My wife and I had a date at Hooters. Now I’m not sure we’re still exclusive.
MY WIFE IS HOT. AND WHILE IT’S TRUE that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my eye has had plenty of company in making this assessment. Through most of the ’90s, it seemed like every time My Fair Lady and I ventured out in public together, she’d get slipped a propositional note by a smitten swain or a lovesick liveryman or the like. The night of our rehearsal dinner, in fact, a waiter gave My Fair Lady such a note. It was unclear whether he knew she was the bride.
I mention MFL’s good looks so that there will be no misunderstanding when I tell you she wasn’t thrilled about eating dinner at Hooters. She was not averse to it because she’s intimidated by attractive women wearing tank tops. No, sir. The venue didn’t please her because MFL is a champion of women’s equality and an enemy of all those who would ogle or otherwise objectify her sisters. She’s one spirited broad.
Nevertheless, the other evening, on our weekly date night, we paid our first visit to that owl-themed restaurant. Date night, you see, follows a strict protocol. Neither of us really chooses where we’ll have dinner. That decision is made by the Majik Dinner Box, a concept I stole from a friend (I altered the spelling after he alleged trademark infringement).
Here’s how it works: I select 20 restaurants, writing them on slips of paper, which are placed in the Majik Dinner Box. Most of the restaurants are classy joints whose names begin with “the,” like The Old Warsaw, The Green Room, and The Oceanaire Seafood Room. Also included, though, are a few whammies, just for fun. These are article-less places like Keller’s Drive-In and Hooters. Each week, we bring the Majik Dinner Box with us, and, at the conclusion of the meal, MFL draws the following week’s restaurant, so I’ll have time to make reservations, if necessary.
Hooters didn’t require reservations. At least the West End location didn’t (I understand there are others). I have to say that the handmaiden who showed us to our table did not meet my expectations. She was—what’s the preferred term?—oversized. Her orange shorts looked like a sack of cats headed for the river. Once seated, I asked MFL, “Why would one choose to work at Hooters if one were clearly [Rubenesque]?” I have bowdlerized my exact words in the interest of everyone involved. But the point is, there’s a reason you don’t see many dwarfish elevator operators in tall buildings. You know?
Before I could properly ogle and objectify the rest of the waitstaff, My Fair Lady revealed her dining strategy. She spent about 10 seconds with the menu, quickly making her selection and setting it aside so she could focus her attention on me—or, more specifically, on where I was focusing my attention.
We leaned in, watching each other intently. To other diners, we probably looked like a couple deeply in love. We could have been rediscovering each other after years of marriage, marveling that the font of all that is right and true in the universe lay right across the table, in lash-rimmed pools of blue and hazel.
In reality, our date had degenerated into a staring contest. MFL was daring me even to glance at our waitress’s heaving, dewy bosom. I would not give her the pleasure of catching me in the act. At one point, I heard a shriek, closely followed by the distinctive sound of a fractured tibia tearing through flesh-toned pantyhose, then the crashing of dishes. Yet I did not turn to see the presumed fallen waitress, lest My Fair Lady cry out, “Aha! You were staring at her butt!”
When the food arrived, I followed the plate with my eyes, not noticing the long, lissome legs that had borne it. The crawfish appetizer was toothsome, its tail meat succulent, the Old Bay seasoning spicy without being overpowering. The Hooters Salad, however, disappointed. It could have been crisper. MFL had a chicken sandwich and curly fries. I didn’t ask how they tasted.
Our meal came to a rather abrupt, though not unsatisfying, conclusion when the waitress came to clear the table and asked, “Can I interest either of you in something sweet?” By then, My Fair Lady had already opened the Majik Dinner Box and drawn the next restaurant. So, following our waitress’s lead, I said, “Do you by any chance have some [double entendre featuring a baked good]?” My Fair Lady had picked The French Room. I figured marriage counseling would be cheaper.