Monday, September 26, 2011

Please Don’t Ruin My Good Stuff

Barbara:  As you might have guessed from my ‘tude here on the blog, I’m a pretty effusive person. Thing is, I’m not just effusive on paper, I’m a true effusivist (don’t look it up, it’s not a word). If I love something, I LOVE something!!!!!

We were at dinner the other night (for my hubby’s 50th, yay!) and we tried this really special highly recommended restaurant. It was one of those meals where every bite––even the friggin’ bread they serve are these little one-off bites of baguette or puff pastry—makes your eyes roll into the back of your head. Orgasmic bursts of flavour. Unusual combinations of ingredients but viscerally familiar. It was divine in the truest sense of the word. So as we eat, I’m effusing it up—even the waiter who must get lots of positive feedback about the food seemed surprised at my enthusiasm.

Then my daughter (another food effusivist) and I started to compare notes as to who we would go back there with—and who we wouldn’t. Because, you see, we’re both sensitive to the “rain on your parade” brigade. So we decided we were not going to share our gem with anyone who might just cut the place up (or down). We don’t want it ruined for us.

Just to be clear, this is not a rant against “rain on your paraders”, although we can do that if you want; it’s more an examination of WHY this is so anathema to me. I’m usually a pretty go-with-the-flow person, but when it comes to my beloved treasures, I just shrivel up with disappointment if someone doesn’t love what I LOVE. Why? I’m great with criticism, by the way, or constructive feedback; you can tell me any number of things about myself or my work. Just don’t shit on my diamonds.

So why do I care if my cup of tea isn’t yours? It’s okay if we both love it, it’s okay if we both hate it (nothing like cutting up a thing together), I can even do the I hate it and you love it (because I try and back off the criticism if I know it’s your thing). But why oh why can’t I take it if I love it and you hate it?

We have some friends who I swear are NOT rainers on paraders, and yet every time—EVERY TIME—we recommend some thing or place, they have a terrible experience with it. Sadly, it ruins the thing or place for us.

I should say this: I am trying to get over this. I am trying to fully embrace the things I love, whether it’s music, places, clothes, or food, knowing there’s a whole array of different opinions out there and a whole world of variety to cater to them. I want to fully appreciate my own taste, for better or worse, and to do so I have to celebrate it, for better or worse.

So do I tell you the name of that extraordinary restaurant … or do I keep it a sacred secret???

Okay, okay, because I love you: it’s Campagnolo in downtown Toronto. Enjoy or don’t. Just don’t argue with me about it.

Deb: I LOVE THIS POST, BARB! I too am an effusivist! And, yes, I am always so reluctant to suggest for the same reason. But here’s my simple solution when someone recommends something that does not turn out well.  LIE. For the love of all that’s holy, LIE. If someone you care for waxes poetic with a heartfelt recommendation and you go and do not share their enthusiasm––LIE. LIE LIE.  It always kills me when someone does that “yeah, we really didn’t like it and it was this and it was that ...WHY? What is the purpose of this response? Will it change their bad experience to a good one? Will it change your wonderful experience to a bad one? NO. Neither of these things will happen. It is totally unnecessary. “How did you enjoy the restaurant we sent you to?” “We loved it, thanks.” Easy? YES. Even if you do not want to sing its praises, you can surely find something nice to say. Even one thing. And then change the damn subject. The people who sent you clearly thought you would have the same wonderful experience they had. They sent you because they like you and wanted and expected you to enjoy it. They did a nice thing by sending you. So do a nice thing back. Did I say this before? LIE!  Something I always try to live by: ”would I rather be right or would I rather be kind?” 


