Friday, December 25, 2009

A rocky romantic dinner

It has been a tough week. I got into an argument with a client at work and discovered that I don't really like people who have bipolar disorder. I prefer working with people who have schizophrenia or PTSD. Mood disorders make people awfully difficult.

So I was tremendously looking forward to dinner last night with JV. At first I thought we would just order in or cook, but JV wanted to go out.

"We never really had our first date," he said. "We just went to Blossom Cafe." Which he did not like. He's very picky about his food, which means that he doesn't like most kosher restaurants.

"I'll make reservations at Darna," I said, and hurried through my day. It helped that my early recovery group participants decided to talk and keep talking so I didn't have to pull a discussion out of them. While they talked about being profiled by the police and suffering through withdrawal, I was thinking about what I was going to wear to dinner.

When I got home, I spent a few hours getting ready. It wasn't easy. I've been in a funk all week, mildly depressed, so it took extra effort to shower, put on makeup, and assemble a nice outfit. Short black skirt, black knee boots, pink sweater, dangly earrings, eyeliner and lipstick. I went all out, or as far as I could; I was too emotionally exhausted to do my nails.

And JV arrived to pick me up in jeans and sneakers.

Fine, whatever, he's an engineer, it doesn't matter what he wears. We walked to Darna. Halfway there, he asked, "Why are you so quiet?"

I sighed. "When a woman goes to a lot of trouble to get ready for an evening out," I said, "she kind of wants her boyfriend to tell her she looks beautiful."

"Crap," said JV.

"You romantic devil, you," I muttered sullenly. He stopped and kissed me on the forehead.

"I was thinking that," he said.

"You were not," I told him.

"I was," he said. "When I saw you, I thought, 'Crap, I'm just wearing jeans.'"

"You could have said something," I said.

"I know, I know," he said wearily. "I need to work on this. I'm sorry."

"The problem is," I said, "that I am being much too rational. I'm not hitting you with any of the insane 'do I look fat?' kind of questions that most women routinely and obsessively ask. So you don't think I need reassurance when I really do."

"I'll try harder," he said. "I promise." But it was too late. My funk was more entrenched. And when we got to the restaurant seconds behind another couple who were immediately seated, we were told we'd have to wait.

We waited. In silence. "What's the matter now?" asked JV in a tone of wary patience.

"I'm still annoyed," I said. "I shouldn't be, but I am."

"Ayelet... let it go," said JV.

"We need to have wine with dinner," I said.

"Wine?" asked JV.

"I know you don't like kosher wine," I said, "but it's the fastest way to get me out of this mood. And if they don't seat us in 5 minutes, we're leaving."

Another couple came in and spoke to the host. He led them to a table. "What the -- " I said. "Why are they being seated before us?"

"No idea," said JV.

"Should I ask the host?"

"Sure, if you want to."

"Excuse me," I said to the preoccupied host. "Why were they seated before us?"

"They are expecting another person," said the host. "They are three."

"And we're leaving," I said. I was furious now. JV patiently followed me out of the restaurant.

"We can go to Esti-Hana," I said. "You said we should go for Chinese food on Christmas eve. Is Japanese good enough?"

"Do you like it?" asked JV.

"I love it," I said. "But are you going to be annoyed that we're running around to find a kosher place when there are tons of non-kosher restaurants between here and Esti-Hana? Which might be too crowded too?" I couldn't let myself cry because I was wearing mascara.

"If Esti-Hana is too crowded, we'll go back to your place and order in, like we originally planned," said JV patiently.

Miraculously, we were seated within a few minutes. "We really need wine," I said.

"Do you have a wine list?" JV asked the waiter.

"Red or white?" asked the waiter.

"Red," I said.

"Merlot or cabernet?" asked the waiter.

"Merlot for me," I said.

"I'll have the same," said JV.

The wine was awful. Horrendous. So I drank mine quickly, and then drank JV's, because he didn't like it. And shortly thereafter the evening became bearable, although it neared disaster when I got stuck in the bathroom.

I went to the bathroom, and after finishing, I pushed on the door. It didn't open. I turned the lock and pushed again. It still didn't open.

"Just perfect," I thought, giggling. "I'm going to get stuck in the bathroom on our first real date in ... Crap, I'm stuck."

I turned and pushed, turned and pushed. "What is wrong with this door?" I thought. "Is it stuck?" I thought I could tell a difference between the lock turned one way and the other -- the door presented less resistance. But it wouldn't open. Until I turned the knob.

I walked back to our table. "Everything okay?" JV asked, raising his eyebrows.

"I couldn't open the door," I giggled. "I forgot to turn the knob."

"I thought I was going to have to break down the door to get you out," he said dryly.

"I'm quite drunk," I informed him. I've turned into such a lightweight since college. Two glasses of wine on an empty stomach and I'm flyin'. "I want something chocolate."

"Do you want to go to Cafe Edgar's?" he asked. I thought that was sensible. After all, dessert in a Chinese restaurant made me throw up on one date; I didn't want to risk that happening tonight. We went to Edgar's, had cake and coffee, and he took me home.

So overall I suppose the evening went well enough, although not as well I'd expected. I'm going to Las Vegas Saturday night with my friend Miriam, so I'll be offline for a few. Happy holidays!
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. Doesn't sound bad at all. Getting stuck in the bathroom does sound funny, though, at least in retrospect.

    Go easy on yourself, you're doing good.


  2. Being the "KosherWineGuy" on twitter and Facebook, I loved that story and am simultaneously frustrated that it's still near impossible to get a decent kosher wine in a restaurant.

    Hope you have a nice time in LV!!


  3. Wow. I'm so glad to see you're keeping your commitment to kashrus despite a boyfriend who is somewhat antagonistic to it. You have a lot of inner resolve. Keep up the good work; it must not be so easy sometimes. The sages say the "pipes to heaven" get clogged when a person eats not kosher. In other words, in order to have a true sensitivity to enlightened thoughts and elevated ideas, we must keep kosher. (Vegan comes in a close second.)

  4. Man, this has good lessons for me in regards to what minute things can affect a womans mood (if she's already a bit depressed).

    About the wine: As a waiter I once served a couple spoiled merlot. They said they didn't like it, I thought they were being picky. I tried it, and it SMELLED aweful, I don't know how they even drank it. ...I think a lot of restaurants don't know how to properly store wine. Herzog merlot comes out of production just fine..

  5. Wow, I stumbled upon this blog by accident but I have not been able to tear myself away from it for the last 2 hours.
    Ayelet, I really hope things work out for you!
    I think JV will come around and I don't think you will have to totally abandon your beliefs to be with him. He just needs time to see that not every one and not all things Orthodox are as bad as his ex wife and his past experiences.

  6. Always glad to welcome new readers! Happy New Year!