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?”