Aggressive, the defensive way

On Wednesday nights, POB and I have dinner “just us”.

Sidebar:  I guess it would be better if we had Saturday night date night (for which presumably we wouldn’t be as tired as on a work day) but we have sitters for SOS whom we trust and they are often not available on Saturday nights.  Continuity and dependability totally trump date night convention.

We went to a local-ish place.  It was on the early side because I was too tired to go to the gym after work.  I asked for us to be seated in the empty part of the restaurant (away from bar area, service stations and kitchen).

POB and I were looking forward to a quiet evening since I was recovering from a really bad migraine and POB had endured an entire day of workmen hacking out part of our ceiling because our neighbors seem determined to flood our apartment room by room.

Sidebar: First, improperly installed pipes in our upstairs neighbors’ jacuzzi caused the ceiling of our maid’s room to come crashing down.  Then, as we were repairing that, water gushed down from the light fixture in the maid’s bathroom (can you say dangerous?).  The neighbors offered to have their contractor fix her “ooops” but I refused to allow that contractor to touch anything in our apartment. Now, the third time, on the other side of the apartment, there is water damage in the ceiling of SOS’s bathroom and the hallway. What are they doing upstairs?  Building a water park?????

Shortly after we were seated, the hostess brought over three people from the bar — tasty, cosmo-like, drinks in hand — to the table right next to us.  I looked around this massive (for New York City), empty, dining room.  Of all the tables in that whole room, they had to sit down next to ours.

One of the women had a whisper as loud as someone else’s scream.  She, of course, was the one talking the most.

I know all about her son the swimmer at Harvard who breaks all these intercollegiate records.  She also passed around her iPhone to show her friends all of her son’s “hot” teammates. Ok, stop gawking at your CHILD’S friends. That is just gross. EWWWWWWWW.

I know her politics:  “I cared that he was pro-choice but I was not happy that he killed that young girl”.  I bet Mary Jo Kopechne’s mother and father were not so psyched either.

I know she likes to gossip.  A teacher at a well-known prep school is suspected of having an affair with a student.  According to the maven next to us, the student was entrapped the teacher because she was bad news from the start — “over-sexualized” and thrown out of another tony prep school.   Really, you are talking about this young girl like a man-eater, yet you are gawking at your son’s friends in their Speedos and ok with Chappaquiddick?

I know she likes alpha males.  She went on a date with a nerdy, slight guy and she was dubious but he was “very MALE” when it came to “making out”.  (Who talks like this?)

And she was




Despite it all, POB and I tried to have a low-key conversation, focused on the wedding.  It wasn’t working.  POB was horrified at this woman’s bad manners and grotesque discussion topics and I was losing any salubrious effects of migraine medication.

Then POB got an idea.  “Let’s aggressively chat!!”

“Aggressively chat? over thaaat?” I croaked, motioning to the table next to us.


“Ok, YOU start….”  Frankly, I didn’t know what it meant.  POB started:

“I like your lipstick.  Did I buy that lipstick?  It is a lovely spring shade.  Are you getting your hair colored before the wedding?  oh, do.  It will look good in the pictures.  Speaking of pictures, I spoke to the photographer and asked him whether the heavier make-up style of the lady at Saks would look good in the photos or creepy.  Ok, now your turn.”

“Wait? What?  I was reveling in the sound of your voice.  Was I supposed to match that?  You’re kidding?”  The way she looked at me, she was NOT kidding.  I did the only thing I could do.  I caught the eye of our server and mouthed, “check, please.”

And a new defensive mechanism for leaving cheek by jowl with strangers was born….