My husband and I were able to go out for dinner last Tuesday night, because a friend kindly offered her babysitting services (thanks, Amy!). A few weeks ago my sister-in-law and I enjoyed an amazing meal at Grub and Tucker in Newtown, and I was keen to take my husband back there to prove to him that it was worth all of the raving I’d done about the place. I spent the day looking forward to our dinner, completely forgetting the fact that my husband and I actually suck at dating.
Even before our son came along we rarely had ‘date nights’. After years of analysis, I’ve decided it’s the pressure to be deep that inevitably puts us off; it's hard to be deep on demand. The first 15 minutes or so of our dates usually look like this: We walk in to a restaurant, trying to appear casual and comfortable while oozing awkwardness. The waitress tells us to choose where we’d like to sit, so we turn around and I head to one table while my husband heads to another, then he realises I’m not with him (I’m oblivious to this, caught up in removing my handbag and scarf) and joins me at mine. We’re handed the menu and then the waitress leaves us, convinced we’re on our first date (although did she spot wedding rings?).
We look over the menu carefully and quietly, then my husband says, “Okay, I think I know what I want”. I ask him which it is because he hates us ordering the same thing, so if we’ve both settled on the one meal it requires another round of browsing, and another “Okay, I think I know what I want instead”. Once that’s all negotiated we start trying to make conversation. I rack my brain for a light topic with the potential to lead to some riveting discussion, while my husband looks around and occasionally murmurs, “Hmm, interesting,” even though I haven’t said anything. All the while I sense the waitress’ eyes on us, trying to figure out whether we know each other too little or too well.
It’s really quite painful, although we usually manage to have at least one semi-decent chat by the end of the night. To borrow and then mangle Shakespeare’s famous line, for us a date by any other name would smell much sweeter. Fortunately we’re content never to date each other and for our deep conversations to develop naturally while chopping vegetables for dinner or playing with our son (I’ve no idea what we’ll do when he’s old enough to understand what we’re saying) or watching TV, a plan which saves both awkwardness and money – win-win!
My Grub and Tucker meal really was tops, though, and I highly recommend it should you find yourself looking for a bite to eat in Newtown some time (read and salivate, friends): Crispy duck salad with smoked bacon, French beans, green raisins, hazelnuts, coriander and shallots, served with apple chutney and roasted pear. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum!
I’m not bad at dating anyone but my husband, so if you need someone to go with...
P.S. The picture isn't my amazing salad, it was just the tastiest-looking result from my 'salad' search.