Thursday, 16 October 2008

First kiss is the sorest.....

that's not lipstick
that's blood


It's rare that I am able to contain my anger when guests arrive late for their reservations. In fact there is nothing that I find more vexatious than the tardy attitude some guests have towards bookings. It's rude and liable to result in less than favourable service. That said I kept the stabbing fork sheathed on Saturday night when one table arrived close to 45 minutes late. It appears pity trumps anger in my head.

In he arrived all sheepish and shy. He was 18 maybe 19 years old at a push. I could barely hear him tell me his name such was his crippling bashfulness.

"John."

"Don?"

"John."

"And you have a table reserved?"

"Yeah."

"What?"

"Yeah, my girlfriend booked it."

"Right and what's her name?"

"Theresa."

"Trees?"

"A"

"Right okay, TheresA. Yeah we, still, have your table." One finds it hard to pass up a dig at a late guest. One finds it very hard.

I seated him and got him a coke. He'd ordered it, it's not like we give out free cokes. He perused the menu, actually I think he was trying to hide behind it. His little spotty face was flame red and he did bear a striking resemblance to a rhubarb and custard sweet what with his shocking blonde hair. At first I thought this embarrassment was brought on by his chagrin at being so late but soon realised he was just an awkward teenager type. He looked like a good boy, his mother probably took a photo of him before he went out and his father most likely made him blush more by telling him not to do anything he wouldn't do.

Time was ticking for lonely John though as we were getting perilously close to last orders and his date still hadn't graced us with her presence. It was unfortunate for him that his table was positioned right beside the bar as a little huddle of waiters, managers and wandering chefs had all gathered to stare at the guy who had been stood up. Well it had been over a half hour at this point and there was still no sign of her so we had to assume he had been stood up. Oh it was tough to watch as he squirmed and shifted on his seat like it was on fire but watch we did. The women wanted to cuddle him and make him feel better the men cringed as if they themselves were the ones being stood up.

This was all very amusing and we all shared his pain and all that but it was now about five minutes to last orders and I was getting tetchy. Lonely kept staring at his mobile phone, waiting for it to spring into life with the beep beep message that would either save or ruin his Saturday night.

It never came.

Eventually I had to step in. The chefs had moved on from their little moment of concern for the guy and were now only concerned with getting home. I got down beside him to make it less intimidating. I felt like a security guard at a shopping centre, "Have you lost your mummy little boy?"

"Now sir do you think your friend will be much longer? It's just that we are closing very soon."

"Eh um eh eh" Yes stuttering helps.

"Maybe you could give her a call?"

And before he could stutter a word in she arrived in a whirl of colour and big hair. If Lonely was quiet she was the polar opposite.

"Sorry sorry sorry! Can I get a glass of Chardonnay? Now what you having? Oh it's busy isn't it? What you think of my hair? OOOh love your sweater."

She turned back to look at me...

"Sorry can I get a glass of chardonnay?"

Oh is that right? Are you getting snippy with me? Forty five minutes late and your getting snippy with me? I don't think so. I very don't think so.

"Yeah.....you eh need to order right now as we are about to close. So I'll get your chardonnay just as soon as you order."

Pfft

Order secured, wine served and eventually food served all within 25 minutes. It's a wonder what the kitchen can do when it's past closing time. But I watched them from behind the bar, all awkward and jittery and new and exciting. Despite her snippiness they were really quite sweet. He giggled like a teenage girl at her jokes and stories and she fluttered her eyelashes in return. By the end of their meal they were holding hands across the table and whispering to each other.

Awh how sweet.

Sweet my arse, we were well and truly closed by now so I slapped the bill down and informed them of their right to go away. Whilst he settled the bill she fixed her big hair, I'm talking Amy Winehouse big. He then wandered back to the table. I turned to say goodnight just as they had lunged at each other to kiss.

EEK!

It must have been a first kiss because it went horribly wrong. You could hear the sharp crunch of teeth meeting teeth meeting top lip followed by a barely constrained yelp from the young lady. Good grief the space shuttle docks with more grace and ease than those two went at it. He went red again. Hell I went red for him. It wasn't pretty and resulted in more awkwardness and shuffling not for me though, it was an amusing end to a busy night.

Bless their little busted lips, a night I'm sure he will want to forget but probably wont.

39 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

A.B. said...

"Good grief the space shuttle docks with more grace and ease than those two went at it."

Bwahahahahah - that's an image I won't forget.

You're much nicer than I am - I have zero sympathy for anyone late - and that includes clumsy youth.

savannah said...

bless their hearts! i swear, sugar, it's a good thing i don't wait tables anymore! i've lost my capacity for stiffled laughter! you're very kind! xoxo

Medbh said...

