Once upon a time…
The waiter moved the couple from the warm and welcoming mahogany bar, through to the main dining room. Chandeliers, candles, and beautifully ornate chairs… the scene was set.
Martin: She ordered the lobster? The lobster. Is she testing me? It’s only our second date and she’s going all out on the menu. What’s her motive? She’s taking advantage of my good nature. Going for the pricier dishes and expecting me to pay the bill. Go hard, girl. Order the entire menu. Don’t worry, good old Marty is paying. At this rate, I’ll have to order a salad to keep the cost down… But then I’ll look soft. She’ll think I’m a tight arse and I can’t have that. Impressions are everything – especially first impressions.
I know, I’ll order the crab, keeping with the sea-dwelling crustacean theme. I could suggest we split the bill at the end? We should’ve discussed payment pre-order. Splitting the bill might offend her. Best to play it safe and just pay the total amount – after all I am supposed to be taking her out. Oh sh*t, this week is not a pay week. Oh well, I’ll put it on the card and worry about it later. I’m reeling.
*takes a deep breath*
Be cool Marty. Stay composed. After all, there’s no one else on the go. Oh god, is that the wine list? She’s running her finger down the expensive page! Not the Margaux. Not the Margaux. F*ck she chose the Margaux.
Amy: I’m starving. I haven’t eaten anything except a slice of toast for breakfast. I’m not even sure I finished that. Oooh what shall I have? I have no idea what half of this stuff is. I need to display a bit of class; show confidence in my ordering skills. Langoustine. I can pronounce that. Lang-gooost-eeen. Yep, that sounds good. Bold sophistication. This shows that I am a woman who is used to the finer things. A lady through and through.
I’m sure I have eaten langoustine once before. Or did I? Maybe it was something else. Can’t remember. Oh well, if I don’t like it, I can always just eat around it or something. Best not to eat everything on the plate – can’t have him thinking I’m a piglet. Why did I agree to a French restaurant? I much prefer Italian. Okay, langoustine it is. Right, that was easy…
Why is he sweating? Maybe he’s nervous. I hope he’s not a worrier. Oooh the waiter is hot!
Martin: Ahh, the starter’s coming. There it is, foie gras. I’ve heard it’s a delicacy but I’m buggered if I can remember what it is. Oh, it looks like pâté. Better not say that out loud Marty, it’ll show my ignorance. She seems to know her way around a menu. This is probably an every other weekend occurrence for her.
And here comes the wine. It better be good for that price. I’ll have to organise overtime this month to pay for all of this. That waiter’s a bit smarmy. Is he flirting with her?
Amy: Did they made a mistake with the order? That’s pâté. I could have sworn we ordered foie gras. Or maybe that is foie gras. I’ve never had it before. I’ll just make some yummy noises and hope he doesn’t notice.
Martin: Here come the mains. Look at the size of that f*cking lobster. She can’t possibly eat all that by herself. She’s tiny!
Amy: So langoustine is lobster – excellent choice Amy. It’s huge! Is the waiter going to leave it like that? Doesn’t he cut it up or something? How do you even eat this thing? Oh, wait there’s a guy on a table over there eating lobster. Oh, he’s breaking bits off. Hmmm ok, so you..”
Martin: She’s not saying much. Maybe she thinks my choice of food is not to her liking. She seems to have a special way of eating that thing… a little awkward. Why does she keep looking over at that table? Maybe she’s bored of me already. Great. I bet she fancies that guy. Oh, he’s also eating lobster. Maybe she feels a connection with him – a fellow lobster eater. She doesn’t seem to be eating much. I hope she’s not going to waste that, I reckon that’s solid three hours work right there on that plate.
Amy: Sh*t. I’ve made a big mistake. Why did I order lobster? There is no way I can manage this in a lady-like manner. I’ll just pick at the bread and work out the best way to approach this. I could send it back and say there was a mistake with the order? No, that’s lame.
Martin: Maybe she’s one of those problem eaters. Good one Marty – your date is a paranoid bulimic. It could be worse, she could have ordered two lobsters and guzzled them both.
*moving around uncomfortably in chair*
Phew, I’m going to have to loosen my belt. I hope she doesn’t notice my love handles. I’ve been sucking my stomach in for the past half hour and now I’m cramping up. It must be wind. Man, I can feel a fart coming on. Can’t let one rip here, it could empty the room!