  1. okay I am making the first comment today. I just re-read the whole blog and realized that I sounded like a bitter old git. I should explain. This recently happened to my Mom and Dad. They told a friend (who asked for the advise) about a lovely spot they used to go for snacks and drinks and to watch the fireworks on July 1st. I went with them myself a few times and it was great. Well in their world this was just yesterday but of course it was years ago. After taking their advise this friend called them up and railed on about the place saying he couldn't get a seat by the window, the food was bad and on and on. They felt so awful, and so embarrassed. They are 84!!! I told them that they have no reason to feel bad. But the "friend" took time not only to call and tell them the place had gone down hill but to suggest to them that they should no longer recommend it. Really?

  2. {Deb - It bothers me that someone was so mean to your parents. :( }

    This is such a great post! :)

    My friend A used to annoy the tar out of me doing a variation of this.

    Me: Oh, I really like shrimp!
    A: Ugh, no. They're so nasty. They're little poop bugs that scavenge the bottom of the sea. I'd never put that in my mouth.

    Me: We had the best time at Grecian the other night. It was so fun laughing with everyone.
    A: Ugh. We ate there once, and I'll never go back. Everything tastes dirty.

    Me: The gari is my favorite part of eating sushi!
    A: Ewww. It tastes like dish soap.

    And on and on and on... And, then, of course, the next time I'm at one of those places or eating one of those things, her words come back into my mind and spoil it a little. *sigh*

    Barbara, I really, really like what you say about becoming secure in your own tastes. I went through this thought process when I first started doing craft swaps and keeping a wist a few years ago. Questionnaires for craft swaps get pretty detailed and thorough about preferences and dislikes - everything from yarn and fabric preferences to hobbies to favorite animals (which is, of course, key in a successful swap -- honor your swap partner's tastes), and a wist is exposing your tastes to the world. And, in the beginning, I had to decide that it was just plain OK that I have "weird" tastes. lol I'd always get comments about how "unusual" and "diverse" I am. Whatever. It's just who I am. I'm a freak. *sigh*

    I hate tweed, herringbone, and houndstooth. I love sari silks, brocades, and crushed velvet. While I don't like much of what plays on the radio, I am completely enamored of gritty old blues music, bagpipes, sitars, Cajun music, and bluegrass. I prefer skirts to pants. I actively despise fuscia/hot pink, orange, and most yellows. *shudder* My favorite color is green (especially Christmas green, deep emerald green, and shamrock green), but there are 2 ugly shades of green I can't stand (seafoam and olive drab). (Sorry, Ruth. I know od green is one of your favorite colors, but I do not like it at all. Of course, I also figure you like od green in part because you have a thing for big, buff, hot soldiers and Marines! :D ) My second favorite color is purple, but only the bluer purples, not the redder ones. *shrugs* I adore beads, but only glass and stone ones. But, not plastic. 3/4 length shirt sleeves get on my nerves because I keep wanting to tug them down to my wrists. So, I'm a picky pants. Get over it. LOL

    And, I like helicopters. I really, really, really, really, really, really, really like helicopters. My favorites are USCG Dolphins and Jayhawks. I love helicopters. I'm a rotor wash junkie. :)

    I wish more TMA folks had a wist so I could peruse your tastes. Katie and I do. Does anyone else?

  3. *shaking my head*

    Ok, I'm about to embark on a brief all-caps rage moment. we go.....


    About 99% of the time, I am generally a happy person (perhaps not so much today, because I'm sick and feeling downright lousy), but I can't stand people who are giant festivals of crappy attitudes and feel the need to crap on your good vibes. BAAHH!!

    Not sure how I deal with it...depends on the situation, I guess.

    P.S. Took a gander at the restaurant's website and sample menu and OHMAHGOODNESS!!! I think I might have just died and gone to food heaven!

  4. I keep going and raving about the places and if it is a hit or not I don't care because I love it. Same with movies. I always just say how much I loved a movie or a place or a book and they can take it or leave it. I like what I like and they can like what they like and if they complain I just say sorry-different tastes or too bad because I have not had a meal there I didn't love. Then off I go back to the restaurant over and over again.

