The Restaurant Guy

like my father, i'm very much a creature of routine. i'm pretty good with change, but i do like to be able to rely on some things in life being constant.

we all do.

for example: when i have no plans at night at all, i like to go get indian food at place around the corner.

when i enter the restaurant, the owner says hello to me. he confirms that i want chicken tikka masala and rotee, and i say yes. i pay for it while we make fairly idle chit-chat. eventually he resumes working and i wait for the food to be ready. sometimes i talk on my cell phone, sometimes i knit, sometimes i peruse a magazine. sometimes i just sit and stare.

when the food's ready, i go home with it. once home, i put on sweats and pop in a random episode of sex and the city and then eat my dinner while fending off my cat, sherlock (featured below).

(look! a useful picture! totally off-topic! who cares!)

then i spend the rest of my night-by-myself poking around online or writing or reading or whatever.

and that's my routine.

so! when the friendly man at the restaurant -- who is probably 20 years older than i am, by the way -- offers to take me out on a saturday night for drinks as his "guest," well, that's a bit disturbing.

see, in my routinized head, this man is the nice older guy who runs the restaurant down the street. who is also (in my head) married with kids and maybe even grandkids. i "love" him because he is always there, he is always friendly, he is always happy to provide me with my dinner. it's just a neighborhoody thing to do.

but date him? that just seems weird. and not just because of the age difference nor the fact that i am not attracted to him.

it's weird because -- well, like, have you ever run into someone from one part of your life somewhere else...and it just seemed wrong? like, seeing someone from your neighborhood in a different part of town? or seeing someone you recognize from riding your bus at your gym? or seeing someone from your work at a nightclub? or seeing your local bartender at the grocery store? how about seeing one of your teachers in any kind of normal, non-work social setting?

and you think, "hey, you're not supposed to exist outside of your role in my life!"

and of course i realize i'm being ridiculous, i'm just saying that this is why i found the drink invitation so disconcerting.

you know?


  1. Maybe he's just looking for his second (or third wife)???
    Maybe he needs to marry an American to keep his green card!
    And being hit on by IIF's isn't disconcerting???
    HEY you live in SF...anything goes!!!

  2. he a Russian Blue? He looks like my Binky (R.I.P.). What a cutie!

  3. LOL. the little indian man at our favorite restaurant asked her out once. totally out of the blue... it was kinda awkward afterwards for a while. he's not as friendly anymore. and we now have to pay for our nan. another weird coincidence... she ALWAYS get the tikka masala. ALWAYS. are you my roommate?

  4. I dated my barista once -- biggest mistake ever. I couldn't break up with him because there was nowhere else to get coffee nearby. Oh, the humanity!

  5. Mmmmm, chicken tikka masala - my favorite too!

    It would weird me out if our Indian restaurant owner asked me out for the same reason (he's older, I assume he's married) but somehow, given how he looks at me, it wouldn't surprise me...

  6. Screw it... Order in, get it delivered and perhaps the person delivering it will be worth your while.

    One can only hope...And wait for the nan.

  7. The cat is very cute. But I LOVE the chair!

    and your blog.

  8. Or, like, seeing your daughter's ass on the internet?

  9. Had he been say an intriguing crazy professor or a favorite author or a pilot (?, whatever), that out of context thing could work for you... If i had an Indian accent, i'd say "imagine the possibilities!" ... Keep going to the restaurant, don't you think? If you are picking up on vibes that say he is a threat, that's one thing... but if it's just awkward... keep a goin'. How's the chicken tandoor and sabzi?

  10. Usually, I'm all for taking a risk and going out with someone you wouldn't usually date. But in this situation there is way too much on the line...your local Indian food connection. What are the odds that drinks would lead to something serious? Because unless they do, you can pretty much start looking for a new Indian restaurant now.

  11. Must, must comment...on random picture. Love kitty!!!! and the chair....I want it....where did you get it????

  12. Your cat is a doll.

    Seeing your local bartender at the grocery store would be wierd, but not as weird as seeing your local bartender inside your bedroom at 6 in the morning after he showed up at your door unannounced. Um, not that I would know.

  13. there are some slightly racist comments on here...and quite condescending as well.

    this troubles me....

  14. this will be disturbing to you, but it's a very strong possibility that the "fairly idle chit-chat" you thought you were having with him was really, in his mind, an indication of your interest in him. Indian men are really not as innocent/polite as they pull the impression of.. it's just till they can, well, ask you out. :-)

  15. yeah, i didn't really mean to open the door for any racist or condescending comments --

    so let's focus on the other stuff.

    yep, N, sherlock (and his brother) are russian blues. love 'em!

    i got the chair when i first moved to the city from Z Gallerie, i believe.

  16. A friend of mine who had once been treated for cancer saw his oncologist renting gay porn.

  17. saw this kid who works at my company at a club. About DIED!

  18. while we make fairly idle chit-chat
    Yeah, but you forgot to mention you always do this NAKED!

  19. Completely understand how disconcerting seeing someone outside of their role in your life is-
    My sister babysits in the nursery at a church and one of the little ones saw her in the grocery the other day and screamed "KATIE, you are supposed to be at CHURCH!!!" -all alarmed. So I guess it throws most people off, the concept is not ridiculous.

