So Charlotte calls up, and I answer the phone. “Do you and The Husband wanna have dinner at a real restaurant with me and Jeff?” Of course we do. We haven’t had real food that someone else cooked since 2006. Charlotte confesses that her brother-in-law is the executive Chef at this hot new restaurant in The Big City, and I’m realizing that I am liking Charlotte more and more, because not only can she get us a reservation at Shimmer, she can also get our entire meal comp’d. Yay, Charlotte! Yay me, for choosing a friend like Charlotte!
Charlotte and I get out our calendars, and there is much discussing of dates and times and babysitting and previous commitments. Sigh. It seems that finding a mutually agreeable time for me and Charlotte and our respective husbands will take more planning than a military coup. (It should be noted that the ghostly boxes that compose my Fridays and Saturdays are pristinely empty, while I picture Charlotte’s calendar to be a cacophony of scribbled plans, vodka, and laughter.)
Finally, a mutually acceptable date is agreed upon. As we’re hanging up, Charlotte throws out one quick caveat: “So, MOV, Shimmer’s menu is online, you might want to check it out in advance.” What does that even mean? Does Shimmer only serve, uh, shimmery foods? Just oysters and beets and frog legs and anything with a reflective quality to it? Does the food at Shimmer cost $200 per person, and now I will “owe” Charlotte some big huge favor, something like babysitting her kids for free for the entire summer?
I log onto Shimmer’s lovely website. I see a gloriously kid-free restaurant that is all sharp angles and glass and mirrors and Dale Chihuly sculptures and soaring ceilings and clean surfaces. If I did not have children, I could easily vacation at Shimmer, or at least move in for the rest of my life. The menu itself is equally inviting. I see lobster, scallops, pasta, and chocolate souffle. The menu could be renamed “MOV’s Ideal Food List.”
I am starting to psyche myself out, and develop a complex. A complex called, “I Don’t Have Any Pretty Clothes to Wear on My Date With Interesting Charlotte in Her Fancy Architectural Experiment of a Restaurant.” I suddenly feel very … out of date. Shimmer’s website doesn’t “say” no jeans or sweatpants, but the photos say it. The photos say, Actually, we’d prefer if you wore taffeta and sequins and diamonds and velvet and lace—preferably all at once. I open my (unworthy) closet, to see if there is an inspiring little black dress that I have forgotten about, or if a helpful fairy godmother has stashed away a new outfit while I was sleeping.
No such luck.
That’s okay, I tell myself, it’s only February and our reservation is not until next October. I might have time to go shopping before then.