Friday, 13 February 2009

Roses are red, violets are blue, my name is Manuel and I'll serve you. So for god's sake smile...

St Valentines day eh, oh how I detest thee. Not the day itself you understand or the whole point of it, I'm all for a bit of organised love and lets be honest the Post Office could do with the work. But it really suits my part fascist part waiter makeup. I love getting a sweetly written card from LMM and I love sending her one with soppy sentiments and a packet of Love Hearts. This year it will be the lyrics of a Camera Obscura track amongst other affections. Couldn't you just lick me all up? But I do loathe working on St Valentine's day. You will never find me up a tree K.I.S.S.I.N.G St. Valentine or more importantly St. Valentine's day diners. Manuel has no love for these people.

And not just because of their parsimonious attitudes either. Worst tipping day ever.

not even the candy love hearts have anything to say on St. Valentines...

Of all the major events that happen throughout the year, St Patrick's Day, Easter, Mothers Day/Fathers Day, all the bank holidays, the month long celebration of Jebus's birthday and what have you St. Val's is the very worst to work.

The atmosphere is terrible, seriously the tension is palpable and that's despite the best efforts of me and all the waiter chums. The restaurant is usually festooned with candles and bunches of roses, from Tesco's hee hee hee, and the lights are dimmed a little lower than normal. Even the never ending pain in the hole/ear the music system, (it took to playing the bloody Wolfetones during service last night) plays it's part well with lots of smooth sounding Lionel Richie, Sinatra, Tony Bennett et al. Honestly the place looks and sounds superb.

But why bother? No one cares. No one acknowledges all the work and effort that us waiters and chums of waiters put in to making this the most loving dinner of their sad little lives. They just sit there, moping and texting banal messages to the person they would rather be with. It's oh so unpleasant and quite frankly rude. I'm not looking for proposals and I'm certainly not advocating cross table sexy sexy time with bodily fluids and tongues a go go but come on people try and look as if you are having a swell and jolly time, if not for yourselves then for us waiters.

Within an hour of opening the place is filled with morose and begrudging couples unhappy at having to forsake a night in the house or fun times out with their chums. It's not so bad if they both feel that way but when one of them is glummer than a puppy in a rescue centre and the other is over compensating like a waiter who has forgotten to ring up your order (occasionally happens. I couldn't possibly comment). That is the worst situation of all and more often than not is what happens with most tables.

Wonder how many couples split up on or after St. Valentine's day? Gotta be a lot.

Still it ain't all bad some people propose on St. Valentines day, in a restaurant, with the help of the waiter. It's a lovely idea in theory, it really is. You will have booked the best table in the best restaurant. You will have your little routine prepared - ring in the champers or hidden under the blancmange. You have gone over and over with the waiter what his role in the whole ghastly ordeal is and then you do it. And sometimes the object of your desire says yes and sometimes they say no. And lets be honest that ain't gonna be a pretty situation now is it?

So if you are considering proposing to your special chum this St Valentines night my advice is don't do it in the restaurant. I say this because if you have told one waiter what your plan is then rest assured that all the other waiters know, and the chefs, and the managers, and quite probably every other punter in the place. So whilst you are sitting there, alone, trying to figure out where it all went wrong and exactly what you are going to do with a year's salary worth of solitaire diamond you can bet your ass the rest of the restaurant will be watching you and wondering why they said no. Oh how they will judge you.

St. Valentines eh, nothing but a lot of heartache, especially for waiters and chums of waiters. And if you don't get a card on Saturday morning remember that your waiter loves you, sort of.

34 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Belfast Plate Carrier said...

I'm off for the first Valentine's Day in 10 years. I've already told the missus I was working and she's made other plans. Sci-Fi movie marathon anyone?

ninetyninewords said...

Do you have to do extra toilet patrols too in case anybody gets ahead of themselves?

Manuel said...

bpc: you classy, classy chap.....sake get a marksies special and do it right, scallops, fillet, sides, sweet and cava for £20......but shhhhh it i'll put me n you out of work...

99 words: I don't want to talk about toilet patrol......tonight's little "pressie" had me retching so many times I forgot how to breathe

ninetyninewords said...

Go on, spill..

Manuel said...

99: no......two spills/misses in one night is more than enough thank you....

Medbh said...

A year's salary?!
Is that what the diamond cartel is now threatening?
What a waste of money.

Women need to stop participating in this backward ritual where they're had for a piece of crap jewelry.

Manuel said...

medbh: yeah....that's what the billboard near home says.....crikey, never gonna happen.....

savannah said...

i tell you, sugar, it's amateur night all over the western world! but then again, if the punters didn't go out. . .there's just no winning on this one. xoxoxo

Boxer said...

