You may or may not have already read my introduction but just to fill you in a little more, I am officially off the shelf now and no longer dating. This is just as well really as I have caught myself doing some pretty weird things lately (I’ve done them for years but only recently realised that not everyone else does)
Weird habit one – checking reviews
First, I suffer with review-itous a condition which means that someone is incapable of deciding where to eat or socialise until they have checked trip advisor (other review sites are available) and weighed up the pros and cons including scrutinising the food photographs that people feel compelled to take (bizarre). This, in real time, can delay a decision by a good few hours and confuse the afflicted person (me) even more. The 5 star hygiene notice is another welcome relief. It’s weird because it’s not like I carry a bottle of hand sanitizer like a hipflask everywhere or I’m obsessed with germs. Sometimes, and this is a bit gross, I even leave busy toilet cubicles without washing my hands. So I’m not germ averse. I think I’m just averse to spending money and being disappointed. I am not one of those people who eat to live. I live to eat. I am a serious foodie and get as excited as a child on Christmas morning when I know I’m going out for a good meal so the thought that the food, service and ambience would let me down is a big deal to me. The urge to prevent that disappointment is like a really annoying itch. Searching trip advisor is metaphorical scratching. This means Im not the easiest to surprise though.
Weird habit two – The nosey seat
My second ‘thing’ is needing the nosey seat in any restaurant we visit. This, for those of you who aren’t natural people watchers / nosey parkers is the seat that gives the best view of the action in the room. Its not that I don’t enjoy the company I’m with (although I think Andrew has developed an insecurity complex lately) but sitting with my back to the comings and goings of the other guests and food feels like I’m a naughty child sitting in a corner facing the wall. I just need to see what’s going on. Who’s ordering what, who had an argument before they came out and is having a standoff over the prosecco, who has enjoyed the chardonnay and is going home on a promise. I just love people. Of course, I do love my person the most but I’m not going to lie, I need scenery too and the nosey seat gives me that.
Weird habit three- checking plates
Third quirk! Checking plates. Not in a health and safety or a ‘I have Greek heritage and an urge to see how well they will smash’ kind of way but I need to know who made the plates. Oh my days, that sounds even weirder when I write it down. Bear with me. When I was 17 I got a job in the sales office of a factory which made crockery for national and international hotels and eateries. It was my favourite job ever and I would wake at 6am desperate for the day to start. It was my first taste of full time employment and my memories of office banter, learning the ropes and office parties are only wonderful ones. I was so proud to be a part of the company and every now and then I would recognise a pattern on a plate when we were out and turn it over only to feel all smug and satisfied when I saw our emblem on the bottom. That, turned into some sort of crockery compulsion and so now, I will check (as discretely as possible) whether the plate is a Dudson one or not. Sometimes I sneer a bit when it belongs to a competitor. Yes, I know it’s ridiculous to discriminate based on place of origin! I’m a plateist!!
Weird habit four – toilet inspection
Finally, and I KNOW Im not on my own here but its still odd, I reserve full judgement of a place until I have visited the toilets. If the toilets are clean, tidy and smelling of something sweeter than…well, you know..then it’s a five star from me. Otherwise, 4.5 is only as good as it gets Im afraid.
On reflection, I think I’m very lucky to be free from the dating scene. Not quite sure how lucky Andrew feels as I’m sitting opposite him, watching everyone over his shoulder and checking the plates like a lunatic.
Anyway, If you do any of these things too I’d love to know. Let’s celebrate our weirdness together! I’m off to pop some reviews (including food photographs) from our weekend in Chester onto trip advisor. True story.