“Good afternoon, ladies.”
Those are words I’ll never forget — words my husband will never forget. (And ones I was sworn to never repeat. Whoops.)
On my eighteenth birthday, I begged my boyfriend (now husband) to celebrate with me over a birthday lunch at a local tearoom. I dragged him there despite his protests that “Guys do not go to such places.” Yet, I persuaded him to go, telling him that guys went there all the time.
Imagine his reaction when the waitress loudly welcomed us with those three little words as she approached him from behind. Cringe. That was his last visit to a tearoom.
So, what’s a girl to do? Sometimes we just want to eat in a place that’s a little frilly but we want to take our significant others. Thankfully, I can now find places that offer a compromise.
Recently, I was reminded of that eighteenth birthday lunch while eating at the Blue Willow Inn in Social Circle. Its name alone puts one in mind of fine china and all things feminine. Upon entering, the lemonade cart awaits as does a gracious Southern hostess. The feminine touches are there, but so are the men.
Why do they come? The hearty, rib-sticking food. The all-you-can-eat buffet with fried chicken, roast beef, and barbecue pork. The vast array of vegetables including green beans, cabbage, and fried-green tomatoes. The dessert buffet with pecan, pumpkin, lemon meringue, and peanut butter pies. And that’s just to start.
There’s no shame in being a male in this restaurant. In fact, my parents now live relatively close to Social Circle and I think my dad suggests eating there more often than my mom.
Admittedly, there are no chicken salad croissants, there are no petit fours. But it’s a good compromise. Good food, good atmosphere, good company. What more could a girl ask?
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.