Tag Archives: Dinner Challenge

Dinner Challenge–Not Getting Murdered By Dean Cain

I was watching SVU (“Starved”) with my F-i-L and noticed an eerie parallel between the episode and my Arlene Dahl-inspired Dinner Challenge: 

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Yep. That’s the face of a creep.

Dean Cain plays Dr. Jergens, a control freak who rapes women who don’t like what he orders for them.  Mariska goes undercover at a speed dating event to try and catch him, and he orders her a dirty martini, which sounds disgusting and she says no (NO MEANS NO, SUPERMAN!) so he tries to follow her and the Stabler and Ice-T spout some cliches and haul him away and I assume he goes to jail although I didn’t finish the episode.  Maybe he kills himself and Ice-T shakes his head.  Maybe he gets away and Mariska makes that open-mouth fish face she makes when she realizes that Dick Wolf’s name is about to come up and she hasn’t finished her case.

Moral of the story–if you don’t like what your date orders for you, just be careful he’s not Dean Cain.  Go ahead and mace him, just in case. 

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Dinner Challenge #2: Boudreaux N Thibodeaux’s

“If only men back then knew how much easier things were women made their own decisions,” Mike wrote in an email as we went back and forth about the dinner challenge.  He labored over this for over a week, checking Yelp reviews, debating khakis vs. jeans and generally fretting himself into a mess.  “Can’t you give me a hint?” he demanded on more than one occasion.

Nope.  I want to be smart by Arlene’s standards, and she says that the man makes the decisions.

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Gee, thanks

Mike is my oldest guy friend and one of my closest friends, even if he did kick off the evening by telling me my new haircut was “Very Paul Dano-esq.” (more on this tomorrow).  He makes me laugh, he knows what to say when I’m sad about my writing and tricks me into thinking he’s listening when I talk about Walton Goggins.

He didn’t tell me where we were going, and so I got sort of worked up myself.  I bought a new sweater, got a new haircut (more on this tomorrow) and wore my Betsey Johnson booties.  Mike said he was wearing jeans, so I wore my black skinny jeans.  Even in jeans, I wanted to look date-worthy.

Mike chose Boudreaux ‘n’ Thibodeaux’s, a Cajun place I’ve never eaten at before but had heard it was good.  He ordered hush puppies, sweet potato fries and jambalya for us to split, which erased the points he lost by making fun of my haircut.  He also complimented me on my new sweater, which is nice, because it’s brand new.

I’ve never had Cajun food, because I’m scared of the spicyness. The hush puppies were good, a little dry, and the sweet potato fries were great.  But the jambalya was amazing.  The spices blossomed on the tongue rather than burned it off.  It was the ultimate in comfort food, and I was glad I had leftovers to take home and have later.

It’s a small joint, mostly take-out, but there was another group having a series of very random conversations, including yelling out RECTANGLES! at one point.

Now Mike is one of my dearest friends, but he had a little trouble grasping the concept of this project.  He’s one of those people who is always right in his opinion, but doesn’t take his own advice to heart and couldn’t quite see why I didn’t take his compliment about my haircut as such.  “Paul Dano is awesome!” was his defense, which is fair, except that women generally don’t like to have dude haircuts.

In another instance, I mentioned that I was done with Kevin Smith movies, because Kevin Smith is a pop culture junkie idiot loudmouth, and he told me to “get over it” and see Clerks 2, the way you’d tell a child to “get over” not like asparagus.

This from a guy who won’t see movies with Julia Roberts in them–not even Closer with Clive Owen and Natalie Portman, both who he really likes–because Julia Roberts beat out another actress he liked for an Oscar.  Bear in mind she didn’t beat out his mother or his cousin, just another actress.

But if you tell him to “get over it,” well, it’s different, of course, because Mike is always right in everything he does.   But part of him being one of my best friends is loving him in spite of his faults because he loves me in spite of all mine.

So when I told him about some of the projects, he had advice for how to do it better or why I shouldn’t do it at all.  This project is a way for me to explore not only the world around me, but myself.  Do I get more done when I get up early?   Do people treat me better when I smile?  If I stop swearing, do I have more fun with words?  But for him, that impeded on my individuality, and he couldn’t understand why I would do any of this and not just say “screw you, I’m ordering my own dinner.”  Because I wouldn’t have ever tried Jambalya, that’s why!

It ended with me yelling WHY CAN’T YOU JUST SUPPORT ME AND NOT CRITICIZE EVERYTHING I DO?!?!, which, under normal circumstances, is a pretty bad way to end a date.  He just sort of stared, and then I apologized for yelling, and the evening went on as usual.

As for a date, well, Arlene would probably not approve of me yelling.  But I had a good time, and I hope Mike did too.  I’m two for two on great food.  Nice job Mike.  Rectangles.

Dinner Challenge #1–Gritty’s.

“In a restaurant, let your mate or date do the ordering. It’s more fun to eat hot dogs with a man than caviar by yourself. You may know more about vintage wines than the wine steward, but if you’re smart you’ll let your man do the choosing and be ecstatic over his selection, even if it tastes like shampoo.” Arlene Dahl, Always Ask a Man

“I’m going to take you to Gritty’s,” my BFF/writing partner Matthew said.  “Because I want you to feel like you’re at home.”

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If I had a Pop Tart right now, I’d eat it in the bathtub!

Matthew and I are up in Freeport, ME for our annual graduate program alumni meeting and he is the subject of tonight’s study in having men order me dinner.  Here’s the thing: I like food.  A lot.  Eating delicious food is one of my greatest joys in life, and Freeport has some of the best food in the world.  Great seafood chowder, amazing lobster rolls, Wicked Whoopee Pies in Red Velvet and Orange and Gingerbread, and Gritty’s pork fries with maple sour cream, (which I will NOT be smearing on my legs.)  And beer.  Oh the beer!

Matthew and I travel a lot together, and he knows what I like to eat, so I put him in charge of picking where we were going to go and ordering for me tonight.  He hemmed and hawed over some menus and decided on Gritty’s.

Once there, I didn’t even look at the menu.  We were seated at the same long table as a father and son.  The dad complimented my herringbone cap.  I felt very pretty.  I wanted a glass of water, but everything was up to Matthew, so I didn’t say anything.

“This is nerve-wracking,” Matthew said, pouring over the menu.  “Do you like mushrooms?”

I let slip and said no, because mushrooms are gross.  Oops.  I would have pretended to be ecstatic if he’d ordered something with mushrooms, even as I silently gagged on them.  For drinks, he ordered us two Red Claw ales, which I had never had.  Normally at Gritty’s, I get the 21 IPA, or, in the summer, Vacationland.  For dinner, he ordered us each a pork shank with ginger, because he had never had one either.  

“I wanted us to have the same thing because I wanted us to be on equal footing,” he said. We really are partners.

The beer was excellent and the pork was delicious.  Perfectly seasoned, but way too much of it. We probably could have split one and still had leftovers.  The bacon hash on the side was a little much, probably could have gone with potatoes or something a little more carb-y.  But all and all, a genuine good pick, and I’m not just saying that because Arlene told me to.