Many of you have heard me rant on ad nauseum about the increasing lack of social graces in this country. Indeed it seems as though etiquette, and Jesus! Even basic table manners have disappeared faster than a box of doughnuts after a Weight Watchers meeting. Now, I’m not talking about some Emily-Post-white-glove-nineteen different-shrimp/salad/dinner-forks-around-your plate-like-it’s-a-fucking-cutlery-Stonehenge type of dickery; I’m talking about basic knowledge like not clipping your toenails in line at Chipotle or regaling me with the history of your last pap smear over your cell phone in Starbucks. Most people seem to be accepting of this slow disintegration of civility while other
assholes concerned citizens such as myself have simply lined their personal borders with razor wire and gun turrets as a grand “Fuck you” to the general public.
Never before was such a surreal breach of etiquette made manifest than at dinner last Saturday night. OK, a little backstory just to get the party started. . .
All this week I have been as giddy as a Japanese teen in a Hello Kitty store because ((“SQUEE!”)) my Twitter-brutha Curtis and his friend Jamie were coming to Portland from Cali to celebrate his 30th birthday!*
*This was the first time I’d met Curtis in person and his fabulousness did not disappoint. Nor did Jamie’s. . .within 5 minutes of knowing her she belched in my presence and let me touch her boobs. I’m in love with them both.
So after a day of shopping, eating, and mocking the patrons of the Saturday Market we began preparing for dinner. Now, not only was Curtis turning 30, but his cousin Vickie was as well so they had planned an entire 30’s themed dinner party, complete with full vintage costume. I, of course, being
a nonconformist way too fucking lazy to buy a costume, showed up in a sequined mini-dress and platform fuschia heels.*
*My neighbor told me I looked like J-Lo. . .or maybe she said I’m a ‘ho. Either way, yea me!
When we arrived at the restaurant, Curtis, Jamie and I were a trifle annoyed to find that the majority of the guests showed up around 8:00pm for a 7:30pm reservation. Now, first of all, I eat like a goddamned octogenarian so this dining after eight crap does not set well with my metabolism. By the time each guest was seated, I was ready to go all Uruguyan soccer player on the next asshole who walked by.
Curtis and Jamie were seated to my right, and a lovely blonde couple took up residence on my left. They introduced themselves as Sean and Amber and that is when the evening’s festivities began in earnest. Within five minutes I had ascertained that Sean was one of those overgrown fraternity assholes who enjoys binge drinking and regaling you with tales of his days dropping Bing cherries from his ass into shot glasses at the Phi Delt house and Amber had about as much going on upstairs as a yam.*
*I hate to be judgmental, but I’m just so fucking GOOD at it!
Immediately Sean crept under my skin when he began scouring the menu as though there would be a quiz on it later and informed Amber that, “We’d better share the chicken because it’s so expensive here!” He then proceeded to grin like Joe Isuzu on crack and blather on to me about how much money he made. Curtis and I tried to avert our eyes and avoid engaging but it was like being trapped on a cross-country flight with a Jehovah’s Witness who sells life insurance. There was no escape.
We had a slight reprieve while the salads were being served, but as Curtis’ was placed before him he excused himself to have a photo taken with his lovely cousin. At that moment a hand darted in front of me and grabbed at Curtis’ salad bowl.
“What IS this?” cried Sean, passing the bowl to Amber. She shrugged blankly as he took the bowl back and I watched in abject horror as he poked one of the beets with his index finger and loudly sniffed the bowl's contents. “Seriously, what IS this?”
“I. . .it’s beets.” I stammered as Jamie stifled her laughter between bites of baguette. “Umm. . .let’s put it back, OK?” He shrugged and handed back Curtis’ salad bowl. As Curtis came back to the table I just had time to hiss “Holy fucking shit, he just SNIFFED your salad!” before Curtis dropped his fork in horror.
Then the entrees arrived. Sean and Amber judiciously divided their discount chicken and ((shudder)) began to feed one another. Then Sean’s gaze drifted over to our dinners.
“Whoa!” he hooted, pointing at Curtis’ plate “that looks awesome! What did you get?”
“It’s duck.” Curtis said flatly, hoping to deflect any further interaction.
“Man, I gotta try that!” grinned Sean as he reached toward Curtis’ plate.
“Here!” cried Curtis, brandishing a piece before him on a fork, “Just take it!”
After first attempting to (I shit you not) eat from Curtis’ fork, Curtis recoiled and flung the meat onto Sean’s plate like he was slopping the hogs. I then caught Sean eying my dish.
