Friday night, thousands of couples across the Metroplex will descend on Dallas' finest (and not so fine) restaurants to spend the evening celebrating their love or whatever. They'll enjoy an overpriced prix fixe dinner, drink a mediocre bottle of wine and, perhaps most importantly, annoy the hell out of some poor server.
Valentine's Day is one of those times of the year, like Mother's Day and Thanksgiving, that makes waiting tables the worst. You might be excited about a nice dinner out, but your server is not at all excited about serving you. This holiday presents a specific set of challenges for wait staff, and really makes them pissed off to be at work in the first place. Whatever you do, don't be one of these six couples when you go out for your V-Day dinner.
1. The overly affectionate couple This couple has moved beyond hand-holding and eye-making and is straight up sucking face at the table. Not only is it close to impossible to take their order, servers also have a front-row view of this enthusiastic couple's tonsils. These are the people you'd normally scream "GET A ROOM" at when they're in public, but your server can only think evil thoughts while trying to pour wine during breaks in the groping.
2. The couple that hates each other These jerks are somehow worse than the couple dry humping at the table. I have no idea why couples whose relationship is on its last legs has any interest in celebrating their used-to-be love in a public place, but it's obviously a thing. One server told me a terribly awkward story about serving a semi-famous technology exec and his wife while she was waiting tables at Bijoux. The wife had been busted cheating sometime before the dinner, and semi-famous tech exec spent the entire evening groveling to his cheating wife while looking sheepish. This, folks, is why they invented eat-in kitchens and personal chefs.
3. The broke-ass couple This pain-in-the-ass pair has saved up all their change in a bucket for months to finally have a nice dinner at a good restaurant. Unfortunately, they didn't quite save long enough to set aside a little cash to tip the server. Sure, broke-ass couple deserves a break, but not at the expense of the also-broke wait staff's after-work drinkin' money.
4. The "man is in charge" couple Alpha males love Valentine's Day, probably for some evolutionary reason no one understands. They show up at the city's best restaurants dressed to impress, ready to show their date who's boss. Meanwhile, the server is left to weirdly stand and wait while Alpha Bro tells his date about his extensive wine knowledge and what she should order.
One server, formerly at Charlie Palmer, told me that she hates nothing more than when a dude orders for his lady. "It's rude, and 9 times out of 10 she doesn't want what he ordered but doesn't want to cause a problem." Don't be a shrinking violet, girls. Tell Alpha Bro that you will be having the steak, if only to watch him try to figure out if he has enough money on his credit card to cover it.
5. The couple that's gotten really, really drunk Drunk people are a pain in the ass, especially when they're smashed before the third course arrives. If you see a server patiently cleaning up the wine that Tipsy McStagger has spilled for the third time or calmly explaining that they can't serve someone a fifth martini, wander over and press a $20 in their palm -- they deserve it. They have their own epic intoxication to finance once the shift is over.
6. Mopey single people whose date is their misery Nothing wrong with dining alone on V-Day; the trouble starts when they bring their sadness along. Servers are already pissed on Valentine's Day, and the presence of sad single people is a depressing cherry on top of a shit sundae. This table looks deceptively easy, but rest assured -- this person sucks at conversation, and will usually reinforce why they're forever alone over the course of the meal. To make matters worse, sad single person's curmudgeonly attitude probably doesn't hide a soft heart that likes to tip servers handsomely for their company.
If you're planning a romantic night out this Friday, do what you can to avoid being that couple, the one your server will loudly complain about at a Deep Ellum bar after work. Be kind to your servers. Over the course of Valentine's Day night, your server will be a psychiatrist, referee and babysitter while trying to manage their tables, their tips, and their sanity, all for $2.13 an hour.
Amy McCarthy is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. She enjoys lipstick, cooking, and fighting with celebrities on Twitter.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.