Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Lady

I celebrated my birthday last week. I turned 28 and had a lovely day. Kyle and I went out for dinner at La Chaumiere, a french restaurant on 17th ave. I have trouble with high-class dining experiences. My trouble is that I am not very classy and consequently, quite awkward.

Awkward moment number one:
We enter the restaurant and are greeted by the Parisian maitre d'. Let's call him Jacques. Jacques consistently addresses me as "the lady".
Jacques reaches for my coat but I quickly wriggle out of it by my own power. Not missing a beat, Jacques extends his right hand to receive my coat and give me my coat check ticket. Not understanding what's going on, I reach for the coat hanger in Jacques' left hand. After an awkward tussle, I realize that a lady lets a gentleman hang her coat for her.

Awkward moment number two:
Jacques leads us into the dining room. He pulls out Kyle's chair for him. Seeing an opportunity to avoid having my chair managed for me, I quickly pull mine out and poise myself to sit down. Jacques panics (in a very calm, classy way). He abandons Kyle mid-sit and quickly turns to my chair, pushing it into my legs as I flop down. Our timing is poor and my chair is about 12 inches away from the table. Without standing up, I shuffle my chair toward my plate. A lady does not stand up to move her own chair.

Awkward moment number three:
Before we see our menus, Jacques asks if we would like an "aperitif".
I request a glass of wine. Does that even count as an aperitif? He asks me what kind of wine I would like. Flustered, I ask, "Do you have a house red?". I know they probably don't, but I can't remember the names of any wines. I'm buying time. Jacques asks, "What type of grapes do you like?". I'm tempted to say, "red ones" but hold myself back. A lady does not engage in smart-assery. I flash him a plebian smile and ask him to choose for me.

Awkward moment number four:
The meal consists of a beautiful blue cheese/strawberry salad and beef tenderloin. We finish with a gorgeous creme brulee. As we exit the restaurant, I find my coat ticket and hand it to Jacques. This round, I know what's coming. The lady is prepared. I have always hated having a man hold my coat open for me but Jacques and his fine manners have won me over. Jacques holds out my coat. I twist my head behind me so that I can find my coat sleeves without groping Jacques. After a few misses, I successfully guide my arms through the arm holes and exit the building, biding Jacques a good night.

Background by Jennifer Furlotte / Pixels and IceCream