The boys are not strangers to the inside of a restaurant. We eat out most Sunday lunches and we occasionally spring for a quick meal one other day during the week if I’ve been extra busy with work or just flat out don’t want to cook. All of the places we choose to eat are loud and family friendly because we know our tribe and even though we talk to them frequently about appropriate tone of voice, they tend to enjoy using their outside voice most of the time so we plan accordingly.
Monday night, though, Mr. CPQ came home to say we’d been invited to join another couple and a former city councilman at the downtown club for dinner and by the way, did the boys have dress clothes?
I thought, “Do the boys ever WEAR clothes?” might have been a better question.
We don’t really dress up during the summer because it’s hot and muggy and school and church are both casual environments, so the short answer was “No” and Mr. CPQ informed me that I needed to take the boys shopping because the club had a dress code and showing up in their Disney Pirates of the Caribbean t-shirts wasn’t going to cut it.
For them or me.
Now, I’ve been to this fancy shmancy place before. They have candles and fresh flowers on the table, heavy drapes over the windows, cloth napkins and real silverware. The waiters wear dark suits as they serve in a hushed environment as the pianist plays softly in the background.
Oh, this had disaster written all over it.
I sat the boys down and asked them if they remembered what I had said to them a million times at dinner. “Yes, ma’am. Would you do that if you were eating at the White House?”
I have this pathological fear that they will one day be invited to a state dinner and eat with one foot propped on their chair or twirling their spaghetti strand around like a lasso, sending it flying through the air and landing it in the lap of the social secretary and landing them on Page Six.
I told them that we had decided they were old enough to do something special and we were going to take them to a really nice place and that they were going to have to use their President Manners and wonder of wonders, they were so excited about such an experience that they didn’t fuss about having to wear closed shoes.
We arrived on time and as we stepped out of the elevator on the 21rst floor, I watched in quiet amazement as my boys smiled, shook hands politely with our company and walked quietly to our table.
They sat with their hands in their lap.
They did not put elbows on the table.
They chewed with their mouths closed.
They only twirled their spaghetti once.
WERE THESE MY KIDS?
I was so very proud of them.
Have a nice day.
P.S. Updated to correct a few typos because I wrote this on my phone in the hair salon this morning while the stylist was getting rid of the gray and cutting in side bangs.
P.P.S. The bangs might drive me crazy before the day is out.