So, this is my life.
And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
a new approach
after years of being a restaurant snob, i'm changing my tune. i've decided that one of the best places to take a date is Chili's. seriously!
ever since i moved to Philadelphia and became a serious serial dater (during those long stretches of time between my serious monogamous relationships, that is), i've been a restaurant snob. but only on dates. the truth is, i'd always prefer greasy Chinese take-out or my friendly neighborhood cheesesteak and pizza joint for myself. but when i'm taking a nice fella out to dinner, my taste becomes much more refined. i temporarily become a foodie.
my scheme has long been to find an interesting new restaurant where the guy has most likely not yet eaten. i'd scope it out ahead of time. read reviews online. check out the menu. then when it came time for the date, i'd be all: "I've heard their flatbread is fantastic" and "The Inquirer gave it a great review." not only does this impress some guys, but also if a relationship develops, then we have both a good first date story and a great restaurant to return to or to call "our place."
i'm not saying that this routine isn't successful or that it shouldn't be used; you should definitely try it, especially if you're an indecisive woman who can't choose a restaurant. believe it or not, men like being told what to do. anyway... all i'm saying is that last night i tried a very different approach, and it worked quite well.
i told the guy that i wanted to go to Chili's. and he was delighted. DISCLAIMER: Chili's will not suffice if you have a date with a major foodie; but then, neither will my old plan, as he will already have read every review of the new restaurant, will probably have eaten there the weekend it opened, and will not be impressed. i've dated several foodies like this. i simply let them choose the restaurant.
so, why is a big boring chain restaurant a good bet on a date? first of all, it's not going to bankrupt you; that way, if you pay for dinner but get no action afterward, it isn't such a huge waste of money. that's a huge priority in this economy! in the same vein, these restaurants give you such massive portions that you'll feel satisfied regardless of how the date goes. if it goes poorly, you will have preemptively eaten your emotions.
further, since all big boring chain restaurants are basically the same, you won't be reminded of this person, and whatever relationship did or did not develop, every time you set foot inside the local TGI Fridays. you probably won't even remember where you took Mr. X on your first/only date.
also -- and this comes as a surprise even to me -- i appreciate seeing those horrible calories listed beside my entree. i hated this at first, but now it just helps to know whether i worked out enough before the date, or exactly how much i'll need to punish my body the next day.
finally, there's one thing i love about every TGI-Chili-Applebee-Carrabba's chain restaurant: STRONG DRINKS. no matter which of these restaurants suits your fancy, you can bet that the fruity drink pictured (yes, they're always photographed) on the menu will knock you on your ass. i went to TGIFs with my mom once in Pittsburgh, and we each had an electric lemonade. after only one, she was completely wasted and i was happily ordering another lemonade and more french fries "for the table." i always turn into a total fat kid after a couple drinks.
so there i sat last night, about to have a huge, fairly healthy, and relatively cheap meal at Chili's. that is, until i foolishly asked the server, "What is fajita-rita Monday?" fast-forward to an hour later, i was buzzing on the mixture of beer and huge, cheap margaritas (only $4.99 for 16 ounces of STRONG margarita!!), and reaching over to share my date's much less healthy meal after giving up on my boring salad. as usual, i started out with good intentions.
i think the date went well. although we ultimately hugged and said our see-ya-laters on 12th Street, the date was still a success. i'm certain that he was impressed by both my restaurant choice and the amount of tequila and nachos i could put away yet remain energetic and sober.