The Dining Guide

Last night I sat at an almost too-small table, in a so-dark-that-I-defy-you-to-read-the-menu-without-resorting-to-picking-up-the-votive-candle-and-using-it-as-a-flashlight restaurant that was filled with milling twenty-somethings crowding into the bar area, all talking at once. Really loudly. You know, my usual kind of Friday night hang-out. Because I’m hip like that.


Actually, my friend Lynnie and I (btw, I’m the only person I know in the world who calls her ‘Lynnie’, so we’ll pretend that’s a pseudonym to protect her privacy *snort*) had actually pulled off a night out together, and we were so giddy with our unaccustomed freedom that we rashly thought ‘Rumba’ (although I think it’s actually spelled in all lower-case, like ‘rumba’– because, hello, HIPPER THAT WAY) sounded like a fun place for dinner. Which turned out it was, but seriously? The noise factor was formidable. By the end of the evening we were virtually shouting our innermost thoughts across the table at each other, which was fine because the twenty-somethings surrounding us on all sides were inexplicably not that interested in eavesdropping on two middle aged women sharing secrets and conch fritters. Their loss.


There’s nothing like dinner out with a girlfriend. Sometimes all of the D-Day at Normandy Beach-type planning it takes to actually put together a little outing like this can almost feel like more trouble than it’s worth. I mean, Lynnie and I talk on the phone every single day, it’s not like we really need to go out so we can catch up with each other. But when I do push through my initial hesitation and make it happen, it is always so worth it. Which brings me to the subject of this lecture:


Top Ten Reasons Going Out With Your Girfriend(s) Is Better Than Going Out With Your Husband

#10– No arguing about valet parking. Husbands usually see no point in having to tip some guy to park your car when you can just as easily pull it into a parking space your own self. Women, of course, know better.

#9– Girlfriends know that the restaurant selection is not only crucial to the tone of the evening, they also understand that it is part of the entire Going Out To Eat experience. Kinda like foreplay. Suggestions must be mulled over, discussed and eventually culled down to about two or three, and then there will be a minimum five minute Final-Decision Period which basically consists of both of you taking turns saying, “Either one of those sounds fine, you decide.” Husbands’ criteria is usually more linear, more like, “Which one is closer?” “Which one can we get in and out of faster?” and “Whatever.”

#8– Your footwear choice for the evening will be noticed and complimented.

#7– With a girlfriend, seating placement is key. A cozy booth is preferable if possible, because you want to be out of the main thoroughfare but not so tucked away that your waiter can ignore you. You want to be able to see other diners coming and going so you can comment on them, but you don’t want to be so visible that the fact that you are taking a ridiculously long time to eat will be noticed by the people waiting for a table and they will be able to shoot you dirty looks while pointedly checking their watches. Because really, who needs that?  Husbands usually do not care about any of this, they just want to know where the restrooms are, then they’re good to go.

#6– You have the option of either talking about serious, life-altering issues or rambling on and on about nothing in particular. You may also get earnest and teary at one point in the conversation and then be laughing really loudly (which may or may not have something to do with that second glass of pinot grigio) five minutes later and your dinner partner will not begin rubbing their temples and looking as if they are developing a migraine.

#5–When you are at dinner with a girlfriend, that usually means that your husband is home with the kids, which usually means that he views you a little differently when you come home. Like, with dewy grateful eyes as the full realization of just what it takes to run this asylum dawns on him. OK, that has never actually happened to me. I come home to dirty dishes in the sink and nobody remembered to water the garden. But I’m not completely giving up on this one.

#4– It is inately understood that though about 90% of the evening’s conversation will be about other people’s lives, it is not ‘gossiping.’ ‘Gossip’ is a sexist term they use in sitcoms, it’s what the Desperate Housewives do over coffee and danish at Bree’s house. What we are doing is sharing and clarifying and exchanging information about people we know. Bless their hearts.

#3– You don’t have to listen to your husband talk about work, unless you really want to.

#2– It seems perfectly normal that it takes three return trips from the waiter before you have sufficiently settled in, exchanged greetings, looked over and discussed the menu choices and are now maybe ready to order your appetizer.


 And the #1 reason going out with your girlfriend(s) is better than going out with your husband?

You get to bitch about your husbands!


Thank you all for coming.  *bows deeply*


20 Responses

  1. themema

    hmmm, and to think that I will be having dinner with your husband next weekend. I’ll try to remember this quide of what to expect…check out the location of the bathroom ahead of time, know what I am going to order, make it quick and not too elegant, let him talk about his work, have the coffee on the table when he arrives,…….

