I was recently chatting with a friend about my belated birthday dinner date. When asked about how we picked the birthday restaurant, I mentioned that we usually base recommendations on friends we know, but that I always taken a peek at the menu. However, I spend more time looking at the specialty cocktails and the dessert menu than the main course listing.
My friend laughed at me, but I was being totally serious.
I explained to her that it has become a habit over the years because date night often means neither of us are the designated driver. For years, when the kids were little, neither of us drank alcohol. We were never big drinkers to begin with. Then, when we were trying to have kids we just stopped all together for several years. Team effort to keep our future children safe.
It just became habit and lasted through all the early years of parenthood. Perhaps it was because we were outnumbered. Perhaps it was because money was tight and it seemed like a superfluous expense. Regardless, it just wasn’t part of what we did. We were not drinkers.
At some point in the last decade or so, we started to order the occasional drink at dinner again. It’s not even so far as to be a regular thing. As much as I enjoy the occasional drink, there are simply more reasons not to partake then there are to do so. Often, there is work to be done at night and I prefer a clear head. With three teens, there is often someone who needs a ride somewhere at some point and it’s just easier to know I can get behind the wheel and go where I need to when I need to. I’m also a small person, so it really doesn’t take much for me to feel the effects.
However, date night is an exception. No one needs to be a designed driver. That’s a taxi driver or ride-service responsibility. The very idea of date night is an evening of shedding the usual responsibilities of parenthood and adulting.
So that explains why I look at the cocktail menu when considering a restaurant. Dessert?
Dessert is a given. I firmly believe that you should always look at the dessert menu before deciding the main course. I didn’t always subscribe to this process of decision making, but my wife taught me this early on in our relationship — always take a peek at the dessert menu. It will help you make all the decisions that lead up to that point in your evening. After all, you might need to order something light to save room for the scrumptiousness that awaits. You might decide to skip that extra sweet cocktail in favor of some chocolatey goodness down the line.
Perhaps not the full 25 years ago, but at some point along our timeline I was converted to this style of dining-out decision making. I am thankful to my mother-in-law for instilling this attitude into my wife and subsequently me.
This evening, as we drove home from our dinner out, it occurred to me that this pattern also exists in other parts of our lives.
Think about it.
359 more days to go.