparently brings everywhere. "My ex-girlfriend wanted him. It was kind of her dog, and I never would have picked a little dog. If I had known how much energy the dog had, I wouldn't have gotten her. But, you know, when we broke up, I just had to take her."), the waitress arrived to take our food order. I was ready, and again placed my order with a smile. The Diva, of course, had questions. Lots of them. What was in this? Which do you prefer? What's this made of? How is this prepared? Finally, she looked at me, and then back at the waitress, and said in complete seriousness, "I just don't know what to get. I'm having a really hard time because she (referring to me) refuses to share. She's just making it really difficult for me." She paused and sighed, almost as if looking for sympathy from the waitress for her obvious plight, then then forged ahead. "But I guess I'll have [insert order here]."
As soon as the waitress left, she said to me, "You know, I really just prefer to share. You get to try so many more things on the menu, and I can't imagine going to a restaurant and not wanting to try as many things as possible. I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to do that." I thought about attempting to explain that I actually offered to share initially, but then realized she wasn't trying to hear that. In fact, she wasn't trying to hear much of anything I was saying. So, I spent the rest of the evening listening to her list varietals of wines that I'd probably really enjoy, and where to get them, and talk about her farmer's market exploits and the culinary masterpieces she creates from them, and so on. I was momentarily grateful when the waitress came by offering the dessert menu.It was a trap.
"Oh, would you like dessert?" she asked me with a smile. "Oh, I think I'm full..." I started to say. " An immediate look of disapproval crossed her face. "Oh. Um. I guess I could share some?" She then turned to the waitress, and started grilling her on all of the three desserts on the menu. What was in this? How was this vegan? What was the replacement for this? What was the texture like in this? In the end, of course, she sighed and looked at the waitress, slowly handing back the dessert menu. "No. She doesn't want dessert, so I guess we'll pass. Just the check, please." I was never so excited to hear those words. Of course, the check didn't come without her wanting to itemize each and every thing to make sure we both paid only our fair share. "I ordered much more than you!" she declared. She did, but spending another 10 minutes with this person was the last thing I wanted to do. "Let's just split it," I insisted firmly. She gave one more half-hearted protest, and then agreed, and within minutes, we were out on the sidewalk, saying our awkward goodbyes, not a moment too soon.

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