  2. tori

    And if he bitches about me, deck him.
    I mean, remind him of what a blessing I am.

  3. belinda

    That’s too funny Betty, we just had lunch with her husband last week and knew none of this. At least you have heads up! Enjoy! If your concerts are as great as ours was, you will have a great weekend.

    Tori, glad you had a great time out!

  4. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well golly, gee whizz…and I’m home having dinner with my dog….listening to Russ Taff cd’s. Somethings not right here, folks!

    Tori, when I first started reading I thought for sure it was going to be about why women need girlfriends. Actually, it was….but the thought that came to mind for me is the woman who says, “I have never had girlfriends; I prefer men friends. Makes me want to work the room and take up a collection for this socially-deprived broad. Life without girlfriends is like breakfast without coffee….or worse.

    But, back to the subject of Russ Taff: He can sing while I do the dishes.

  5. auburn60

    That ‘rubbing your temples’ thing by your dinner partner? I get that a lot. I always thought it was…well…possibly migraines. (I’m trying to remember if you ever rubbed your temples when I was
    around,Tori. Now I’m paranoid.)
    And there’s a rule for gossip if you are a female raised in the South. You can say pretty much whatever you want,as long as it is followed by a ‘bless her heart’. As in ‘She has turned into such an alcoholic slut,bless her heart’. So see-you’re good.
    One thing my husband does when we go out is constantly rate the experience. I’ve never been with a female who does that. He talks about the food,the service, the decor and compares it to every other place we have ever been.Or he ruminates on all the other places we could have gone.He chats up the wait staff.He gets invited to visit the chef in the kitchen.He finds mutual friends or relatives with someone who works there. He exchanges business cards.By the time we leave (usually as the place is closing down)he has a whole new set of friends. I’m just sort of along for the ride.

  6. themema

    Ok Tori, I promise to deck him if he says anything bad about you. But I can tell you from experience, that he never has expressed anything but great appreciation for you to me. And he has had the chance, if he wanted to!

  7. tori

    Ok, in the interest of full disclosure I will admit that dining with Russ has its upsides. (Not that singing while I do the dishes is one of them. Heck, I’d sing if HE did the dishes!) In fact I will be dining with him this very p.m.- he is on his way home as we speak with a big bag full of take-out Indian food. The girls are gone for the weekend, and we shall enjoy a romantic dinner al fresco (I mean ‘we’re eating outside’, not ‘we’re eating nekkid’– that al fresco thing started sounding funny to me) on the deck, amidst the buzzing mosquitos and begging dogs. And I’m sure our sparkling conversation will sound just like a Noel Coward play.
    Possibly with burping.

  8. LindaB

    As long as we’re talking about having dinner with our husbands, I have this one complaint——-he eats too slow! I gulp my food down like a piranha—in about 9 seconds. Then I have to sit there and entertain myself while he cuts his food into little bites, chews each one thirty times, savors each bite, and talks in between each one. It drives me up the wall. And THEN, he has the audacity to make me feel guilty by saying how much he enjoys my company whenever we eat out! About how much better it is to have dinner with me than the neanderthals at work. And I just smile sweetly and say, “Why, thank you, dear! Can we go now? I have blogs to read, ya know.” Maybe they should have, along with premarriage counseling, a section on finding someone to mate with that eats at the same speed as you do. Not that I am not happy with my slow eater, I have adapted. I take my hand held Yatzee game in my purse for those long leisurely dinners out. And I think of how I will feel someday if he goes before me and I cannot look at him across the table, see that smile that says he’s happy to be with me, and tease him about eating so slowly. Or hear him laugh when I get out my Yatzee game and he starts chewing a little faster.

    Cracker Barrel has solved my problem though—-they have that little peg game at each table that keeps me busy throughout the whole meal!

  9. themema

    aaaaaww, so sweet. Mosquitos and all. So how did it go? What do you talk about when the girls are both gone. l o l.

  10. belinda

    We ate out yesterday right after I read this. It is so funny how men are all alike when you actually stop and think about it. You just kind of get use to stuff…..don’t really think about it….and then… come here and think, yes he does that….and that too…
    Men….can’t live without them. What joy they bring into our lives.

    So Tori….how was the Indian Food and the nice romantic dinner with your husband.. Blogging minds want to know. FYI he has always had nothing but praises for you when we have been around him. I can remember his comment that “going home is always the best part” after being on the road singing. Hope you two had a great evening.

