Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Red-letter dinner

My introspective Valentine post might have given the impression that I spent the dang day mopin' and dopin'. No such thing. While everyone else was clogging Manila's restaurants, malls and motels that evening, I was in fact with a group of friends who thought that Valentine love also extended to regular buddies, whether of the committed or uncommitted kind.

There were 10 of us in that dinner--8 guys and 2 girls. I myself had no idea how the event would turn out. The invitation just came: dinner at a friend's place, but with a difference. This time, the food would be catered, there'd be linen, flowers and candles, it'd be a sit-down affair, and we were all to come in white. You can picture me cracking up when I first heard of it. E anliit 'ata ng unit ni Chris for a sit-down dinner, I said. But the real reason was, I'd never gotten the hang of stuffy dinner affairs with gleaming cutlery, dainty (and often bland) food servings, all that fancy stuff. Prim and proper is not my ideal mode for meals; relaxed and casual is.

Imagine how flabbergasted I was, and all the other guests, when we arrived at the venue. The place had been spruced up, the table decked out with white blooms and flickering candles, the plates and silver all set for a romantic night, the wine ready for popping. I half-expected a violin quartet to emerge from the bathroom to serenade us!

It was lovely. The touching part was, only two guys were mostly responsible for it. J. and L. were the only couple in the group, and the special dinner was their idea. They had badgered us weeks before to block off the date, promising us a different evening on a day mostly devoted to lovers of the romantic kind. They wanted to honor their friends, and now we were told to just sit back and relax, because it was their show to run.

J. and L., by the way, are two young and rather hunky fellows, but they are also two of the sweetest guys I know--daredevil drivers on the road (we always say our prayers whenever they're at the wheel) but also capable of whipping up a mean meal--or in this case, ordering a fine one. For this evening, they started us off with delicious soup with pasta (I insisted on a second serving), followed by appetizers of fish fillet and beef with vegetables. Halfway through I was full, but still ahead were the main course--lengua--and the obscene dessert--moist chocolate cake with strawberry toppings. I'm describing them in a very plain way, but really, all these treats came in artful servings. (Two days later I was weighing 4 pounds heavier. But anything for friends.)

We had so much fun savoring the food, the talk, the laughter, the company. J. and L. also remembered to hand each of us a printed card of our zodiac forecast, with a long-stemmed rose to accompany it. I'm not into flowers, much more the horoscope, but I so appreciated the gesture. Man, did they think this through! At the end of it all we had to give the couple a round of applause and our tightest hugs, for a Valentine dinner that made each of us, their friends, feel individually special. Ahem, with fellas like these, who needs The Effing One?

Postscript: Fate just had to remind me, though, that my life is a Woody Allen movie. After dinner Chris popped a question in a horrified tone: "Ay, whose shoes are these?" They were mine. Stupid me, I had taken them off and placed them in a corner under a floor lamp, without realizing a candle was burning inside it. By the time we took notice my shoes were already buried under a mound of white candle droppings. They were black suede Florsheims. Kinda heartbreaking, but I wasn't about to let it ruin the great evening, so we all just had a good laugh. I went home not caring that I wore weird-looking shoes. Bakit ba, e masaya ako. Anyone want a pair of Dalmatian-spotted Florsheims?


beektur said...

it is really great to have those types of friends. i remember when i was in a relationship (ehem, aeons ago) i would slip out to antipolo friday night, with my friends, without my partner, to play mahjong the whole night and the whole following day, all the while gorging on food and laughing. my partner had long gone on to other partners but my friends endured and i still play mahjong with them the whole night and the whole following day.

who needs the effing one? we all do. but even when you have the effing one, you keep your effing great friends to keep your sanity.

joelmcvie said...

Cheers to effing friends!

(Teeekaaaa, parang fuck buddies pala yun! Ahahaha!)

aryo said...

Hmm. Now I feel envious. Wala bang part 2 yun? Pa-invite naman. Kaya lang, ang next occasion nga pala e holy week na. Wala na yatang pag-asa talaga. (sigh)

annamanila said...

Thanks, feel ko I was vicariously invited to that dreamy dinner. Effing .. i just got it too even before someone above spelled it out.

Little Fish said...

Wow! ang saya. Kelan kaya ako magkaroon ng friends like yours???
Ewan....lahat friends ko meron "hidden agenda".
Reading the post, feel ko nandoon din ako....katabi Gibbs Cadiz and secretly holding his hands under the table....kaya lang appetizers nila fish fillet....little fish ako....ayyyy!
anyway, lab ko si gibbs...

lil fish

gibbs cadiz said...

aha, BEEKTUR, kilala ko ba ang tinatakasan mo noon? :)

bad, MCVIE, bad! :)

ARYO, na-invite din lang ako, remember? next time, tanong ako kung allowed ang gatecrashers. aay! :)

hey ANNAMANILA, thanks--regular ka na ha! much obliged. :)

LITTLE FISH, so what's the "hidden agenda" of your friends? :)

vincedejesus said...

psst... buti walang nanggugulong anonymous sa thread na ito.


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