My brother once described my family as “aggressively casual.” This line is so right on that I quote it all the time. In fact, I’ve probably already used it in this blog. That’s how good this line is.
Sandy totally fits into my family. In his birthday card my parents mentioned that one of their favorite things about him is that the first time they met him he took his shoes off and curled up on their couch.
As we were getting dressed for Alinea, Sandy asked if he should wear a tie. He was wearing a nice-ish shirt and his good pants. and I said “Nah, you’re good.”
And then we got to the restaurant and he was seriously the only guy there not in a suit.
We whispered about this to each other at the table, feeling rather sheepish for being underdressed posers at the fanciest. restaurant. ever. But after a few minutes, after the first course, we began to relax and forget that we were aggressively casual. We began to feel downright fancy.
Here’s the thing: really genuinely classy places don’t make you feel bad about how you’re dressed or that you don’t know anything about wine.
Really genuinely top-of-the-line restaurants hire delightful waiters who can wear Armani suits and say things like “served on top of a pillow filled with mace air” or “inhale the scent of burning leaves as you bite your pheasant tempura off this oak branch,” and you still feel comfortable asking them about their mysterious accent (Bulgarian) and what’s the deal with the Prince Harry lookalike at the next table who seems to know all the waiters (former kitchen apprentice).
Truly classy establishments don’t even sneer when your fiance presents you with your monthly present, a plastic action figure (this month: Big Boss Man) and you leave him on the table for the rest of the meal.
There was even a kind of camaraderie among the guests. Across the room from us was an older couple who had begun eating before us. Almost every course, as we took the first bite and our eyes widened with glee, the woman (Chanel suit, sunglasses indoors) would smile at me and say, “I know! I know! It’s amazing!”