Can We Get Some More Old-School Chivalry Up in Here
Rumors of chivalry's death have been greatly exaggerated, but this much is true: Gentlemanly code has evolved over time into something much less suave, especially in bars and restaurants. But with a little creativity you can bring it back. Follow these steps and you'll be doing the jitterbug quicker than you can say "Carrie Nation hatchetation."
Make An Entrance The ultimate suave move was epitomized in a classic scene from the movie Goodfellas. Ray Liotta escorts Lorraine Bracco to the back door of the Copacabana, with Liotta coolly slipping tips to the various doormen and hosts as they arrange an impromptu table right in front of the stage. While this may seem relatively simple, I cannot tell you how many times I've taken a girl down a back alley and pounded unsuccessfully on the rear door of a restaurant.
Tip: The key here is letting her know you're somebody. The easiest way to do that is calling somebody by their name. Or, just make up names. When you walk into a restaurant, say "Where's the P-Man? You guys finally give him a day off?"
Something to Sip On One of the cornerstones of being a Man's Man is confidently nailing a drink order for a lady. During Prohibition, you'd pick up a dame, make your way through the dimly lit speakeasy and mutter something classy to the bartender like, "Gimme two old fashioneds, and make 'em whistle." Today's equivalent is elbowing your way through a crowd of non-judicious ass-grabbers only to be stumped by the decision of whether to order her a royal fuck or something with the word "bomb" in it.
Tip: You're going to have a tough time laying the charm on her if you've got Young Jeezy blaring in the background, so find somewhere a little quieter. A great place to step back in time and sip an Old Fashioned is the Cedars Social. The old-school cocktail joint with the tome of drink choices excels at this classic.
Win Her Over With the Dish Speaking of ordering for the lady, placing a food order for a date has become as rare as a State Fair salad. A guy used to be able to give a menu two-second look, then expertly request a dish each for himself and his squeeze. These days, there are mountains of dietary, allergy and disease concerns that have suddenly hamstrung a man's gastronomical telepathy. Perhaps in the future there will be dating sites devoted solely to various eaters' preferences, such as celiacsingles.com or databetes.com. There's also the fact that women can pretty much order for themselves just fine, and seem to prefer it that way. But what fun is that?
Tip: Plenty of food joints have made accommodations for different folks' needs, but it's always best to play it safe. Whichever restaurant you decide upon, insist on grabbing a drink at the bar first, so you two can look over the menu together and find out if your date has any preferences without making her fill out a survey.
Once you have all the intel you need, head to the table and order away. And be ready to duck.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.