A young couple at Yard House is so obviously hot for each other that they’re publicly banging body parts, elbows that is, in the booth near my friend and me. It’s Happy Hour on a Friday night so they are not the only two seated in the crowded restaurant this way. The guy is left handed and noticeably he’s having a tough time cutting into his bloody steak without jabbing his bubbly female dinner companion right in the breast. While he must enjoy the heat of the two of them sitting so close, he must also move his knife carefully, daintily even. I doubt he’ll ever get a real mouthful before the whole meal goes cold.
My friend Michelle rolls her eyes. She’s been married close to twenty years to her high school sweetheart. “Seriously,” she says. “How is sitting side by side more intimate? They can’t even see each other.”
A big production about this most strange foreplay position with couples and food was made in the film “Date Night.” A boring husband and wife from the burbs had lost their sexual edge because they no longer shared the same lap napkin. Instead they preferred sitting across from one another in order to hold a conversation. After a madcap night in Manhattan where implausible events occurred they, of course, renewed their love by morning, sitting side by side in some greasy spoon. We are to assume satisfying sex soon followed.
But does my friend have a point? Maybe. I have had the unfortunate experience of sitting beside a man (whom everybody said was gay) at a dinner event as I felt him place an underhanded, and dare I mention clammy hand on my thigh. Another time as a teenager, I was enduring the tail end of a movie on a bad date with a fifteen year old who sweated a hand print into the fabric of my jeans. Neither of these instances brought me any closer to these two awful males even though I was mere inches away.
How we communicate, how we first even fall in love, happens through the meeting of our eyes. And if relationships are to last, if a leisurely meal is to be shared, shouldn’t it occur without possible injury – without clashing cutlery or suffering a neck cramp from an awkward turn in a booth that offers a much better, more comfortable view?