This was not my typical scene. I’m comfortable in the filthiest hole-in-the-wall restaurants as well as the finest of fine dining establishments. But a cocktail lounge? I don’t really do cocktails, and, come to think of it, I’m not known for lounging. Yet there I was, sitting next to a grand piano and reading a menu in the dim lighting of Vito’s Restaurant & Lounge.
When the server took the drink order, I think I requested a glass of wine. And when she asked about food, I asked what she recommended from the “lounge menu.” Without hesitation, she raved about the Roman bean ragu, saying it’s popular and perhaps the best item on the menu.
And this is how I found myself eating a vegan dish in a cocktail lounge while drinking a house red that I can’t even remember.
So what does Vito’s Roman bean ragu teach us about sex?
It’s all about making mistakes, and making up for them.
When I took my first bite of the ragu, I was in disbelief. The tomatoes, onion, and rosemary were there, but the dish was absolutely bland. I took a second forkful, then mixed the contents of the dish before taking a third, but still bland. Something was missing to brighten up those beans.
And then, as if reading my mind, the server came over and inquired about my order. When I suggested it was just okay, she nodded and said that the chef noticed a seasoning problem, and wanted to send out a new batch.
Mistakes are easy to make. I’ve said it before: It’s unfortunate that we don’t come with usage manuals. As a result, we don’t always know if we’re doing the right thing, especially in bed.
We talk too much, or talk too little. We touch too soft or too hard, too slow or too fast, too soon or too late. Or in the wrong place. We forget to please the other person, or to seek pleasure for ourselves. We fall asleep too fast, or keep the other person from falling asleep.
We don’t ask what the other person likes. We get stuck in routines, and we fail to find ways to spice things up.
Kudos to Vito’s kitchen for catching a mistake and doing a do-over to spice up that Roman bean ragu. As with sex, sometimes you have to communicate and be vulnerable to make a situation better, and to help a relationship grow. Give, and you often get good things in return.
(As for making the mistake of shouting out the wrong person’s name in bed, I can only hope that communication can help with that one.)
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on May 5, 2011.