Life is a Journey - Make sure you get the right roadmap to the universe

I'm quite sure I picked up the wrong one on my way out the door....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Night Out to Dinner En Femme with our Spouses...

My latest foray out en femme was a wonderful experience for both my wife Joanne, and I. It was wonderful because it was affirming and supportive and it disposed of many of the pre-dispositions we held inside of us and paved the way for further exploration.

For Joanne, it was primarily her fears of how I might be accepted and her worries for my safety. For me, it was more a concern towards how she felt and in our ability to blend in with a mainstream crowd.

We started the night with a repeat visit to a local P.F. Changs Chinese Restaurant. The last time did not include the wives in the adventure so this was a new wildcard to add. This particular restaurant is most easily accessible from within the mall to which it is attached, and so, with this knowledge in mind, we parked underneath the Nordstrom's anchor store as a base of entry. Joanne and I along with another couple were ready to begin our entry into the mall. There were some moments of panic and distress from both SO's when the full extent of our foray through two levels of a department store and out across a considerable distance of the main promenade of the mall was realized.

We alit from the garage escalator and sauntered out into the store. As it were, we happened to be in the women's department which allowed for some quick browsing as we moved through and out into the mall. Dressed stylishly but subtly, we seemed to blend in quite well. Our SO's were holding back several paces as I specifically wanted Joanne to monitor what was going on as we passed by the crowds of people out shopping that evening in the mall. What was amazing was that not only were we not being clocked, but rather that no one was paying attention at all - until - we stopped.

We had been to this restaurant before but we were somehow lost in the myriad of corridors that made up this mall. Fortunately we stopped right at a crossroads where we were presented with a large, lit store directory. As we pondered over where we were, we were rifling visually through the entries to try to discover what corresponding map number the restaurant was referencing on the large vertical panel presented before us. We apparently were looking so distraught at the blur of numbers on the map that a sales woman in an adjacent store came out of her shop, approached, and asked if she could help. We turned toward her and her facial expression, to my own amazement, did not change. We asked in a feminine voice for directions to guide us through the maze and she directed us politely and succinctly. Again we were on our way and no issues.

Approaching the restaurant, we peered through the glass windows and realized that the place was packed to capacity. Unlike last time when it was quiet, the holidays seemed to be materializing hordes of diners to this one venue. The entrance we happened on was mistakenly on the side of the restaurant that had the bar and this was like a cattle car, standing room only, patrons waiting, huddled around the entry podium with their pagers, awaiting for a table to open. This was suddenly becoming a concern for Joanne as it meant that we were going to be rubbing shoulders in a closed and close environment about 11 seconds from now.

"Hold head high, maintain composure and look assured", I thought to myself. Opening the door, we decidedly commanded our entrance and worked our way through the crowd to the seating hostess at the podium. Using a most feminine voice as we could, we requested a table, half knowing what her reply would be. "About 20 minutes is the wait", she said. "But you are welcome to sit over at the bar".

This seemed a good option as it got us out of the rush-hour like crowds. We made our way to the only four contiguous and open stools at the bar. Sitting down, I took a moment to look around at the clientele. The diners seated around us were ranged in age from teenage to late middle age. None were gravitating their attention to us and even the teens were absorbed in whatever they were discussing at their table.

The bartender, whose name we learned was Matt, came over and asked our orders. I ordered a Blue Hawaiian, which he was not sure how to make. I explained that it was a drink made with curacao, and with just that knowledge, he said he could figure the rest out from a reference guide. We had no problems at all in our chat and he seemed more enthralled to have us stay at the bar for the evening. "You ladies aren't leaving the bar for a table are you?", he asked when he saw the pager.

Joanne was feeling comfortable at the bar and didn't want to move at this point, so when the pager flashed, I opted to take it up to the hostess to return it. Walking past the teenagers and several other tables presented no problems what-so-ever. I approached the hostess and presented her with the pager, letting her know our intents to stay put at the bar. Her conversation did not break although I did catch the eye of a waiter from the corner of my own as I spoke. His look was one that I could only define as confounded amazement - almost a look of "something does not compute" in his mind and I don't think he blinked once while I chatted with the hostess for a bit longer. It really felt that I had some wonderful control of the moment just then and it felt great.

Back at the bar, we ordered an array of appetizers for dinner to go with our drinks. The first round of drinks consumed, we were beginning to start in on our second round. Most of the concerns of the SO's were rapidly sinking into the murky depths of the Mai Tais and Blue Hawaiians being consumed. The bartender was starting to really enjoy our company and offered that he would buy us a round of spare ribs for the table. We had a great time and really made the evening special for him I am sure. It was equally a success for all and helped both Joanne and I dispel many of our remaining fears that we had imagined for the evening.

Walking back through the mall later that evening, we passed two guys who Joanne thought would "make" us. She saw it coming as we apparently were oblivious to each other's collision course approach being that I was in a "femmy" chat mode at the time. Joanne said later that she was amazed that they didn't even turn a head or bat an eye at us as we crossed paths. I asked her later - "Do I really look that far off to be made?". Her reply - "I guess its just because I always only see you". Having been happily married for 16 years, I'll take that as a big compliment for sure! It's nice to be seen as just "me" - I'll take that any day!

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