A few weeks ago, my oldest sister and I were having a hilarious dialogue about dating, full of all of the sister snarkiness and lexicon that is our rapport. I was wondering why I haven't been asked out, and I reminded her that I used to date a lot, in fact, when I met Sawan I was seeing a couple of other guys that I had to end things with. I told her, “I mean, I’m kind of a big deal.” She said, while wagging a finger, “That right there? That’s your problem.” I may or may not have snottily used the F-word with her.
A few nights later, the owner of the salon took her other booth-renter and I out to dinner, something we had been meaning to do since Christmas but hadn’t gotten around to yet. This was one of her favorite restaurants from last year’s 5280 restaurant week previews (for you non-Denverites, that’s where all the fine dining restaurants in town do a prix fix tasting menu so that people will try their restaurant, and it only costs $52.80/couple). It was an Asian fusion place. I never go out to dinner anymore, unless you count Chipotle, and as I was sitting there I realized how out of the fine dining loop I've been since Sawan died (I had heard nothing about this place). At any rate, I was completely unimpressed with the food and service (the bartender could barely open the bottle of wine, a busser was in such a rush that she spilled food off of plates down my back and didn't even notice, and I would probably only order one of the dishes again, but I will say that that one dish was amazing) and would have completely written off the whole experience except for one thing: the chef came by to say "hi."
I’ve been at restaurants where chefs did table visits, but usually they then make the rounds, and this chef only came to our table. He mostly addressed the owner of my shop, but they had a nice conversation and he kept glancing over at me, and at one point stopped mid-sentence, turned to me and said, “By the way, you have amazing hair.” He found me completely distracting, which is always fun. As soon as he left, the other girls started conspiring to get him my number, which I just wasn’t super-stoked about. As we vacated our table, one of our party went outside to smoke, while the owner and I went to use the ladies room. As she and I headed for the door, he held it for us, and before I knew it, right in front of me, she’s working on a set-up. AWK-WARD. I wanted to dissapear. But, whatever, all press is good press, I figured. I was trying not to hear. She passed him a phone number, and then we left (I gave him a shy little wave). As the three of us walked to the car, I pointed out that it was 11:30 p.m. on a Thursday and he was still at work. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be with a restaurant guy again (no matter how attractive I had found him). They work every holiday. They work late. They never see their significant other. It’s a rough life for everyone.
I didn’t think much of it for a few days, and then I decided that I’d check him out on the internet. You know, just to see. I started out with the restaurant’s website, because I couldn’t remember what he’d told us his name was. Then, I googled him. Then, I began to laugh. He is only 34. He was the executive chef at a famous New York restaurant (that I had heard of) before he moved here (pretty amazing for a 34 year old). He was ranked in some NYC magazine as one of their top 5 singles. Then I thought I’d check to see if the 5280 Magazine food critic, a good acquaintance of mine, had reviewed his restaurant. She had. She said that him opening a restaurant in Denver meant that the food scene in Denver had arrived. Then I went to his Facebook fanpage and found him pictured with several of my favorite Top Chef winners, and found out that he was competing for this year’s James Beard Award (kind of like the Oscars for chefs). The further I got, the harder I laughed. I thought to myself, "OMG, this guy dates supermodels, I’m sure. He’s never gonna call me!" (And, while we’re at it, I felt like a total idiot: I clearly have a very unrefined palette if I didn’t like his food.)
So, I got to work the next day and told my girlfriend, the owner, all of this, and she quietly listened to me (not something she regularly does) tell the whole story, and then she sweetly said, “I gave him my number, not yours, telling him that I'd like to set the two of you up, and he did call twice this weekend.” He left no message, but a google search of the phone number had shown where the calls came from.
Now, I never did hear from the guy again, but I truly was being honest, that I don’t want to be with a restaurant guy. So I’ve had as much fun with this whole deal as I wanted to. The bottom line is, after feeling so invisible for so long, it’s nice to know that, well, I’m kind of a big deal.