Being a server, you get to see a lot of stuff go down under one roof. One of those pleasures is witnessing society's most common & modern way of courting the opposite (or same) sex. This would be called a date. Servers see a lot of dates.
These lovely evening outings are not exclusive to the new or hopeful couples either. In the past 5 years I have waited on everyone from the overly affectionate 16-year-old love birds to the white haired and cynical 92-year-old couples. All of which provide prime people watching material.
A typical teenage date night goes a little something like this: A request for a booth in the darkest corner you have (where they proceed to both sit on the same side), two glasses of the house's finest lemonade, an entree to share and saliva swapping for dessert. Check please.
Then there is the young married couple who is celebrating the upcoming arrival of their first or latest addition to the family. You will be able to tell if they are expecting their first little bundle based on their beverage selection. If the husband passes on ordering a beer and opts for a ginger ale (on the rocks, please.) so his wifey doesn't feel left out, then it's the first. If he orders a scotch straight up and has you put a beer on deck before he can toss the first one back, then this isn't his first rodeo. Either way, it's nice to see a married couple who is still having enough sex to produce a rugrat.
The best kind of date is when you get a couple of old cotton balls in your section who are still absorbed by their love for each other. Nothing will brighten your night more than watching Harold give Margot's toosh a squeeze on her way to the powder room. Get it girl.
But the one kind of date that sticks out in particular, and is all too common, is the bad dates. Really bad dates. These can be a 1st date or a 1,000th date. The curse of the craptastic dinner date knows no boundaries.
These are the kind of dates that even depress the wait staff to be a part of. As the bad date's server, you really wish you could just pull up a chair and say, "Look, it's not working. The iced tea is on the house, just go home." But we would lose our jobs, so we don't. Instead, we just count the minutes until we can deliver your heart shaped brownie that is sure to crack in half at the sight of your sorry attempt at romance.
So, how can this be avoided? I'm afraid bad dates are inevitable but I do believe some can be salvaged/prevented by following one or all of these simple suggestions. Since ladies always come first in my book, the first pieces of advice are directed towards the lovely female patrons. Some of you don't need these at all (you're a smokin' hot date!) but, believe me, some of you could benefit from from taking a peek. Or two.
1. DRESS APPROPRIATELY. You called ahead and the hostess said 'business casual' was the restaurant's dress code. You get brownie points for the call ahead, way to be prepared! Nothing is worse than showing up to a place in blue jeans while everyone else is in their prom dresses. The only thing worse than that is if everyone else is in jeans and you wore your prom dress. Do yourself a favor, call ahead.
What you don't get points for is capitalizing the C in casual and showing up in your yoga pants. I do not care what lemon named LuLu made them or how fantastic your buns look with them on. They are glorified spandex. Period. The only woman doing worse than you is the one with bedazzled Victoria's Secret sweatpants on. Here's a secret: If you aren't sixteen, in a sorority or using them for the gym, you should designate them for around the house.
2. GET OFF YOUR PHONE. Seems obvious, right? Yet every other table is glued to their screens in the restaurant. I wish restaurants were like classrooms and cell phones could be confiscated. My apron would be full! There is a person you came here with who would like your attention for some reason, so, why don't you go ahead and give it to them? Conversation? At dinner? Yes. This should not be a groundbreaking concept for a date no matter how long you've been together. Discuss the tablecloth if you must, just..say.. something!
And if you are on a first date, please, for the love of God, no matter what, do not instagram your food. I don't care how much that $30 chicken plate is vogue-ing for you. Unless you are a nationally acclaimed food blogger, put the filters down. At least try and get him hooked before you force him to accept your amateur social media hobbies.
3. ORDER LIKE YOU'RE PAYING. I see it all the time. A girl walks into the restaurant in a dress two sizes too small for her fake knockers and asks if her date has arrived yet. He hasn't. She gets a text, he's stuck in traffic. She is less than pleased with the news and decides to have a drink while she waits at their table for him. She asks the server about the specials and, after much deliberation and four 'samples', decides on the house white. Shocker. She finishes her wine just as her date arrives. And before the man can get a cheek on his seat she is waving the busser over to pop a bottle of Cristal because "That's all she drinks."
Don't be this girl. You should be confident in your independence. I agree, a gentleman should foot the bill but that doesn't mean he should have to cut off his foot to afford it. Have some class. Go ahead and offer to help with the bill too, and then sincerely thank him when he declines.
4. DON'T JUST ORDER A SALAD. I think one of the most ridiculous ideas out there is that a "lady" should always order a salad on the first date. Men like women who have good taste in food. It leads them to believe you'll be good in the kitchen too. I'm not saying you need to order the full rack of baby back ribs with extra gravy on your mashed potatoes (although I do know quite a few guys who would be into that) but at least order something that looks like it might have a chance of getting you through a cold night. Besides, I see a lot of people eat salads and, not only does it get caught in their teeth 9 out of 10 times, but they also resemble a horse with a bit under it's tongue for the first time. Chomp. Chomp. Chomp. Nothing screams sexy more than an oily leaf dangling from your lips.
5. THE CONVERSATION. Your Ex. This is a topic that should briefly, if ever, enter your conversation on a date. Especially on a first date! I can't tell you how many times I have passed a table where the guy is flagging down his server for his 10th beer because his chatterbox date is still talking about what an asshole her ex-boyfriend/husband is and just how much he is going to realize what he lost one day. It is painful enough to watch from a distance. I can't imagine what it would be like up close and personal! If your ex lost out on something amazing then let this guy get a chance to know you so he can tell you so! I don't care how high you hike up that skirt sister, bitter will never be beautiful.
So ask him about his passions and express yours. Even if your heart is still broken there are ways of discussing life's endless hurdles without looking helpless. Know your strengths and illuminate them. Laugh at his jokes if he's funny, smile through the hurt. No one said it would be easy, especially in this f*cked up thing we call love. If you can show me a woman who can handle what life throws at her with grace then I will show you a woman who won't be on the market for long.
Hopefully, you can take something from this, even if it's just a cheap laugh. Serving a confident woman is something I cherish. There is a shift in the air around them. And if the staff can notice, then anyone worth a damn will too. Happy hunting ladies and don't think I'm letting Men off the hook! The Gentleman Edition will be posted tomorrow for all the bro bros and cheapskates out there so stay tuned!
Oh, one last thing! Don't forget to check if he's a good tipper or not. I heard a rumor that bad tippers are bad in bed. I may have just made that up but whatever. If he can't spare some change in public then it's not outrageous to think he'll be stingy in private. Do your servers a favor and date a giver. You'll thank us later.