About That Time I Accidentally Ordered a $175 Steak on a Date

Yeah, that happened

A few years back, I enjoyed a dream-like experience. It was like something out of the most ridiculous rom-com starring… oh, let’s say, Amanda Seyfried as me, the protagonist, and Channing Tatum as Mark, my strapping love interest.

I’d been on an I-just-broke-up-with-my-boyfriend-let-me-get-away-from-it-all vacation to San Francisco. I stayed with a friend, wandered around, ate good food, drank high-end coffee. I spent a lot of time complaining about what the humidity was doing to my hair. One afternoon, I wandered into a local coffee shop for one more $5-latte, and there was Mark. Think: Not as hot as a mid-90s Jared Leto, but close; think: mid-90s Jared Leto’s slightly less attractive cousin.

Mark asked me what I was reading, and this launched us into a two-hour conversation on everything from overpriced coffee to overindulgent pet owners to which U.S. cities are the most self-delighted. He explained that his facial hair wasn’t usually so unkempt, and I explained that my head-hair wasn’t usually so frizzy. In short: It felt like meeting of the minds. Like I’d somehow — impossibly — dodged the bullet of single-hood; like I’d get the gift of slipping seamlessly from one relationship into the next. Sure, Mark lived in San Francisco and I lived in New York. But we’d bonded on the subject of indulgent pet owners. We were so clearly meant to be!

Mark and I had a week before I returned to New York, and we spent the better part of it together. Two days before I left, we were strolling along the Golden Gate Bridge all the while discussing the manner in which people exploit their children on Facebook, when he suggested a rather extravagant farewell.

"So here’s a thing," he said. "A friend of mine waits tables at one of the top-rated restaurants in the country, which is an hour or so away. I think I might be able to get us a table. What if we went there for your goodbye dinner?"