Whether you’re out with old friends, on a first date, or your parents came into the city and want to take you some place nice but not too expensive (meaning the Cheesecake Factory), there are always ways to make meal time more exciting by doing weird stuff.
Lie about your party size to get a bigger table. It’s an old Orson Welles trick. Fat, vivacious, post-Touch of Evil Orson Welles, who ate at Ma Maison every day, performed magic tricks for children, and said, “If it’s for two, never admit that. It’s always three or four.” Otherwise you’ll end with one of those awful two-seaters, which are always too close together and forgotten amidst the busboy traffic. Like hell no!
Get grandiose by grabbing an enormous table, that one in the back next to the de Kooning print. Don’t ask. Just insist. People at snobby restaurants respect pretentious authority. Trust me.
This is a nifty game. Before sitting down, everyone has to put their cellphones in the center of the table, in a tower formation. Then the loser, whoever reaches for his or her cellphone first, has to foot the entire bill. To increase difficulty, leave the cellphones on vibrate.
Cellphone stack is a great game particularly if you’re friends with OkCupid addicts, people on Twitter, or douchebags. The only rule of cellphone stack is that there are no exceptions. Even if that’s Bret Easton Ellis retweeting your zinger or grandma on her death bed texting to say goodbye, if you reach for that cellphone you still have to foot the entire bill, tip included.
is a great way to self-justify eating out, especially at a fancy joint that has nice salad forks. Petty silverware thievery is easier if you get a big table a la Orson Welles, since then you can pilfer the place settings of your non-existent friends. Women and gay men are generally better at this type of small-time crime because they get to carry purses. Purses are superb devices for everyday burglary. They’re cute sacks in which you get to stuff your stolen loot.
Sadly, due to culture standards about representations of masculinity, if you’re a bro-douche with a purse, that might raise some eyebrows. The waitstaff will be on the look-out for sticky-fingered, purse-wielding, bro-douches, so be careful. Still, if you can get away with it, then why not?
The easiest way to justify committing a minor crime like stealing silverware is by A.) doing it at a chain restaurant, B.) tipping your waiter well, and C.) turning it into a fun competition against your friends!
Flasks used to be carried by dipsomaniacs. That was like a thousand years ago, back when everyone drank and it was cheap and good, and you didn’t have to pay $10 for a watery cocktail. It’s not like that anymore. These days flasks are the equipment of the fiscally responsible who want to have a good time without spending too much money.
So it’s simple. Order a Coke or Sprite then spike it with whatever liquor you’ve brought from home. If you get an inkling that your waiter’s got an eagle eye for this kind of miscreant behavior, order a stiff one, say, bourbon on the rocks, then re-up with your own supply. You’ve got to engage in a bit of slight-of-hand for this operation to go smoothly, pouring from flask to glass under the table.
But if it’s been a couple hours and you’re starting to get the shakes, take a slug in the restroom while you’re waiting on the table. By the time you get a seat everything will be steady. Restrooms are always nice places to drink in.
Feigning a Dramatic Break-up
In this day and age, usually relationships end with a whimper where both parties ignore each other for a while, then the lonelier party texts “hey?”, and the other party stays in ignore mode. That’s lame and par for the course. Feigning a dramatic break-up in a public setting, however, allows for the cathartic release of all the rage and frustration you’ve been feeling because your boyfriend ties his shoes too slowly or never unloads the dishwasher. Plus, feigning a dramatic break-up makes your life more delectably cinematic.
Start with something true, said in a tense, quiet voice, something like, “I can tell when you ignore my texts.” Then escalate, your voice getting louder and your accusations becoming more extravagant, till you reach the boiling point. Toss your glass of moonshine in his face and say, “I’m glad I had the abortion!”
Beforehand, it’s best to decide on a final line like “You mendacious dweeb!” that cues your exit.
The goal to a good feigning is you do it after you’ve stolen the silverware and had a couple flask-fueled drinks but before you’ve ordered entrées. Then you’re not out much dough, have acquired some silverware, and had fun. To conclude the night, nab a dash of fastfood and head right to the sack.
(As a public service benefit, the dramatic break-up will also be cathartic for the nearby couples who get to feel better about their relationships once they see your trainwreck of a romance.)
The “Surprise Me”
If you’ve decided to stick around long enough to order an entrée, live on the edge and leave it up to chance. When the sassy waiter comes by, set parameters — for instance, give a price range or exclude some foods, like if you hate broccoli or have allergies—then say, “Surprise me.” Whatever the waiter brings out you have to eat. If more than one person says, “Surprise me,” you can trade, engaging in an exciting cuisine bartering, two scoops of mashed potatoes for five forkfuls of the rabé, etc. etc.
While on a First Date That is Going Poorly, Eat as Much of the Other Person’s Food as Possible.
Credit card roulette
Well, let’s say you and your crew have all been very good and ignored your iphones for the duration. No one’s lost at cellphone stack. How do you handle the bill? When the black folder that contains the check comes don’t look at it. Instead play credit card roulette.
Everyone hands their card credit to whoever has been deemed “The Shuffler.” The Shuffler, well, he or she shuffles the credit cards then slips them into the black folder. At this point no one has seen the check and nobody knows whose card is on top.
When that saucy waiter comes by, give him or her the folder and say, “Pick one card and charge the entire meal to it.”
Depending on where you dine, how many people there are, and how much drinking has been done, credit card roulette can be quite the fright fest. Once that waiter walks away you’ll be sweaty nervous. After all, it might be you who has to pay for everyone’s market-price salmon and smoked scotches. Then again maybe your friend will get the shaft and you’ll get off scot-free, with money saved for another night of festivity. Credit card roulette is a game that can make beggars and kings of us all.
While taken as a whole these antics might seem extreme, enjoyed occasionally they’re a great way to spice up the evening, adding a dash of randomness and wackery to what might otherwise be a drab affair. These antics will turn your life into a chaotic adventure of extravagance, excitement, risk, reward, drama, and free silverware. So enjoy and never pass up the chance to give a good toast.