Saturday, December 19, 2015

Dating And Vegan Eggs

Tonight's cocktail is a Lady Outlaw from Teddy and the Bully Bar in DC: vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon sour, and lavender bitters.



For those keeping score at home, 6 months out from having my heart smashed, burned, and the ashes scattered to the winds, I'm slowly but surely starting to turn this fucker around. Still, I fear I may end up like Miss Havisham, because I have zero interest in the dating scene. I haven't had a real first date with a new person in 21 years. The prospect would be terrifying under any circumstances, even without the profound and serious trust issues I've developed of late. If I were to, say, meet someone for coffee, the scenario in my mind is something like this:

Perfectly Nice Man (walks up to my table): It's so nice to meet you!

Me: Pffft. Yeah, whatever, dude. You want to ruin my life and make me wish I'd never been born? NOT TODAY, ASSHOLE. (flips off Perfectly Nice Man)

Perfectly Nice Man: Well, why don't we just have coffee?

Me: Coffee. (Making universal jackoff motion) RIGHT. You just want to get me to trust you long enough for it to really hurt when you dump me on my ass. No, thank you. I SAY GOOD DAY SIR!

Suffice it to say, I'm not ready. However, after watching a fair amount of Netflix with my pets, I decided to let an old friend take me out to a nice dinner next time he was in town. He came over and fixed my sink first, as a bonus. That's not a euphemism, I swear.

Finally! A working sprayer! Also not a euphemism!

The evening was going fine - relaxed chatter, cocktails, no worries. And then. I heard her before I saw her. High-pitched, nasal voice: "We're visiting from New York. You won't be sorry for giving us a table. We eat well, and we tip well." Wondering who in God's name says that, I spotted an admittedly hot-looking 20-something blonde woman in a tight, white strapless dress and red stilettos, accompanied by a standard-issue 20-something dude-bro. They sat at the table right behind us (I could see them, but my friend's back was to them), because of course they did.

Hot Girl: (disdainfully) Well, they SAID they had vegan dishes, but I don't think they know what vegan is down here.

Dudebro: Babe, you eat eggs. You're not a vegan.

Hot Girl: (loudly) That's BULLSHIT! (slaps table!) I only eat eggs from my family's chickens!

Dudebro: But they're animal products.  So you're not vegan.

Hot Girl: Those chickens are FREE RANGE! (slap) They're raised HUMANELY! (slap) They have a GREAT LIFE! (slap slap)

Dudebro: But eggs aren't vegan.

Hot Girl: But those chickens are VEGAN! I can't BELIEVE you'd throw that in my FACE! (slap)

Dudebro: Whatever, let's order.

Hot Girl (to waiter): Where's your ladies' room?

Waiter: Past the bar, first door to your left.

Hot Girl: Can you walk me there?

Waiter: Ummmm, ok?

Hot Girl (returning, with waiter, who she'd apparently made wait for her while she was in the bathroom?): Did you at least order the food?

Dudebro: No, I didn't want to order anything without talking to you first, because of this vegan thing.

Hot Girl: This THING? (slap) These are my CONVICTIONS! (slap)

Dudebro: OK, whatever, but you clearly have opinions ...

Hot Girl: (orders food, after extensively questioning the waiter and asking for about a million exceptions)

For awhile, I'm able to focus again on my dinner companion. We order the tasting menu. It's delightful.

*Food arrives at other table*

Hot Girl: (scoffs) This "FOOD" (she actually used air quotes) is NOT vegan!

Dudebro: How do you know?

Hot Girl: I just DO! (slap) They put butter on it, I KNOW it!

Dudebro: Well, maybe they talked nicely to the cows while they were milking them?

Hot Girl: There you go AGAIN! (slap) Always minimizing! This is SERIOUS to me!

Waiter: Ma'am, I specifically instructed the chef, and he assured me...

Hot Girl: Well, I can TASTE the butter!

Waiter: Ma'am, the chef used extra-virgin avocado oil to saute the ...

Hot Girl: Yeah, whatever. I want to go now.

Dudebro: Look, I'm hungry. I'm eating. You can do what you want. (to waiter) Can you please bring her another cocktail?

Hot Girl: (glares, sulks while Dudebro eats) Can we GO and get some REAL food now?

Dudebro: Look, I'm eating. It tastes real to me. You can eat or not. After, we can stop and get you a salad or something.

Hot Girl: I'm HUNGRY! (slap) I want more than a salad!

Dudebro: Well, then eat this. It's vegan!

Hot Girl: No, it's NOT! (slap)

Dudebro: Look, I'm sorry we came here. Let me finish my food. Then we will find you something to eat that doesn't have non-vegan eggs or whatever.

Hot Girl: MY FAMILY'S EGGS ARE VEGAN!!!!!!!

At this point, a lot happened. Hot Girl stormed out of the restaurant, or tried to, but got in a fight with the doors, which won. Dudebro followed, there was yelling, which I sadly couldn't hear. Dudebro came back in to pay, went out to try to reason with crazy, then came back to sign the charge slip. By this point, my friend and I left the restaurant. I tried to persuade him to let me hide in the bushes and spy, but he said that was tacky. Killjoy. Hot Girl was standing on the corner, looking like she might hurl into the gutter. My friend asked her if she needed us to put her in a cab to wherever she was staying. Hot Girl suddenly drew herself up and icily stated that she didn't need ANYTHING, thank you. So we left.

