Afterwards Rachel asked me not to say that we had “dated,” but I did take her out for dinner one singular time, to a popular place that was in vogue at that moment, and what went wrong is that the server handed me the wine list. Which normally, for most tables and for most servers, probably isn’t an issue, but for me a wine list wraps around my interest level like cold spaghetti noodles wrap around each other after you cook them and leave them in the fridge for awhile: there is quite the tangle to unwind. Some time passed as I flipped through the pages. “Oh, look they have this” and “Oh, look they have that,” but what Rachel looked was uncomfortable. What she said was “I wish I could be as interesting to you as a wine list,” but it was loud in there and what I thought she said was “I wish I could be as interested as you in a wine list,” which maybe I didn’t seem to answer in the best way possible when I said to Rachel, who was an aspiring student of wine, “Oh, you probably will be one day.”
Beyond my own personal tragedy the other Valentine’s disaster that stays in my mind is the evening at Convivio where a lady at one of the two tops became so frustrated with her companion that she flung the contents of her water glass at him, only to have him turn so far out of the way that the entire liquid stream landed on a gentleman sitting behind him. An unfortunate situation! As we service types were patting down the unintended victim the original assailant stormed out of the dining room in the direction of the front door. But when she got around the corner she paused and took up residence at the bar, waiting for her man to run after her: sure proof that what she really wanted was more attention.
With this in mind I’d suggest that the best Valentine’s pairing is listening to your date, and not worrying too much about the wine. If that doesn't work, then Champagne.