  11. LindaB

    I don’t have anything else to say, I just have to post something so I can see the post after me because it’s hidden behind the black border along the right side of this page.

  12. belinda

    One question, do most of your husbands pick where you go out to eat or do they let you pick? I have a hard time getting Troy to pick where he wants to go out and eat, another story there. Sometimes he gets this funny little grin on his face when I ask him and he says “I don’t care” and I know that grin after, okay so close to 30 years we will call it 30 years that he has something in mind. After I finally drag it out of him, we go there because he has FINALLY said where he wants to eat. Do you girls have that problem?

  13. tori

    Dinner was lovely, thanks for asking. We talked about… the girls, themema, what else?! Ok, other stuff, too. The best part, embarrassingly enough, was not our wonderful conversation but the fact that I ordered two new things along with our ‘usuals’ and SCORE! on both counts. So, fyi, if you like Indian food, check and see if your favorite restaurant has chicken patia and piswari naan. Just saying.
    Linda, I am a faster eater than Russ, too. He’s not waay behind me, but my theory is that women get in the habit of shoveling food in quickly because they are usually eating standing up in the kitchen, while dealing with the kids and unloading the dishwasher simultaneously!
    Belinda, Russ will maybe offer an opinion about what sounds good to him, but he’s verrrry pliable..

  14. BrownEyedGirl

    I’m certainly the odd man (woman) out here. I have no close friends (by choice) and don’t go to dinner with my husband. Hmmm – don’t drink coffee either

    ( We both gourmet cook for fun – I have to fight him for the kitchen on the weekend :o) I’m totally blessed – most husbands I know, don’t cook ( Does Russ do any cooking , Tori??)

    Anyway, Tori, I’m glad you and Russ had a nice dinner – No girls for the whole weekend , Huh??? Hope you made the most of it!!

    and yes, I eat faster than my husband for the same reasons Tori stated – doing many things at once!! It’s a matter of survival !!

  15. belinda

    Don’t you love it when you pick something new and it is good and hey you got two new things and scored on both! Gotta love that!

    Troy has started doing a lot of cooking since he is semi-retired…waiting on next job to come about. He really is doing very well. He grew up with one person always deciding where they would go and where they would eat and he was determined when he got married he would not do that. I get excited when I seen that little grin that tells me HE DOES have something in mind. YES!!!! Of course now that he is doing more of the cooking when he calls to see what I want for supper I find great pleasure in saying “I don’t care” “I Don’t Know”, I always laugh and tell him how much fun it is paying him back for ALL the times he gave me those answers. He is trying new things, will miss it when he goes back to work, but maybe just maybe he will keep it up?

    He eats slower than me, always has but I don’t have the excuse of kids. Sometimes I’m finished before he has his plate fixed and sitting down to eat. Guess that comes from growing up. My Mom always fixed us lunch at home, yes we went home every day for a home cooked meal from school. You did not have any time to waste so we sat down ate and headed back to school. You had to eat fast.

    I think we might have to find us a Indian restraunt and try some of those dishes you suggested. Wonder if Troy could fix them? Maybe I’ll find a recipe?

  16. Barbara M. Lloyd

    This has been an interesting post. Just make the subject on husbands or food…..and in this case, both….which generated a lot of response. I would still be pouting over my being home with no husband and too much food….if it were not for the fact that I am pondering what is behind Belinda’s husband’s silly little grin.

  17. belinda

    Momma Lloyd trust me, he is up to NO good when he get’s that grin. Or maybe he is practing the RT shuffle in his head for next time we see you so he will be ready?

  18. gracelynn

    ROTFL This is great Tori! I just got home from a weekend away seeing Ivan and Gordon at their solo concerts. And my friend Wanda went with me and your Top Ten list sounds so much like us, especially the part about sitting in booths (we ALWAYS request a booth! Mainly because of my bad back….LOL), have a ball trying to figure out which restaurant we actually are going to dine at for lunch or dinner, and we always complain first and then move on to the laughing streaks. I will remember this list if and when I ever find the right man and get married. Wanda is divorced so I know she’ll understand your Top Ten when she reads it. LOL Oh and I’ll pass this list on to my friend Christine who is getting married the 23rd. She’ll need it! ;)

  19. LindaB

    What are “conch fritters”?

  20. kwr221

    Ooooh, I like your list. :-)

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