Here's the disclaimer: I'm a single girl living all alone in the big city. The last time a man took me out to a restaurant I had to beg him to get out of the La-Z-Boy. My reward was getting caught in a rainstorm and spending the entire meal with my teeth chattering because the restaurant's air conditioning froze my wet jeans nearly solid. So please, don't call me bitter. This is really just friendly advice.
Keep your couple behavior at home.
Dinner dates are fine. Couples usually make polite guests, and you tip well, because let's face it: I'm butlering your foreplay here. Often we'll share a little inside joke--maybe about the way he spilled his Crown and ginger all over your cheese plate, or how you tripped on the way to the bathroom and begged me not to tell him. Perhaps you're celebrating a birthday or an anniversary. That's lovely. I'll put a candle in your dessert and smile with real enthusiasm when I tell you to, "Have a great night."
But it's the other stuff.
Like proposals. I once waited on a man who proposed to his longtime girlfriend. Then they ordered a bottle of champagne. Then they toasted to love. And then she just got toasted. She polished off the champagne, guzzled most of the red wine and by dessert had face-planted on the table, occasionally bursting into a juicy snore. Two of our busboys had to help her new fiance haul her out of the restaurant--stumbling, mumbling and kicking.
Then there are the lovers. The groping. The panting. The finger-feeding. And of course the inevitable vanishing. No, real lovers don't walk out on the check--they take restroom pitstops, arriving back to the table flushed, mussed and giggling.
Come on, guys. I know the food's not that good.
And while I'm happy to look the other way while you take a quick peck on the lips, the full-on tongue lashings are not only kinda gross, they're mean. After all, some of us are going home alone.
And sometimes there are tears. Nothing's more awkward than trying to approach a table to offer beverage refills when the girlfriend is red-eyed and puddle-faced and her boyfriend won't look at her. The only thing worse than waiting on a crying girl is waiting on a crying guy. And then there's the dreaded combo platter: the couple who are obviously breaking up, both in tears. Can I get you another cocktail? Or would you just prefer a stack of Kleenex?
In short, public couple behavior is one thing. But private is quite another, and it's almost never appropriate over dinner. Then again, what do I know? I'll be eating out alone again tonight. Table for one, please.