Maybe you’ve had this experience. My wife Laraine and I certainly have.
You make dinner-for-two plans. It’s special. It’s special because the company is still special.
And the occasion still mandates all the traditional touches. A favorite restaurant, where the view, interior ambience and menu are perfect complements. Where countryclub-casual attire looks — and feels — just right. Where a good Merlot matters.
And then the 20-something waiter (oops, “server”) welcomes you on your special date: “Good evening, my name is Justin. What can I start YOU GUYS with?”
Call it the rhetorical equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard. My knee-jerk, mental rejoinder is: “This just in, Justin. I am not with a buddy or a partner or a lodge brother. I’m with my wife, who looks like a million bucks tonight. We plan to linger long and even order dessert. You can start us off with a more appropriate introduction.”
Of course, I’m accused (but not by Laraine) of making much ado over nothing more than a familiar mainstream colloquialism. “Get over it” is the usual injunction.
But I’m not taking a pop-culture chill pill on this one. Look, it’s a special night out. We are a heterosexual couple enjoying all the little touches of an intimate dinner for two.
And, oh yeah, that off-putting intro was followed by: “Are YOU GUYS ready to order?” And “How YOU GUYS doing?” And “Can I get YOU GUYS anything else?” And “Was it YOU GUYS who ordered the Bud Lights?” (OK, I made up that last one.)
So, get it right, Justin & Co. You guys make the accommodation, not the customers you serve. You’re, alas, part of the dining-out experience. And if this seems unduly constraining, please look for a sports bar that’s short-handed.
Hopefully, it’s not yet politically incorrect to acknowledge gender and romance in a nice restaurant. And presumably this doesn’t have First Amendment implications.
And another thing, Justin, the correct response to “thank you” is “you’re welcome.” Not “no problem” – unless it truly is problematic to do your job.