Sunday, February 14, 2010

Paris Valentines and Our Exploding Heads. (aka: L'Amour in the Poutiest City in the WORLD)

I remember last year's Valentine's experience in Paris and if history is any indicator, I'm in for a treat. Last time went to a lovely restaurant near the Champs, the evening promised to be memorable as we clinked champagne flutes. It was unforgettable, just not in the way I expected.

The ritzy place was packed. You had your romantic old couples, your fresh young lovers, your first dates, and married types, etc. with one thing in common: They were all severely constipated.

Well, that's what I'm guessing anyway based on the looks on their faces.

A noob to the v-day dinner scene in Paris, I was scanning the room for other star-crossed lovers, which only seemed to lodge Cupid's arrow further up their asses.

You know how you're not supposed to look animals directly in the eyes because it's considered an act of aggression? Well the same rule applies to dinner guests apparently.

I glanced at the sweet old couple next to us, twitched a timid smile at them and feared the Gucci-clad-ice-queen was going to pelt me with focaccia rolls from the ornate porcelain bowl next to her. This is not done. I should've known, I mean this ain't my first time at the rodeo, and looking at people is asking for trouble.

And so it was that I learned rule numéro un about dinner in Paris:

Look at your plate...EYES ON PLATE DAMMIT!!

Pretend everything other than your plate is a burning, white-hot sun that will make your head burst into flames if you look directly at it, and you may yet survive.

After Geriatric-inferno-woman was done burning holes into my face, I don't know what got into me. I actually expected to eat. It had been roughly ten hours since my last meal. Bad idea. By the time our cocktails arrived I was considering cannibalism and my stomach sounded like a band of riled demons were ready to burst out of me like in Alien; which prompted more annoyed looks that unmistakably said "fucking control your bodily functions, hobo."

Hence... rule number two:

Eat before you go eat.

If you're going out to a really nice place, please remember that the more you pay, the less you will be consuming. Our dinner that night was comparable to what I used to feed my hamster, only slathered in butter sauce, topped with little bits of visible fat and something called emulsion whose contents were both mysterious and frightening. It was delicious and completely unsatisfying, and I think I ate desert in one giant mouthful and washed it down with a basket of bread.

If you're a faithful reader, then rule number three should be obvious to you. When going out in the city, there's an unspoken rule about the check.

Paying takes at LEAST forty-five minutes.

Need to be somewhere after your dinner? Not anymore friend. Nope, you're not goin' anywhere. Whip out your sleeping bag and jammies, because this could take all night. There's a process. A timeline. And it must be respected. I'll lay it out for you in a real-life situation...

11:00 - you try and get the waiters attention, frantically waving your hands and screaming garçon!!! at the top of your lungs.
11:15 - said waiter lazily trots to your neighbor's table, asks if they need anything, then leaves without a glance in your direction.
11:25 - you stand up at your table and being waving semaphore flags, indicating that you need to pay.
11:30 - the waiter comes over to ask why you're being so obnoxious.
11:31 - your head explodes.
11:32 - your dinner date explains that you need the check and you will be paying by card.
11:40 - the waiter begins clearing deserted tables.
11:50 - the waiter brings you the check... but not the machine for the card.
11:51 - your date's head explodes.
11:57 - you go to the front of the restaurant with your card & check in hand.
12:00 - you pay, you leave 1€ tip, and petulantly mumble something under your breath much to the delight of the waiter.

Happy Valentine's Day, you are now both headless and out 200€.


  1. Hello there Shannon
    Just hilarious - what can I say! You have made me laugh out loud when I was feeling so sad today.

  2. Glad you liked it & glad to have made someone smile when having a bad day!
    Hope you keep reading & laughing


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