Jun 12, 2014

With Great Makeup Comes Great Responsibility

"Is the coast clear?" I asked. Laurén peeked out the bathroom door.

"It's clear. Let's go!" We slipped down the hall and made for the restaurant exit.

Just as we reached the door, we heard, "Hey, wait!" Caught! All through lunch I had tried to avoid this moment. Our waiter - a balding 30-something - rushed after us, his eyes fixed on me.

Rewind to an hour earlier: Laurén and I had attended our friend Christine's wedding. With a few hours before the reception, we decided to get lunch at classy restaurant because, hey, we were already dressed to the nines. It was the first time I'd ever gotten my hair and makeup done professionally, and together we were turning heads all over the place.

I didn't want to eat with my lipstick on, so I kissed the placemat as a joke to take it off. No doubt the waiter thought it was meant for him. As soon as he came to our table, he kept staring at me. I recognized those eyes; they were hungry.

He asked why we were dressed up, and soon learned how far I'd came for the wedding. "You're from Japan?" he said. "Wow! I'll have to come back and pick your brain."

When he left, Laurén gave me the no way look. "What's he going to do, sit at the table with us?"

Yes - that's exactly what he did. He came back with our food and sat in my booth. He asked me questions about Japanese life and teaching, and when I answered he didn't seem to hear. The whole time he never addressed my friend. I was so annoyed. I wanted to say, Excuse me, but you think ignoring my friend and inviting yourself to our lunch is going to get you "lucky?"

After the bill was paid, Laurén and I snuck to the bathroom before trying to make a break for it. When he cornered us at the exit door, he said to me, "You're a very lovely lady."

I know that, I thought. What are your qualifications?

Was I supposed to be flattered by this compliment? I was annoyed because it was superficial. When I caught my reflection in the mirror, I would think, Is that my face? It was like I was impersonating a beauty queen. The waiter was attracted to Bobbi Brown, not me.

Finally, his eyes wet and shiny, he said it: "Can I have your phone number?"

"Ah, you see, my phone number's in Japanese," I said. "And I'm leaving America tomorrow, so..." All this was true, but it sounded like some far-fetched excuse.

He just kept smiling. "When you get back to Michigan, come back to this restaurant. I'll be here."

"Okay," I said. I can never eat here again, I thought.

I guess to him I'll always be the one that got away (as fast as I could).


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