Here's what sticks with me. That guy had to have known his date was 10 pounds of crazy in a 5 pound sack when he agreed to accompany her on a trip to D.C. Obviously, she was drunk at dinner, but nobody morphs from normal to batshit crazy pseudo-vegan no matter how much they've been drinking. He got in an enclosed space - plane, train, or car - with all that crazy, voluntarily. I don't care how hot she was, or how flexible, or what things she could do with her tongue; there's no way a reasonably sane person of any gender or sexual orientation could spend more than an hour in an enclosed space with her without wanting to poke his or her own ears out with a ballpoint pen. I don't get it.

I'm definitely not ready.

Parenthood: Now With Science!

Tonight's cocktail can be with or without booze (I recommend bourbon), as the spirit moves you, or doesn't. Chanukah is already over for me and mine, but the wonders of Jewish Christmas (Chinese food and movies - yes, we really do that) await. Also, we still have another 2 weeks to drink eggnog. I'd like to be fancy and say I used Alton Brown's recipe, but I think we all know that I poured it straight from the carton. At least I used a glass.

This time.
"Eggnog2" by Dinner Series - http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/6554389497/in/set-72157628525251275/lightbox/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eggnog2.jpg#/media/File:Eggnog2.jpg

If you're a procrastinator like me and still have gifts to buy, and if you have any parents on your list, I'm here to solve a problem for you. Buy them all copies of Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel and Jessica Ziegler. Trust me on this. In the midst of the chaotic, sometimes-isolated, sleep-deprived blur that parenting can create, this book is a much-needed reality check because it illustrates the univeral whatthefuckness of it all. You're not the only one whose child invariably needs to poop for 30 minutes when you're about to be on time somewhere for once. You're not the only one whose child decides without notice to stop eating her favorite go-to meal, which you've just put in front of her. You're not the only one who does not get the point of travel sports. We are all dealing with the same crap from our beloved munchkins, and, when we're able to see how funny it all is, life becomes more manageable.

For example, while playdates with kids you and your kid both like, and whose parents you like, are awesome, the book excerpt below shows that it doesn't always work out that way:

Play dates. They should really be things of beauty and harmony. Or at the very least, simple convenience. After all, the idea is that Someone Else is entertaining your child so that you get a few hours of peace to do things like scroll through Facebook. Or read a book  (hint! hint!) Or enjoy the pure pleasure of holding a complete, coherent thought in your head.

But, to crib a bit from poet Robert Burns, the best laid plans for play dates often go awry. As I discovered one Saturday afternoon when I invited a girl from my son's class — a sweet, blonde girl I knew he had a crush on — to come rollerskating with us.

I'll admit, while I liked the classmate, I was kinda meh about Blonde Girl's Mom ever since my kid reported that while he'd been at her house for a play date, he'd spent the entire afternoon shooting virtual deer with a rifle while playing Big Buck Hunter. I wasn't familiar with that particular video game, but seeing my babysitter's eyes go wide when he described it was enough to let me know it was hardly an all-ages game. Still, he adored Blonde Girl, so I was willing to give the play date thing another go. I figured the kids could skate; Blonde Girl's Mom and I could spend a little Mom-To-Mom time getting to know each other. Who knew? Maybe we'd bond over a shared love of '70s and '80s roller rink muzak.

And well, not even close.

"My toddler's having a melt-down, so could you keep an eye on these kids while I take him home?" was how Blonde Girl's Mom greeted me at the skating rink door. No Hi. No Great to see you. Glad you made it. Just a string of words that came out so fast, it sounded like one really long word: Mytoddlershavingameltdownsocouldyoukeepaneyeonthesekidswhileittakehimhome?

Wait. What?

My eyes hadn’t even adjusted to the darkness of the skating rink. But I quickly saw what was going on. I'd invited her daughter to go skating with my son. And Blonde Girl's Mom had shown up with an entourage that included her daughter, her daughter's younger sister and the girls' two besties. And, oh yes, the toddler who was flailing around on the floor screaming like he was being filleted with long knives. And she wanted me to keep track of all of them in a dark rink?  On wheels? So she could go HOME? Oh, hell no!

In her defense, I could see that request being made in a moment of pure temporary insanity. We've all had that unnerving three-year-old-tantrum-in-a-public-place experience. (And if you haven't yet, don't worry, you will.) But the horrified look on my face and my flat refusal to be responsible for five kids in a dark rink, on wheels should have snapped her right back to reality. I mean, in your head that might sound like a plausible, even good, idea. But once the words are out of your mouth and you actually hear them, you gotta think, Of course not. That's just crazy talk.

As I proceeded to rent my kid skates, I wondered why my darling child didn't want to go skating with any of the kids whose parents I like to hang out with ... who'd never think of saddling a fellow mom with an unruly, unfamiliar brood so they could make a quick getaway.

Still, the afternoon could have been a lot worse. And there was a silver lining: It was unlikely that Blonde Girl’s Mom and I would be getting together again. Ever.  

Norine Dworkin-McDaniel is co-author with illustrator Jessica Ziegler of the new book Science of Parenthood: Thoroughly Unscientific Explanations for Utterly Baffling Parenting Situations, published in November by She Writes Press. Follow Science of Parenthood on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Is Science of Parenthood coming to your town? Check out our tour schedule. Want Science of Parenthood to come to your town? Message us

*Note: I did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, which was easy to give because I snort-laughed through the whole thing. I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.*

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