Sometimes You Just Have To Go With It

by Stacey Jaros

I don't do Valentine's day. Approximately 10 years ago my then boyfriend, now husband, Jeff, and I went out to dinner on Valentine's Day. We didn't want to make a big fuss so we chose to make reservations at a favorite neighborhood restaurant.

Unbeknownst to us the only menu available was a prix fixe, three course, menu. Our favorite items from the regular menu were not available. The price for the meal was comparable to what we would have paid for our usual menu items so at least there wasn't sticker shock. We could have walked out but at the last minute we just decided to stay.

Another surprise was that upon arrival the host walked us through the dining room with lovely booths, down a small passage way, and into some kind of auxiliary dining room. One could see how it might be cozy and intimate but on that night it was packed with "two tops" from wall to wall.

We were seated near the center of the room the tables to our left and our right were each within an arm's reach. The room was about half full already. It wasn't overly loud but every conversation was audible in the cozy space.

I do not recall anything about the diners on one side, they must have been quiet. The diners on the other side however are half the reason I don't go out on Valentine's Day any longer. They were a young male-female couple. The guy repeatedly took phone calls (texting wasn't really a thing back then), ignoring his date. The phone calls seemed unimportant and non-urgent, just seemed like chit chat. The woman appeared to not be having the best time but she also didn't seem to be upset. We were seated so close together that the whole vibe was more than distracting.

On our way home that night we both agreed we would rather celebrate the sentiment of Valentine's Day either before or after February 14. That's what we've done ever since. We exchange cards and gifts but neither one of us has regretted the decision to not go out.

The best thing that happened that night is that we discovered the existence of that banquet room. Had we not experienced the overflow dining that Valentine's night we may never have known the room existed. When we looked for a place to have our rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding it became the clear that would be a great space. It ended up being the perfect space to set up a mock wedding setting for a quick rehearsal and it was cozy and private for our family and friends.