On Second Chances

My father-in-law started a conversation about restaurants he wanted to try again after a lackluster first impression. “You could post an updated review based on second chances. Any chance you’d want to check out Barrel or Bar Elena again?” he asked me hopefully. That guy is always game for anything, and constantly lets me make decisions about food and vacation. It’s sort of the cornerstone of our father/daughter relationship. Some might call me bossy, but I prefer “decisive.” Thus, without missing a beat, I responded, “NO FUCKING WAY.”

It’s not that there was anything majorly wrong with either of those places. They were fine. But all this talk about second chances got me thinking about another situation:

I was talking with a friend recently. She’s divorced and has started to date again after several single years. “He’s nice and normal but I’m just not excited about our date,” she complained. “I guess I’ll go just because I don’t have anything else to do.”

“Well, don’t limit yourself. Maybe your excitement will increase the more you get to know him,” I advised, like the sage adult I totally am.

“Were you on the fence about your husband when you first met him?” she asked.

I thought for a second. “Actually, no. I knew he was awesome right from the beginning. I was really excited for our second date. And relationships get better with time, but everyone is bringing their A-game on the first date and if his A-game sucks, you shouldn’t be wasting your time. I take back everything I said. ” Sage adults like yours truly have the maturity to amend our opinions when we are proven wrong.

There are so many good–nay, GREAT!–places to eat in this city. There are also many more unknowns. To date, I’ve published 82 reviews and 50 of them were unequivocally recommendable. Can you imagine dating 82 people and then choosing to have a second date with the balding accountant who picked his teeth and wouldn’t shut up about his model train set? He’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with him in principle (dental hygiene is good, actually! And I guess trains are okay!) But why? There are AT LEAST fifty sexy, guitar-playing Jake Gyllenhaal look-alikes out there! And there might even be a culinary equivalent of Barack Obama (let’s face it, Jake is solid arm-candy, but Barack is the whole package).

So no–on this point I must stand strong. I refuse to give second chances. You hear that, restaurants? You bring your A-game the first time.

PS, in a restaurant game of Fuck, Marry, Kill, I’m going with:

Fuck: Jack Rose (complex, dark, sophisticated)

Marry: Duke’s Counter (elevated but uncomplicated, laid-back, fun)

Kill: Chloe (you know what they say about restaurants with tiny bread…)

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