Thursday, April 06, 2006

Amusing Stories from My Recent Canadian Visit, Part 2

I went out for dinner with an old friend from back in the day while I was in Toronto. Not that she's old. She's my age. We've just known each other since we were 10, which is definitely the longest I've known anyone that I'm still in touch with, not counting family and/or family friends.

Anyway, I haven't seen her in ages, and we met up for dinner and drinks at this really nice restaurant in the Annex which I will not name due to the incriminating story I am about to relate.

She got to the restaurant first, and was waiting when I turned up. (I wasn't late, just to clarify. I got there mere moments after she did.) We were eating at a cute little restaurant, and there was only one other table of customers when I got there. As I was about to sit down, the waiter (and possibly owner) swooped over to take my coat. We took the bold move of ordering a half litre of wine - red, not white, as I no longer drink white post "The Incident", which we no longer speak about so I don't know what you're talking about.

Waiter/owner man left us alone with our menus and wine for a while, and there was much catching up and amusing banter of the "my mom saw your grandmother at the airport" and "hey do you know what so-and-so is up to?" and "your little brother has a beard??" variety.

We'd pretty much decided on food when waiter/owner man swooped to the table again. He was a swooping kind of guy. The other table had left by this point, so we were the only customers in the place. We ordered our main courses (I ordered the paella) and smiled politely.

Waiter/owner man: No appetizers for you ladies? You must have the appetizers!

Us: Thanks no, we're thinking we'll get dessert instead.

Waiter/owner man: The desserts are disgusting.

Now, this caused us a moment of confusion. You've got to understand that he said this with absolutely no humour or sarcasm in his voice. It was a total deadpan "The desserts are disgusting." Needless to say, we weren't sure quite what he meant by this. Were the desserts actually disgusting? Was he kidding? Were they so good they were disgustingly good? What did he mean?

After an awkward pause, we decided that he was kidding and laughed awkwardly. He chortled to himself and swooped away.

We exchanged a look of "well, that was weird" and continued the catching up and amusing banter. Much merriment was had.

The food arrived and the waiter/owner man insisted on introducing himself and learning our names. Um, okay. Sure, why not? It's a friendly place, right? That's nothing to think is weird.

The food was really nice, and when we were done, we did indeed feel in the mood for desserts, assuming they weren't disgusting. Once again, waiter/owner man swooped to our table.

Waiter/owner man: You're finished! How was the meal?

Us: Delightful, thanks. What desserts do you have?

Waiter/owner man: Oh, they're disgusting. We have an awful chocolate cake, it's very rich. We've got a disgusting lemon tart, it's horrible. Our rice pudding is absolutely repulsive. The apple pie with ice cream is sickening, and our house speciality is the cheesecake, which is nauseating.

Us: [confused pause]

Waiter/owner man: [smiling in anticipation of our disgusting order]

Us: [confused look exchanged] Uh, I guess the chocolate cake please?

Waiter/owner man: [grinning] You'll love it. It's disgusting.

So, he clearly meant disgusting in the "disgustingly good" sense, but that so was not clear when he was describing the desserts. What is up with that? How is belittling your food and calling it gross a good selling technique?

From now on, I will be using this terminology at every opportunity.

"And your haircut is finished. What do you think?" Disgusting.
"Congratulations! You've won a million pounds!" Disgusting!
"And how do you take your coffee?" Disgusting?

And for the record, the cake was pretty good.


Bette O'Callaghan said...

Darlin', perhaps he was Irish? The Irish are particularly good at taking the piss. When I cooked my first meal for my late husband and eargly enquired how he liked it, he replied "its excrement". I was, onviously mortified and thought (we weren't married then) that I'd lost all chance with him. My face fell and he laughed, took me in his arms and explained that the meal was delicious. Its actually good fun to tell someone they look horrific when indeed they look grand. What can I say, we all love to take the piss from time to time. Glad the cake was good, sounds like your trip was fab what with the shite puddings and the fake Mancunian waitress.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm.... I think it was a poor attempt to mimic those restaurants that advertise themselves as having 'the worst food on the planet.' Or he was, as Bette says, 'Taking the piss.'

Perhaps you should have pissed on the pisser by claiming to hate your cake and demanding that it be free, because "how could they dare serve you something soooo aweful and not warn you!"

On a side note, I enjoy the whole 'Taking the Piss' terminology, always have. But I'm not sure I've quite got the hang of its use, seeing as how the phrase 'Takig the piss' would draw many blank stares here in Canada.

I mean, Can the person who is 'taking the piss' be referred to as 'the pisser'? And I know that the Person who is being 'pissed on' will probably be 'pissed' but is it more proper to refer to them as 'the pissee?' And what if Someone has a shy bladder?

A little help here? Please.


Janice said...

Hi Alice,

I agree that is really wierd! Maybe the guy just had a really awful sense of humor?


Bette O'Callaghan said...

Yes I am avoinding my real work but feel moved to answer your query regarding proper 'pissed terminology'.

The person taking the piss is not the pisser, rather he/she is a stirrer. The person who is the object of the stirring is not usually being pissed on, its all rather friendly in most case. the person will, however, often be pissed but only in the Brit sense of pissed, i.e. inebriated, not the Yank sense of pissed as in I'm f**king pissed off!

There you go it all makes sense doesn't it?

I'm with you I would have stirred things further and asked for a free desert.