The Culinary Adventures of Tatiana and Jayne: Dining Out

Jayne and I have a near-weekly dining date when we discuss future writing projects, share the happenings in our lives, and complain about everything that pisses us off in this world (and not in that order).  It turns out we basically have the same favorite foods and overdeveloped love of eating, which pretty much makes Jayne my favorite dining companion. Our mantra is “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (not in the way this phrase is actually intended, when taken in context, but in the way that everyone misinterprets it, which is to mean, “Don’t judge me, bro!”). Every meal out with my companion in lady bromancing is a hoot (and sometimes also a half) because we make every meal out feel like an occasion, like this:

Determine the desired mealtime

Because we get our life advice from fictional characters, our preferred nomenclature for meals follows the Merry and Pippin dining system: breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner, and supper.

Generally, this means one of us will get a text from the other that goes something like this:

Duuuude, let’s get some elevenses or luncheon this Saturday!

The preferred response is always:

That is literally the best idea you’ve ever had.

(Our standards for great ideas are admittedly low.)

Rattle off a list of foods

What follows next is a long list of foods that we text each other, in no particular order. “We should get mac and cheese!” “I want a milkshake!” “Seafood!” “Dude, burgers.” This is always followed by Jayne’s very grave pronouncement, “No sushi though. I hate sushi,” as though this is news.

Productive though this may seem, eventually the list gets out of control as there is no place on Earth to get milkshakes, imperial rolls, and gourmet pizza (THOUGH THERE SHOULD BE). We reach an impasse. We mumble half-heartedly about what we hate about certain restaurants (an hour’s wait, crabby service, disappointing fries) until we’re left with no idea where to go and an imagination too hungry for its own good.

Decide on Thai

For some reason, no matter what we’re craving, we can always go for Thai. This also feels like a brilliant solution after the week-long hype-up for our lady date and after wasting so much time moping about how we don’t know where to go. All that build-up makes the Thai food sound so much better.

Order everything and share

Hoping she’s thinking what I’m thinking, I casually ask Jayne what she wants to get while my head’s hidden behind the pages of the menu.
“Um… wanna start with an appetizer?” she asks.
“Only if we also get dessert.”
She looks up from her menu. Our eyes meet. “Always, dude. Always.”

The appetizer course.

What proceeds is basically us enabling each other to push our stomachs to maximum capacity. Thai iced tea or beer? BOTH. Dessert a la mode? WHY EVEN ASK. The meal is gluttonous and glorious and judgment free. This is a safe space where no one will order something without buns to cut down on carb intake or nibble on a salad with scorn in their eyes.

Pay for each other

At the end of the meal, one of us will reach for the bill. We take turns in a perfectly imperfect system. We always pay when it’s our turn, and despite the differences in the bill from week to week, we don’t have a running tally because we know it’ll balance out. Most importantly, I know that Jayne is a crazy generous person (for real though, she gives gifts like she’s trying to put Santa to shame), so she doesn’t offer to pay with any strings or obligations attached, but her generosity makes me want to be extra generous too. When Jayne pays, it feels like a special treat. When I pay, I feel like such a chivalrous gentleman. It’s a win-win.

It’s little things like this that make our lady dates so fun. What traditions make your lady bromance meals special? Let us know in the comments.

–Tatiana

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