Even when I was thier age I didn't snog in restaurants. Food and sexy time are separate matters entirely.

Manuel said...

a.b: I had a table tonight that was about ten minutes late.....I could barely speak to them for twenty minutes....

savannah: shhhhh don't ruin the hard man image.....hehehehehe

Manuel said...

medbh: it was way more clumsy than sexy..but yes you are so right

eguinan said...

Aw man, don't start feeling paternal. It ushers in the generation gap.

And get me another Chardonnay. Slaps!

Manuel said...

eguinan: Oh I'll get your chardonnay alright....[that's meant to be threatening]

eguinan said...

You are a man of infinite patience, sir. Practically horizontal with the Zen.

(You're not going to go 'postal' in a couple of years are ya?)

Manuel said...

eguinan: Already have my route planned and my first ten targets....you'll never trust a waiter again.....

dave said...

ahhh, man, give them a break!

I'm sure you were young once!

Manuel said...

dave: they used up all their golden stars and my patience in the forty five minutes spent waiting to get their order....

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

I feel your anguish when she trotted in so late just before closing.That is patience in the highest degree on your behalf.He probably got laid for the first time that evening no doubt..Pretty awkward.

Manuel said...

steve: there's no way he got laid.....not a bloody chance!!

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Manuel...You know what , she probably ended up with another guy that night.I know one thing I wouldn't wait 10 minutes for a date to show up who was late and never called. Poor fella

belfastyouthworker said...

you should have just punched her in the face, manuel. simple as.

Ed said...

brilliant. If you ever write a book Manuel, put me down for a couple so I can read the other after soaking the first with tears of joy...

belfastyouthworker doesnt want to go to work today said...

anyone want to rescue a 23 year old former waitress/french teacher/social butterfly from another day of the world ran by fifteen year olds? p.o. box 1337, belfast bt9

Manuel said...

steve: oooh steve you are harsh man.....!

byw: crikey.....

ed: send £18.95 now as a holding deposit......

bywdwtgtw: mid week drinking......it's the road to nowhere....

sheepworrier said...

byw: I'll trade you for a day working in sales & marketing.

Manuel: You are such a big softie. I'm disgusted.

Manuel said...

sheepo: fuck you.....[that's me repudiating the allegation that I'm a big softie]

sheepworrier said...

Manuel: You've got balls kid, I'll give ya that.
*said in new yoik accent*

Manuel said...

sheepo: oh shit tell me there aren't like hundreds of sheepworriers out there in some big mafia type family and what have you.....

Nikki said...

Manuel

I am a long time reader but first time poster, that was hilarious..

I can just imagine the poor chap sitting there waiting, your very kind not to have slung them out for being so late but for entertainment value alone im glad you didnt!

Manuel said...

nikki: welcome! throwing him out had been my first thought but I felt to bad for him to do that. After seeing the nightmare that was the kiss maybe I should have.....

sheepworrier said...

Manuel: Mafia? What Mafia? There is no such thing as the Mafia.

*eyes Manuel menacingly*

Manuel said...

sheepo: aarrrrggggh!! not my beautiful face......

AnFearBui said...

Youth is overrated. If you lashed enough of them together they might make a half decent pontoon.
Would have been worth the few quid for comedy value to put some coins on the table after his date arrived, along the lines of " the change you requested for the machine sir......."

Manuel said...

anfearbui: bwahahahahaha damn it i'm using that next time.....brilliant

sheepworrier said...

Heh @ anfearbui.

Manuel said...

sheepo: quality eh.....

savannah said...

what machine? xoxox

(gawd, i'm old)

Gypsy said...

Christ that was funny in a "bless his little cotton socks" kind of way. Loved Anfearbui's comment...hilarious.

Manuel said...

savannah: really? the eh em er condom machine....

gypsy: you couldn't help but feel sort of sorry for him......and her too

Native Minnow said...

At least they didn't knock any teeth out. Or did they?

Melissa said...

Oh man what a great story. Thanks for the laugh and also having the chance to relive adolescent pain!

redleeroy said...

lucky they didn't both have braces, it would have been a total disaster?!.

Brilliant post. Cringing into my keyboard at every turn.

problemchildbride said...

I hope she had a really good excuse for leaving him sitting there all that time.

How cute though. Clumsy young love. It has its own sexiness as I recall.

harried_dad said...

I feel for the guy. I remember getting so nervous at the end of a date that when I leant in for a kiss at the end i did a really oily belch. The kind that comes up via the gall bladder and makes the air turn rancid. I didnt end up needing the change for the condom machine either that night.

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