  5. Deb was worried about raining too much on rainers on paraders and I was worried about raining on them at all -- but it seems we found a common weak spot!! So let's harrumph a little. Madge, as always, has the most even response, our yoda. But damn, Deb's story made me mad. It's her parents for gawd sake!! And Rigel, great list!

  6. I am like this as well. If someone give me a suggestion on a place to go or anything to do , It may not be my thing, but I am not going to be rude to them and tell them that. If they would ask me how I liked the place that they took time to think of for me. Then I would have simply said " it was great thank You". I figure if someone takes time out of their day to think of someplace special for you then we should at least thank them and give then a good report about it . And if we don't like the place then don't call then up to tell then keep it to your self and don't be rude. Of corse this is all in my opinion .

    This is a great post.

  7. Lol Rigel, you've got me pegged. Guilty!

    Nah, I really do like OD Green by itself, but the eye candy is just extra incentive. :)

  8. "Just don’t shit on my diamonds." Heh! Love this.
    "I'd rather be kind than right." Words to live by, for sure.

    Excellent advice, Deb, or Bambi's friend Flower the skunk: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

    That's especially true when your friend is in raptures over a beloved music, food, movie, or place. (I've got to smarten up about the mountains. My dad and sister love living in their Okanagan city and think they're in paradise; when I go visit I can't wait to get away from the city and those damn hunks of rock that block my view of sky! When people rapturize about the beautiful mountains, etc, where they make their home, I don't HAVE to remind them that I feel so much differently. Shut UP! Besides, as my hubby says, we don't want to sing the praises of Saskatchewan too loudly because if all those mountain-lovers moved here, we'd be just as overcrowded!).

    I think people feel it's necessary to state what their experience is, all the time; they can't just hear what yours is without tacking theirs up beside it. (Look at us, your commenters here!) And inevitably their experience of a thing will often differ from ours.

    Lately before speaking, and sometimes even before writing (!), I do stop and ask myself whether my input is necessary or will make any difference at all. Especially when my input would consist of disagreement with someone else. And if I'm pointedly asked, I guess I wouldn't actually lie, but I'd do my best to be tactful or noncommittal. In my job of the past 8 years, I've had to learn to be diplomatic.

    It is a disappointment to me too, Barb, when someone doesn't appreciate a beauty I have discovered. I may never understand how human tastes can be so very different! More and more lately I just feel a slight regret when people don't see beauty that I see. And very, very fortunate that I'm not missing it.

    It drives my son Everett batty when I rapturize verbally while eating something delicious; apparently I do this all too often. He complains. Unless it's his fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies or his whole wheat bread hot from the oven. Then he puffs up with pride.

  9. Lyndsie, yes yes yes. I agree!
    And Ruth, I love me some OD green too!

    Kate, how many "words to live by" have you included here?: the beauty of mountains vs sky. 2 different worlds, love what you love! "whether the input is necessary", so interesting because sometimes it's important that we challenge each other and sometimes... not so much. "and very very fortunate that I"m not missing it" is the thing, right? And then the embarrassment over raptures -- and yet how we all love them when they are extended to our own things. Another reason I'm a die-hard effusivist -- I want people to know their thing is THAT lovable (to me, anyway).

  10. Yes, but if they sent you to a restaurant and the waiter served you a single pea in a bed of mop water . . . you might have to question your loyalty to these people. Otherwise, all valid. Hi.

  11. MJ, I might have to question the sanity of those people ... and why I have friends who like a single pea in a bed of mop water.

    Great to see you again!! xo

  12. Barb -- you realize we just "outed" ourselves as to how vocal we both likely are in the bedroom, right?

    M.J., your single pea in a bed of mop water made me laugh out loud. Thankyou!

