Their posture is excellent; no slouching in chairs, no elbows on the table. Their menus are held at a 45 degree angle and remain that way for the twenty minutes it takes them to order.
He doesn’t look at me. He doesn’t want to give the random server person with a uterus any extended acknowledgment of existence as long as the uterus directly across the table is possibly 90 minutes away from being charmed and obtained. Despite the lack of eye contact, he is respectful to me and polite and is trying so hard not to try so hard.
She is engaging and interesting and enticing and enchanting and most other verbs that start with a vowel. She is nervous about what to order. As is he. Irony. They are sitting in a restaurant for the purpose of choosing, requesting and eating food, but all of that is completely secondary to the only thing that matters: the person they see over the 45 degree angled menu.
My corporate restaurant insists I recommend two alcoholic beverages to every guest, despite the hour of day or the age of the guest. I do recommend two drinks to my well postured guests, then quickly follow with the words ‘iced tea and diet coke’. He wants the iced tea and she’d love a diet coke. I knew. This isn’t my first rodeo.
I asked them if they’d like to graze on a chips and salsa while they peruse the 20 pages of menu items. They did a ‘deer-in-a-headlight’ stare at each other for a brief moment, as if opening eyes as wide as LP records will assist in reading one another’s minds. They stammer for a minute; not wanting to appear gluttonous, but trying to be courteous of each others needs. I let them off the hook, “Clearly you need another minute or so with the menu, I’ll be back with your drinks.” It’s times like this I wished I was cocktail-ing for the casinos again. My favorite line for the indecisive was, “Take your time, we’re open 24 hours,” I can’t get away with that one at the brewhouse.
I returned with a non-alcoholic iced tea and a virgin diet to the two people with excellent posture and menus held at a 45 degree angle. Ten minutes later I returned with refills for the pair: their posture still excellent, their menus still open and angled. I wished I could just take over at this point and order for them, after all I know best. Instead I am forced to revisit the table every 5 minutes and find a new way to phrase the phrase “Are you ready now?”
Most brewhouse guests are comfortable to ask “what is good?” or “do you like the fish?” I wish tables would have the courage to say, “It’s our first date and we really don’t care about the food. The two of us just need to come together in neutral territory to decide whether or not we like each other enough to try a second date. Food requires time to chew and swallow and thus give both parties involved a bit longer to mull over the individual presented before them. What do you recommend we order to achieve this?”
Because I would have an answer.
But they don’t ask, so I don’t offer. All parties involved suffer longer than they should, myself included.