*chuckles to self*
Amy: Excellent, he’s going to the bathroom. I’ll just do a quick search online and find out the proper way to eat this.
Martin: What a relief. Oh, she’s on her phone. Texting a friend and giving an update? Man, it’s so hot in here, I need to remove my jacket. Why did I wear a blue shirt? I can feel my sweat patches showing. Maybe I’ll just leave it on and order some iced water.
Amy: He’s back! Right, I’ve got this. Let’s tuck in. So, break this bit off. Scoop this out….
Martin: Mmm, the crab’s nice, the French really know their sauces. She seems to be enjoying the lobster. She’s showing a lot of cleavage. Is that rash on her chest? I think it’s spreading up her neck.
Amy: Well, it tastes nice……. Phew! It’s so hot in here all of a sudden….. Oh, I feel faint…. Can’t breathe…..Need to splash water on my face….
Martin: One bite! One bite and she’s gone to the ladies’. I knew it. No wonder she’s so skinny, she’s a f*cking bulimic!
*gasps at the sight of herself in bathroom mirror*
Amy: Oh my god I’m breaking out in hives. What the hell? I’m not that nervous, surely. I’ll dab some concealer on. No one will notice. It’s so dimly lit out there. Why is it so hot? Is the aircon broken?
Martin: She’s on her way back… She doesn’t look too clever… Has she ever walked in heels before? Oh sh*t, her lips are swelling up. She’s turning blue! Not the lobster. Her legs are buckling. I’m not going to reach her!
*the flirty waiter catches Amy*
Of course, you did, bro. Oh sh*t – she’s foaming at the mouth.
Amy: That’s bright. Where am I?… Oh, I’m on the floor… is that the waiter? He’s waving something in front of my face…
Martin: At least she won’t be ordering dessert.
“You can’t get the help that you need if you are pretending that everything is ok.”
― Brenda Diann Johnson
Moral of the Story:
You do everyone a disservice by presenting yourself as more polished than you are. Speak from the heart. If someone doesn’t like you for not knowing something or having the same experiences as they have had, give them the gift of your absence. That person is a giant douchebag and you deserve much better. Be your wonderful, beautiful flawed, ever learning and evolving self! Don’t try to fabricate your personality in the hopes of impressing others. Honesty saves everyone’s time. When you pretend to do something, you either overdo it or underdo it because you don’t know where and when to stop. When you pretend, you can’t measure your energy expenditure, and you are here to learn to manage your energy. To be truly happy, people need realness. We can sense when someone is being pretentious or fake because we feel it; energy doesn’t lie. Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. That may work in the beginning, but as time goes by, what is true is always revealed, and what is fake always fades away.
Imagine how much more fun Martin and Amy would have had if they had dropped the façade and simply been open and honest with each other. From and early age we are programmed to please and the reward feels good. We keep doing what others want us to do in order to get that reward. With the fear of being punished and the fear of not getting the reward, we start pretending to be what we are not – just to please others and to be good enough for what we assume someone else wants. We try to please our parents, our teachers at school, our peer group, and so we start acting. We pretend to be what we are not because we are afraid of being rejected. The fear of being rejected becomes the fear of not being good enough. Eventually, we forget who we truly are and become someone that we are not. This is how dangerous wearing a mask can be.
“Fake happiness is the worst kind of sadness.”
― Dominic Riccitello
Affirmation: It is safe to be me.
I am okay with my imperfections because they make me interesting and worthy of exploration. I am too full of life to be half loved. I am the most attractive when I am being true to me. I can easily figure out anything my heart tells me I must do. I measure my success by how loving and present I can be. I am learning to enjoy the journey of my life. I am too busy falling in love with my life to let comparison distract me. I keep discovering new ways of honoring myself and expressing myself. Others’ opinions are reflections of who they are. I am now willing to move forward from my heart and step into my true authentic self. The solutions that I am seeking will now be clear to me, and because of this, I am now going to interact with others around me based on what is right for me. I lovingly express my choices to others as I am free to be my powerful, true authentic self.
“He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it. It was like living with an elephant. His room was tiny, and every morning he had to squeeze around the truth just to get to the bathroom. To reach the armoire to get a pair of underpants he had to crawl under the truth, playing it wouldn’t choose the moment to sit on his face. At night, when he closed his eyes, he felt it looming above him.”
― Nicole Krauss