  13. Oooh, Rain-On-Paraders... how they annoy me! Barb, I totally feel ya on this! I have many things in my life that I love to pieces, and my best friend can't stand some of them (though shrimp, my fave seafood, causes her to have an allergic reaction, so I understand that!). On the other hand, there are things she loves, that bore/annoy me to no end!
    Rigel, in some ways, you sound like me: hating hot pink, orange, and yellow, but loving emerald green and deep blue-purples! In other ways, not so much: only wearing skirts when I absolutely HAVE to, and loving 3/4 length- sleeve shirts, for example.
    Of course, everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion. I have found, that, if you have to deal with someone's unpleasant opinion, just smile, and nod. SMILE, AND NOD. It'll save a lot of arguments, that's for sure! :)

  14. Beth,

    You remind me of the penguins on Madagascar! "Smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave." LOL :D

  15. "Rainers on Parades" really do take some of the air out of my happy tires, too, Barb.

    I've had the same experience with Mesa Grill at Caesar's Palace in Vegas. I swear even the water was delicious! (It was also saving me from dying from the 16-spice rub on the pork loin. WHOA.) BEST meal I've ever eaten. But, and here's an interesting twist, when I've told people about it, several of them have said, "Oh, I think Bobby Flay's a jerk."

    Uh, what? Yes, he owns the restaurant, but I'm talking about the food here! It was a tough thing to realize that, yeah, I am talking about the food, so what they think of the man doesn't factor into it, and doesn't have to affect how I felt about that meal. (Which is still the most delicious meal I've ever had.)

    Deb, I like your answer: LIE. Works for me, both ways. I don't want to rain on anyone's happiness, any more than I want them to on mine.

    And what a horrible thing to say to your parents, to not only badmouth their recommendation, but also negate it completely! THAT was completely unnecessary. Some "friend." Hmph.

  16. Ha, Kate!! Well played :)

    Beth, Dawn, and Rigel, thanks for supporing our rainers-on-paraders stance. It's a good movement -- which Deb sums up perfectly: I'd rather be kind than right -- and sometimes it takes a bit o lying to be nice! Beth: love your colour sense too. And Dawn, I agree: who cares about the jerk who cooked the meal when the meal is the best one ever.

  17. I actually was an upside down duck in the Santa Claus parade once if that helps?

  18. Yes, Tim, that helps a lot. I will pocket that image and take it with me into all future rain parades :)

  19. Ok are you ready for this? There's a person inside the costume and they're not really upside down.......

  20. And it's easier for water (rain) to roll off the duck's back, no?

  21. It is indeed...that's what she said.

  22. Now, I belonged to a book club once.( I know, you guys are going to eat me alive for that one......) but that was the worst experience for having to take someone's recommendation and spend three days of your life reading 600 pages of absolute bs and then we all sat around drinking too much, pulling it apart and being polite. What we really wanted to say was holy sh.....what were you thinking!

  23. Actually, Tim, you bring up a very very good point. Books are treasures. You love it, you want others to love it. BUT a book club should really be about expressing opinions, for better or worse. The exception that proves the rule!!

  24. Just don't go trash talking Anne Lamott, Andrew Greeley, or Corrie ten Boom in my presence, and we'll be fine.

    Same with Real Genius, Ghostbusters, Seven Samurai, and The Trouble with Angels.

    Tim - Better an upside down duck than a horse's ass.

  25. Debra! As in Debra you're here! Where have you been all my life? Or Debra there's an inside joke between you and Barb here that you need to explain to me. Or Debra you're doing something bad

    I don't think horse's ass was an option or I would have signed up for sure.....

  26. Hey! Where did everybody go? Was it something I said......

  27. it was nothing you said m'dear.How could it be? All is well in bloggieville. And now I must retire to the emptying of the dishwasher. Don't you hate when real life kicks in?

  28. Good bye my friends! Sorry I side tracked you away from all that smart stuff you were talking about....
    but I really was an upside down duck! Hugs!

  29. what? NO goodbye. We need an upside down duck. REally. It was the one thing that was missing.

