Friday, May 2, 2008

The hair in my latte

The word "brunch" was like an enigma to me.

Although some places served from 10-2, rousing from my weekend slumber and actually leaving the house before 1:30 was impossible.

So you can imagine my delight when I awoke one Saturday morning at 10 a.m., fully rested and ready for my eggs benedict and latte.

We arrived at the restaurant and were greeted by glaring, awful lighting. Someone had left the blinds open and we were awash in a cold, white light that comes early spring only to remind us of that long winter we're trying to put behind us.

This, in itself was enough to ruin my mood. Food at a restaurant is actually secondary to lighting in terms of my enjoyment.

But I would not admit defeat so early in my brunch-venture, so I simply put on my sunglasses and ordered my latte.

It came moments later and I took a BIG swig.


"THIS IS COLD!" I alerted the server.
"Cold?" she asked, her face contorted in a way that suggested she had no idea what the word met.
"Yes," I said, "Ice cold."

She grabbed it, walked away without apology and returned a few minutes later with a creamy-hot-cinnamon-y-mess of delight and I thought brunch had finally been saved.

We chatted and sipped, pretended we didn't look like we were under the lights of a doctor's office and waited for our food.

But JUST as I was finishing my latte, I gasped.

Curled, around the remaining flecks of cinnamon and steamed milk, was a long, black, curly, human hair.

I gagged and I whimpered and I was APPALLED.

"Should we leave?" my date asked.

"YES" I panted between caffeinated breaths of disgust.

"Well, what do we do?" he asked again.

WE? What do WE do?

Well, I thought... I go to the bathroom, rid myself of cinna-hair and YOU go complain about it!

But instead of following through with this, I sauntered to the front desk, asked to see a manager, complained to the server and said we would be leaving. And so out the door we went, brunch free.

"That's terrible," he said. "Is there anything I can do to help you feel better? You want to go somewhere else? You want some water or something?"

I said water would be nice, but I kept my real thoughts to myself.

Because what I wanted, wasn't a new meal or a glass of anything to wash the hair down.

But my brunch-venture had ended without the proper etiquette...

And it wasn't just the hair in my latte that ruined it.


sarah said...

I love this story. I feel like I'm there with you two. You've got a talent for writing, Chrissie!

And now that I've greased you like corn (sincerely tho), I can say this...

Your food gripes are your food gripes.

Here's how the guy should react:

Half-way into my juicy chickwhich, my teeth clenched something less than appetizing — a plastic bag!

I pulled it out of my mouth, teeth marks and all, while my stomach and throat began to war. Food up. Food down. Food up. Food down.

"UMMM... EXCUSE ME," I said to the waitress, at volume maximum, gathering the attention of tables nearby. "I HAVE A FOOD ALLERGY TO PLASTIC BAGS."

Off she went to the cook, while my man displayed the proper behavior, whole hearted sympathy.

"Gross, I can't believe there's plastic in your food. Nasty. Yuck. This place is dirty. Sorry for bringing you here. Can you believe the way the waitress didn't apologize? Gees."

Actually, the waitress came back, and annoyed me further.

"That wasn't really in your food. It fell into it," she said.

Right. Whatever. It was a plastic bag. Pulled mid-slide out of my throat.

C and I just looked at each other and rolled our eyes. Knowing I had his support was all I needed. He didn't have to say a word.

Chrissie said...

ewww! plastic!

i see what you're saying about having his support... but i think sometimes we need a little more than that.

and it's not like he said "oh get over it, it's only hair!" or something like that... in which case this would be an entirely different post.

i think it was the question he asked that was bothersome, "what do we do?"

it's hard to be on top of your game and the decision maker when you're eating hair... the panic should have been mine and mine alone, the massaging of the situation should have been his job.

jovial_cynic said...

What?! Really? I don't understand why there's an expectation for the man to step up and solve the problem. Doesn't that just perpetuate the "women are weak and need protection" generalization?