  20. anonymous makes a good point. CHILDREN are surprised to see people from one part of their lives somewhere else. Like seeing your teacher at K-Mart.

    But GROWN UPS are supposed to be able to process the fact that everyone is human and has human interests and desires. So the restaurant man found you attractive. That should not feel creepy to a grown up. It doesn't mean you have to go out with him. But it's not creepy.

  21. BTW....Is your dad available?

    ...just wondering...

  22. you can always pretend you have no idea what he meant about being his "guest." Pretend it's just a friendly offer, and you had to say no because you were busy. Then the next time you go in, everything is exactly the same... for you anyway. uninterrupted masala. If your dad is available, he's in for a rush of requests i imagine... he seems like a badass (no ass pun intended).

  23. Roz,

    The older man who Kristy has had minimal contact with and thinks of as "what a friendly, avuncular guy!" (to quote RiseyP), asks her out on a date. This creeped Kristy out because that was unexpected -- it violated the social role that Kristy had placed him in, that of older-safe-guy-who-feeds-me-like-an-uncle. Most people get creeped out if they get hit on by their uncle.

    This doesn't make Kristy childish. It's a self-deprecating comment on one way that people tend to categorize others and how that affects our perceptions despite and because of its illogic and unfairness. We feel for Kristy because she not only has to face the breaking of her own preconceptions, but also because she has to do so in a mildly uncomfortable and potentially embarrassing situation.

  24. K,
    you should marry el_gallo.. just a thought

  25. thanks, keri. funny you should mention it...

    we had the same idea once, but it turns out we make MUCH better friends than partners.

    now he totally has a rockin' girlfriend and i get to play the part of whiney little sister.

    win-win all around, really. :)

  26. My (now ex) boyfriend and I ran into my OB-GYN at the gorcery store once. I had a hard time explaining why a really good looking 35-year old came running up to me in the store and pulled me in for a hug...

  27. You don't sound very interested. So, the topic of you dating him seems moot.

    I love your cuddly kitty! And your chair is too bold for my non-fashion mind to process. LOL

  28. When Kristy Met El_Gallo.... could be a movie....

  29. kristy met El_G online, as a matter of fact... i do know that online relationships can work.

    just not lately.

  30. I call that "colliding worlds." And I like it when my worlds don't collide too often, thank you very much...

  31. LMAO ... wonder why this post reminds me of Seinfeld ;)

    I hope you keep getting ur Indian food ... good luck.

  32. You gotta meet someone somehow, and online is one way, for sure. I've got 10 year old friendships today that originated from online. Isn't it amazing how things work out?

  33. I once ran into my high school band teacher at a salsa class. I heard "Men rotate! Ladies say hello to your new partner".... "Hello Mr. B, how are you?"

    There is nothing more uncomfortable than being three inches from the band teacher - with no instruments in sight.

  34. Hey maybe you could be wife number 12 in his Harem. It's called Haji's Harem o'Delight.

    I'm just sayin' is all

    Undr(dumbass extraordinaire)

  35. If it helps, I'll go get food with you and make it very clear that I'm very interested in his samosas. Because, my god, does that man have good looking samosas...

  36. What's a samosa??

  37. underachiever, i cannot believe you typed that.

    you should really think about what you want to say before you say it.

    and if you really did mean that stupid harem comment, then i really hope i live nowhere near you and never come in contact with you, or i hope to one day meet you and change your narrowminded view of indian people.

    it's pretty sad to read some of these comments. i suppose racism is just more camouflaged than it once used to be.

  38. TWO wives does not a harem make...I should know!

  39. OK....but what's a samosa??

  40. El Gallo,

    *Loved* your defense of K. and her creeped-outness. Hear, hear!

    Kristy, I know exactly the feeling you're writing about; I've experienced it myself, to a lesser degree. One example: I was once in the standard embarrassing position on an ob/gyn's table, while the doctor (new to me) began talking about my in-laws and how he'd played golf with my father-in-law and how was the old guy doing these days? I wanted to say, "Um, could we not talk about my FATHER-IN-LAW while you're fiddling around with all my tender parts? I don't want to have that mental association going -- no memories of your speculum the next time I see dear ol' Pop, thank you very much."

    My vote, since you don't see this avuncular restaurateur socially, is to lie and say, "Oooooh, you are SO nice to invite me! But my boyfriend -- he is just SOOOO jealous and doesn't understand how men and women can be just good friends. (Roll your eyes in a "what an idiot men can be" way, then continue.) But thank you anyway -- it was such a LOVELY thing of you to suggest that!" Delivered with lots of warm, bright smiles.

    No one's feelings are hurt, and he's left with the comforting, if false, assumption that you might have gone if only -- darn it -- if only you had been available.

    But that might not work if he's got a stalker mentality .... hmm. Your call!!

    Best from a faithful IIF --
    Carolyn B.

  41. also, everyone, don't forget that the main reason kristy brought up this anecdote was because she thought it would be amusing!

    I really doubt that she's *seriously* freaked out, wondering what will she ever do, etc... Y'all gotta take these things with a bigger grain of salt!

    kinda like the IIF (Imaginary Internet Fiance) who proposed last May.


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