  30. I am really, really enjoying the higher hug concentration on the blog with the arrival of the new Y chromosome.

    Of course, it's 9:09pm, and my son is still working on his math homework. Bless his heart.
    >: (

    And, I've been moving loads of furniture for the past 6 hours. I could use a hug and a stiff drink.

    And, I don't even drink. ;)


  31. Tim, you are more than welcome for the laughs alone! I have this sound that my daughter says sounds like a duck (coincidence?) but she knows I'm dying when I make it. I just a set a new record for it.

  32. Uh oh. I must confess...I prefer the truth. My motto is "if you don't want to know how I feel, don't ask me". I will put it as kindly as I can but I will tell you. I grew up in a house where everyone was criticized for just about everything. Nothing was right, ever. I was trained well but managed to overcome and file down the rough edges of my personality, but a lot of the criticizing seeds lie dormant, waiting for the right waterer for them to burst open. When a PR (parade rainer) tells you they don't like something and you do, try and learn to see the humor in it. If someone told me they didn't like someplace because everything tasted like dirt, I would probably say something like "That only happens when the food is extra fresh" or "oh, next time maybe stay away from the snails, dear". Laugh at them, openly or internally. You certainly can't change how they are about raining or telling the hard truth, but you can change the way you look at it and react to it. When you learn how to do that you gain a great power, and feel a hell of a lot better about things. Choose to look at these poor rainmakers as sad people who probably aren't happy with much of anything. Or, like I wrote earlier, just make fun of them. :) Service was bad? Wow, it's always good for me and everyone else, maybe it was something you said? :) Also, depending upon how well I know the PR, my taunts can get pretty "everything tastes like...dirt???" "didn't I hear somewhere that that's a sign of a stroke?...or a cavity? Oh darn, maybe not, I forget...oh well, ;p...and they laugh at me. I have one overly picky friend who hates everything to eat, almost literally. Every time I mention what I'm having for lunch/dinner/breakfast I hear a resounding "EUUUU, NASTY!". My response? "Nasty! Just like I LOVE it, girlfriend" :) works out just fine in the end.
    hugs n quiches

  33. EUUUU, quiche! Nasty!


  34. Barbara and Deb - I'm the same way and that's why I don't like to suggest anything to people, especially those who buy into the "honesty at any price thing."

    White lies exist for a reason.

    I love this post, you two. From the first word to the last.

  35. Karen, so funny! That sense of humour of yours must get you through a lot of sticky sitches. And I am trying to live by your advice (although I will say if I don't want an opinion, I don't ask for it :) )

    Lisa, thank you. And interestingly the 1st word is "As" and the last word is "kind". I think that's a sign...

  36. ‎"Don't shit on my diamonds" would make a great & western perhaps? "Don't shit on my diamonds, they'll turn into stones. You've got a bad attitude just leave me alone. I went out to dinner and had a great meal, I don't really care sir for however you feel, so be a real sweetie, don't piss in my Wheaties, an don't shit on my diamonds they'll turn in-to STOOOOOOONES. woowoo (cue the train whistle that's in a lot of C&W songs) :) Could be a big hit on your hands there girlfriend. ha .. Hugs, The Wheatie Pee-er

    P.S. Rigel: Quiche, tasty unripe chicken pie. yum yum. i'll eat yours then. baby animals are so sweet .. to eat. mwah ha ha :p

  37. Karen -

    LOL Actually, I like quiche. But, I couldn't resist the tease. ;)

    Your song CRACKED ME UP!!! lolololol

  38. Jeez, Karen, it almost sounds like a hoedown! Which, yeah, I guess is a country thang. Well-played.

  39. Why did everybody think I was leaving? I was just saying bye for the night.....
    and besides I'm kinda buoyed up and struttin this morning because you guys called me a Y chromosome! I still got it! Ya!

  40. So funny. good. Welcome back. Or rather, thanks for staying or something like that.


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