If the guy found hair in his food, do you feel it would be right for the woman to stand up and complain about it? If such a scenario strikes you as odd, perhaps you are forcing men and women into stereotypes.

Chrissie said...

i don't think that men in general are responsible for fixing every problem... nor all of my problems.

what i expect is for my date to help me when i may need it.

i don't think it means "women are weak and need protection." that stereotype pertains to MANY situations, it's a generalization for women always... that idea implies that women are weaker because of their sex

my argument is that in THIS situation, i was weaker, because of the hair in my latte not because of being female.

i think the proper etiquette for a man or a woman in this particular situation would be for the party NOT ILL FROM HAIR to take control.

if i were out with my best girl friend, she would be the first to raise her hand and say "EXCUSE ME! WE NEED HELP OVER HERE! THERE'S HAIR IN HER FOOD!"

i think that women, dates, friends, people in general sometimes need assistance. and that assistance isn't based on their gender.

sarah said...

i think that women, dates, friends, people in general sometimes need assistance. and that assistance isn't based on their gender.

Are men less likely to complain about their food?

In my experience, yes.

Therefore, maybe your man handles "there's hair in my latte" situations differently than you.

I know C. doesn't ever send food back to the kitchen, even if I offer to SPEAK UP FOR HIM.

Chrissie said...

hmm... i know that i almost always have something to complain about and i don't think i'm picky, i think i just have bad luck when it comes to dining out.

and i guess men tend to complain less about food... i can't remember the last time my man complained.

and the more i think about it though, the more frustrated i get with the "women are weaker than men if you think that" argument...

just because a woman expects manners or certain acts of chivalry, does that make her a hypocrite?

perhaps i shouldn't have been reading sarah's book on etiquette from the 1940s last night...

but is chivalry so bad?

respectful attention toward women" is a terrible thing now? it's something we need to be "ashamed" of wanting?

Anonymous said...

excellent story telling. vivid and eloquent. "panted between caffienated breaths". i think i could title a poem that.

but you make it sound as if you were punched in the gut, left incapacitated, gasping for air as you stared into your date's eyes begging for help.

i think you overreacted a bit. it was hair in your food. not a medical emergency.

if i were your date, i might have laughed. not at the hair in the coffee, but at your reaction to it. of course, i would make the perfunctory complaints and leave without paying, but i'd still laugh about it.

sure, my lack of sympathy might put me in the doghouse for a while...

but i just can't take something like that so seriously.

but you know me: i see the mangled lemon wedge. i know the waiter suckled it. i don't care.

but i did mean what i said about the storytelling (i echo sarah's compliment). i'm still waiting for your book.

Chrissie said...

but you make it sound as if you were punched in the gut, left incapacitated, gasping for air as you stared into your date's eyes begging for help.

ahh... but that image is the product of good story telling right?!

the real-life-version was much less entertaining... i won't bore everyone with the details but it involved some "ewwws!" and complaints, but i was happily eating pizza an hour later.

i think if my date shouted and screamed at the "injustice of it all" i'd be more embarassed and likely to swallow my hair next time without complaint...

but if you know me: you'd know that suckled lemons don't scare me either. in fact, i've suckled a few in my days as a server. so perhaps that hair in my latte was payback;)

Anonymous said...

"ahh... but that image is the product of good story telling right?!"

yes, you're right. sometimes i forget your tendency to playfully stretch the truth for our amusement. good show, good show.

sarah said...

That's the last time I drink lemon water at O.G.!

vanessa said...

I order lemon water everywhere I go. I'll have to pay more attention to this lemon suckling phenomenon! hahaha. The things you learn from food service workers.

Anonymous said...

"massaging of the situation should have been his job."

seriously? it was a weren't going into anaphylactic shock. you want your date to help you when you need it, right? a medical emergency counts, a hair doesnt!

grow up. you dont need a man to "support" you in such a dire situation. get up, get your waitress and leave without paying.

also, it's only a hair....there are far grosser things you can find in your the plastic bag.

also, stay away from lemon wedges, they usually have fecal matter on them.