Mizz Manners

Last night I had some time to kill before a friend's reading and decided to take myself out for a solo, post-birthday dinner at one of my fave restaurants. I took a seat at the bar, placed my order, and sipped a delicious and refreshing Anchor Steam while I waited.

As I was imagining what my dinner might taste like and wondering if I'd ever be able to afford a pony, a party of three and a half (one was only a couple of months old) was seated directly behind me. I girded myself for a screaming infant, but relaxed once it became clear that this kid was pretty quiet. Only a few grunts and squeals and he settled down.

Which is more than I can say for the adults. One of the guys (there were two men and a woman) started telling the others about his ex-boyfriend, whom he desperately wanted to get back together with, except the ex lived in Paris and my next-door diner lived here and had no plans to return to the City of Lights. He confided that he secretly hoped the ex would move to America and they could live happily ever after together.

The woman (herself French) and the other guy (American with Eurotrash aspirations) urged him to get back together with his ex despite the long distance and just negotiate the relationship so that each could have other lovers. (BTW, "lovers" is their word, not mine. Blech.)

The heartbroken one demurred, saying he couldn't handle that. He told them he was a nice Jewish boy whose parents still loved each other very much, and that was what he wanted: a boy to grow old with. He didn't want the man he loved sleeping around, nor did he want to bang a bunch of other guys on the side. I thought it was kind of sweet.

But his friends begged to differ. They called him uptight and insecure and informed him that everybody cheats and he was being unrealistic.

The woman was especially hard on him—doing everything in her power to make him feel like some kind of throwback jerk. So I did my best to tune her out and instead concentrated on the delicious plate of portobello-and-ricotta ravioli that the handsome waiter had placed in front of me. Yum.

I'd finished about half of my plate in relative peace when I heard a commotion behind me.

"Somebody's stinky," one of the Americans laughed.

His mom agreed. "I must change zee diaper," she informed them, making no move to get up from her table. A table that was holding several plates of snacks and a selection of fruity cocktails.

I looked down at my plate and tried as hard as I could to ignore what I was hoping against hope was not going on behind me. I gulped down another ravioli as I heard the telltale sound of tape ripping off plastic.

I couldn't help it; I turned to look.

Yep. It was as I thought. This broad was changing her kid's diaper in the middle of a restaurant, mere inches from where I was eating. And this wasn't an IHOP or Denny's, either. We're talking a cloth napkin/10-buck cocktail kinda joint. She pulled out a wet wipe from her designer diaper bag and gave her spawn's poopy ass a thorough wipe-down.

I began to gag and vainly tried to get my waiter's attention.

As I waved madly, I wondered what the hell was going through her mind. The bathroom was only maybe 20 feet from their table. She was healthy enough to go out carousing with her buddies; surely she could manage a brief stroll to the can. I know having a kid can be exhausting, but I've been drunk and tired and yet have never even considered changing my tampon at the table. Just because I technically could doesn't mean I should.

And why weren't her friends saying anything? She was obviously the alpha of the group, but two against one should be able to win in the war against public poop, shouldn't it?

Maybe this story doesn't have much to do with relationships, but it just struck me that if she was such a fine example of progressiveness and open-mindedness, I'm quite happy being an uptight old harpy.

Dating dilemmas? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western Ave., Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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