I love this post! I banned this silly "Holiday" decades ago with The Mister and belive me, it's sooooo much easier. And I stay out of restaurants too. EEEK. Those poor men. It's hard to watch. No wonder you get no tips... they've bought silly flowers and more just to prove.... WHAT? ZZZZZZ.

I tell The Miser "You want to show me love? Rub my feet and bring me ice cream." THAT'S all I need. xxoxo. Happy 14th!

The Idle Devil said...

Hi Manuel. Love this post! Have linked to this post from my blog, so my blog pals can read it too.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Manuel..the only thing I can possibly like about this day is it will be nearly all two tops in the restaurant. I love two tops. In and out. $20 each table like tonight for doing simple two tops.

Simon said...

To paraphrase Arnold J. Rimmer "Valentines day is a con, made up by card companies to convince the weak minded to spend money they haven't got".

captain chaos said...

Umm, I know you suffered a recent loss so I'd just like to say God bless and I'm overjoyed you're carrying on. OK, and about Valentine's Day: I'm going to surprise my girl with roses for Florence Henderson's Birthday (same day). Don't know who she is/was (is she dead?)? Carol Brady in the Brady Bunch! I think it's a very lovely substitute for a totally stupid holiday. Either way, love the site and I'm still rocking the pin you sent my mom.

sheepworrier said...

Most couples I know tend to do the whole valentines dinner thing during the week, just to avoid all the pressure and damned balloony sweetness. So is this sunday going to be just as busy as the big day then?

Manuel said...

savannah: i know I know..

boxer: it's what wee all want......!

idle devil: cooool

steve: do you make money on st vals? i never make any money at all....terrible night

simon: well precisely

cheers captain .....good of you to say...

sheepo: the whole weekend is rocking......no recession this weekend .....yippee!

Manuel said...

balls.......it;s friday the 13th and I'm working a nice big 12 hour shift......eek.....what could go wrong....

Old Knudsen said...

I think we should start seeing other bloggers, its not me its you.

Manuel said...

old k: you wish you could get away.....flirt with some new and younger waiter.....but you cant, you just cant do it.....heh.....you need the manuel.....

Isobel Martin said...

I always imagine that going to a restaurant on Valentine's day with your, less than enthusiastic, partner must be what it is like to visit someone in prison.

You sit staring at them, unsure of what to say with a stupid grin on your face. Dull but overly chirpy conversation ensues. It can only end badly.

I feel sorry for the poor blokes who have been going out with their significant other for a "significant" amount of time. ie: there has already been talk of proposals from family members and her friends.

Despite having no intention of proposing marriage, he is stuck at that table like a rabbit in the headlights, fully aware that they will have "the" conversation once she has had too much wine and realises that it's not going to happen. That's when the the night gets even worse. The gloves are off, the feigned chirpiness faded to a drunken glare. Guess who wont be getting any on St Val's night?

RedLeeroy said...

Manuel, I am booked in at 8pm. You will take care of the necessaries?

AnFearBui said...

As someone already said, all the amateurs will be out. avoid that night like the plague, sorry you can't.

Killer said...

I rather hate it mySelf

Culture Horse said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/feb/11/restaurants-valentines-proposals

You might be sick of Valentine's Day restaurant proposal stories but I read this and thought you might think it was funny.

Sorry, I have been lurking a while. Hi.

Culture Horse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Native Minnow said...

I'll take it one step further. Not only will I never propose on Valentine's Day. I'll never propose. How's that?

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Manuel...it all depends. I made $163 last night but then again it wasn't Valentines day only people who were smart enough not to go out on the big day itself. Tonight is busy like tomorrow so will keep you posted. As long as I wish them Happy Valentines day it adds a bit more to the tip they leave.

problemchildbride said...

Valentine's Day is the worst tipping day? Texting during dinner? Everybody grumpy? Bloody hell, why are they bothering? What an expensive way to be miserable. We humans are bonkers.

MJ said...

Bend over so I can deposit a tip in your coin slot.

TheChrisD said...

Feb. 14th is the most overrated day of the year. If you REALLY want to have some essence of spirit in you, go play some Team Doubles with some Xbox Live friend in Halo 3...

Robert Synnott said...

I say just ban the damn thing. Not only do perma-singles like myself hate it (resentment, and all that), couples seem to hate it too. Silliness.

Sassy Sundry said...

My date and I are watching horror movies and sci-fi flicks tomorrow. I hate Hallmark Holiday.

Good luck. Just go to your happy place.

MikeTheWaiterDotCom said...

Valentine's Day = uncontrolled pandemonium.... need I say more? It's definitely amateurs night ... all the sophisticated diners know to stay home!
mTw

Debbie Fuehrer said...

I enjoy your blog tremendously. I hope your Valentine's Day brings you some measure of joy, even it's only good thoughts from little, old me.

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