Friday, January 20, 2012

Taking the Girl Out -- Somewhere 'Nice'

8th-Grade French Lessons

Somewhere around the third date, just about every guy (who wants a fourth date), decides to up the ante and take the girl somewhere nice.  Now, you need to keep this in some sort of perspective.  We're talking about farmers here -- people who get sweaty palms over a world's record pumpkin, actually read the fine print on a bag of fertilizer, or have at one time traveled all the way to Wisconsin just to see the 'National Museum of Manure Spreaders.'  Really, I'm not kidding here.  It's just outside Racine, next to the old Massey-Ferguson factory.

This is normally the point where a degree of sophistication runs afoul of farm fashion, but you have already discovered that the girl has nice legs, actually shaves them occasionally and you're pretty sure that the pencil you found in your truck (Blue Lagoon), has something to do with make up.  So you're optimistic that an attractive woman is hiding somewhere under the ski hat, goose-down vest and rubber boots, just waiting to make some waiter envy your incredible good fortune.  But it will never happen at the corner Burger King. decide to take your remedial 8th Grade French lessons (failing to remember that confidence in a foreign language combined with a D+ grade)...well, finesse and common sense are wasted on the young anyway.  But still, you book a table for two at Le Foo Foo Marseilles because the girl has promised to wear a dress if you agree to wear a tie.  No, you don't know how to tie one, but the bartender up the street probably does, though he's less than impressed with your choice:  lavender.  With a blue shirt.  Grey pants...damn.  Where's two black socks when you really need them? 

So you press on hoping for dim lighting...and she does wear glasses sometimes and one of your friends once said that 'Europeans dress funny anyway.'  Good, you'll fit the theme perfectly.  Avant-garde is not for the weak of heart they say, and apparently a fine line exists between 'cutting edge' and what the Salvation Army sells for half-price.  And the restaurant evidently knows that 'intimacy' is on your mind.  The maitre d' takes you to a quiet, candlelit table next to the men's room.  He smiles -- too much.  The waiter suppresses a snicker, but you press on.  Whew!  The menu has English sub-titles and you know what the hell escargot means.  Same slimy bastards that overrun the lettuce patch every spring.  She smiles and decides on the fish.  You frown and look at the price.  That was a $28 fish.  Anything made of a cow was $32, sheep came in at $36.  Then the grinning fool hands you a wine list.  The girl in the dress casually says, "Oh, you order something."  You hear the waiter say something like Chateau Margaux and $56 in the same sentence.  You suddenly have a flashback to your W-2 form -- the part about your yearly salary.  You wonder if the place has a back door.

Finally, the meal is over.  You had settled on the cow, figuring the extra money saved could go for bail.  You're wondering seriously about your credit card limit.  The girl's had three glasses of wine -- that's good, she'll probably miss the part when they handcuff you.  God, the waiter's back and he's holding the bill...and smiling again.  Little does he know, but his tip is going to have something to do with Wednesday's fourth race.  He asks, "Anything else, monsieur?"  You're thinking, "Ah hell, why not?"  So, fortified by the other three glasses of wine, you take one last stab at impressing your future cellmate and order in French -- 8th grade French:                   

The coffee is the best you've ever had.  Then you remember that quaint custom at the local penitentiary  -- the one about last meals.  You're resigned to the inevitable and further stalling seems pointless.  You reach for your wallet while you carefully study the bill.  You're thinking it's good for at least 30-days in the slammer when you feel the girl touch your hand.  Her eyes look a little blurry, her speech slightly askew.  "I'm getting this.  I just wanted to see you wear a tie.  It was worth it."

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