Damn! That looks awesome!” he shouted with glee, fork at the ready, “are those scallops?” OK, first of all, I don’t share food. I just. . .no. Secondly, it was now about 9:00pm and you don’t fuck with a psychotically aggressive woman with the blood sugar of Lot’s wife. “Yes they are,” I replied “I’d offer you some but I’m not sure if my latest herpes outbreak is in full remission”. He retreated reluctantly with one last longing gaze at my shellfish.
Jamie looked up from her dinner thoughtfully. “I’m picturing a scenario involving a remote cabin…and wolves. It’s not fully fleshed out though.” As I was stifling my laughter yet again I heard my phone chirp. I extracted it from my bag and read the text while Curtis gazed innocently around the table.
After that we kept our phones ensconced in our laps so as to better share the snark in peace as we watched our fellow guests dodging Sean’s fork like it was a fight scene from “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.
It was at that point that his sweet yet dim-witted girlfriend Amber leaned over with a smile.
“Vickie and are such good friends. I’m sooooo glad I could be here for her 30th birthday. Are you her mom?”
Wait. . .Back. The fuck. Up. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t mind surrounding myself with stupid people. The clever ones just get bored and aren’t as easy to manipulate but did she? I. . .wait, wha-WHAT!?!?
“No”, I smiled through clenched teeth. “You see, that would make me ten when she was born”. Amber pondered this thoughtfully while I blackened Curtis’ shins under the table to keep him from laughing himself into an asthma attack.
“Oh,” Amber slowly drawled, “yeah. . .that probably wouldn’t work.”
“I don’t know,” Curtis replied, “have you seen most of those ten year old girls today? Whores. All of them, whores.”
Amber nodded solemnly and began attempting to eat her vegetables. Unfortunately, as she was in full vintage gear, she was struggling and loudly bemoaned the fact that she wasn’t sure how to eat her carrots without getting her gloves dirty.
“Well,” Jamie offered helpfully, “you could always take OFF your gloves. And of course, there are forks. Forks are good.”*
*I pride myself in my ability to mask my blatant sarcasm but Jamie was a thing of wonder. That bitch could fake it like a whore being paid by the moan. Much love, Jamie. ((s-l-o-w c-l-a-p))
Thrilled with her newfound ability to use cutlery, Amber dove into her vegetables with glee while Vickie’s boyfriend led everyone in a round of Happy Birthday. As for the performance of said song, let me simply note that each time the words “you” were uttered, Sean made ‘shooting guns’ fingers at both Vickie and Curtis and finished the final crescendo by standing and making. . .wait for it. . .jazz hands. I will now give you a moment to absorb the true douchebaggery of it all.
((moment of silence))
As the party was winding down, Sean noticed that the party in the next room was exiting as well. Without a word, he rose and made his way to the adjoining room. He returned shortly after with a plate laden with food.
“Wait,” I sputtered “did. . .did you just take food from someone else’s party?”
“Damn, this is AMAZING!” he mumbled while cramming food into his greasy maw. “What IS this shit?” Moments later the restaurant manager arrived at his side and he quickly grabbed her arm. “Hey, what were they eating in there? This is great!”
Looking stunned, but God bless her professional to the core she politely informed him as to the contents of his pilfered food.
“Since they’re all done, can you box this shit up for me?” he grinned; mouth smeared with mustard sauce. Visibly recoiling, the manager stepped slowly away from the table and retreated to the kitchen. It was at this point that Curtis, Jamie and I bid our adieus and wandered back to the hotel room in stunned silence.
“If I hadn’t witnessed it I would totally call bullshit if you described that dinner.” I whispered quietly.
“It. . .I. . .there are no words.” Curtis agreed, shaking his head slowly.
Jamie looked up in fear, “Oh Jesus, you don’t think they’ll breed, do you?”
The three of us shuddered in silence and stared straight ahead, trying desperately to process the evening.
I know we should be a world of ‘live and let live’ and that far too often we get caught up in the Orwellian mentality of shoving our noses into other people’s lifestyles, but for the love of God, Mother Mary, and the Sweet Baby Jeebus we are not a soluistic society, so unless you want me to punch you so hard that you scream like a Backstreet Boy taking a polo mallet to the nuts then take one for the team and at least ATTEMPT to behave like a fully evolved homo sapien in public. And to Sean and the rest of his ilk out there dwelling on the ‘crassy knoll’, if you don’t wish to join the rest of us in this noble pursuit of civility then the rest of us would like to cordially invite you to please go fuck yourself.
Happy birthday, Curtis!