I promised that the evening would get even worse. Here’s how it did.
We finally got a table, and at least Monica didn’t get pissed off about where it was. She’s done that. I don’t know who she tries to impress, but having to change tables makes me want to crawl under one. It’s a table. As long as it has chairs and doesn’t wobble, I don’t see the problem.
Turns out there was some kind of salmon thing on the menu for her to order. I didn’t quite choke when I saw the price, and I could still afford a steak for myself…only it had to be a small one. My wallet had another ordeal coming.
The stupidass wine list.
I was taught not to pretend that you know shit when you don’t, and I’m pretty good about that. I know nothing about wine. I don’t even like wine. I’m a beer drinker, and I think beer goes great with most of the food I like to eat. It also goes great by itself. But, okay, it’s an expensive restaurant on Valentine’s day and the waiter hands me the stupidass wine list, which is a book full of names I haven’t heard of with big prices after them. I probably should learn the names of two wines and order one of those each time. That way, I’d look like I knew what I was doing…only my parents raised me to be a very bad liar.
The wine waiter looked like he’d think I was an illiterate redneck anyway the minute I opened my mouth, so I had two choices: ask for a recommendation, or point to the second-cheapest bottle on the wine list. I went for Plan B.
It wasn’t like Monica was going to know the difference anyway.
When the waiter came back with the wine bottle and poured a little into my glass so I could taste it, I did what I usually do – which I know pisses her off. I know I could sip the wine, make a serious face, then nod at the waiter like I knew what the hell I was doing – I’ve got plenty of buddies who do that. I’ve even seen guys swirl the wine around in the glasses on the table and then take a big sniff, but, if you ask me, that just looks totally gayass.
What I do is take a sip of the wine, put on my best “aw shucks” grin and say, in the thickest Tennessee accent I can manage, “I’m just a dumb Southern boy, sir. it tastes red to me – that’s right, ain’t it?”
I know that pisses Monica off. I was still losing, but at least I’d scored a point.
As usual, Monica started complaining about the girls she works with (and how I didn’t send the flowers to her office – so I guess those were good enough for her after all), and I stopped listening. She raises her voice when you’re supposed to agree with her, and I’ve learned to catch that even when I’m not paying attention to her. There’s the raised voice, the pause…and then all you have to say is “she what??” – and you’re good. Gives her a reason to tell the whole boring story you didn’t pay attention to all over again.
At least I think the story was boring. I wasn’t listening. I don’t think I missed anything. I don’t pay attention when I’m not pissed off at my girlfriend. I certainly wasn’t going listen to some lame story about some chick she works with when I was pissed off at her.
So I looked around the restaurant. I saw a bunch of Valentine couples, including a pair of dudes. Some of the guys were older (and sniffing their wine before nodding to the waiter), a few were closer to my age (one of the gay guys was about my age…the other was a lot older) – and all of them looked as miserable as I felt. (It was the older gay dude who looked miserable. The one my age was the one being the bitch.)
On top of that, the wine sucked (even for red wine)…and I was driving…so I couldn’t even get drunk.
I will say it for M*****’s – they even made Monica’s stupid salmon look good. It came on one of those plank things…and she didn’t make a bitchy comment about it. She did say that ordering fries with my steak made me look white trashy (I guess a baked potato is fancier), but, if they were so white trashy, how come they were on the menu at a fancyass steakhouse in LA? There were a lot of them, too, which was good, because the steak I could afford was barely enough for a growing boy.
I didn’t get dessert, either – which was okay with my wallet, but not with my stomach. We always had dessert after dinner back home, so I don’t feel I’ve finished eating until I’ve had something sweet. I already told you that Monica always talks about being on a diet…that means no dessert when we’re at a restaurant. Lucky for me there’s a 24 hour IHOP in Pasadena, so I can get a strawberry ice cream sundae any time I’m driving back from Monica’s. They know me there; that should give you an idea of how often I come back from my girlfriend’s without having had dessert.
I was braced for the check…and it came out worse than I thought it would. I’d budgeted $200. It came to $250 with tip. The evening was just getting better and better. And the parking valet was another ten bucks. More with tip. (My first job in high school was parking cars. I never don’t tip a valet.)
Back to Monica’s place and what I’m sure you know is coming. Another attitude filled car ride, and, after four hundred bucks blown on a shitty evening, she says, “I have to get up really early for work tomorrow…so you’d better not come up.”