Tuesday, January 22, 2008

So, do you work together?

"So, do you work together?" It's an innocuous, conversation-starting question. Not terribly creative, but not bad. And can be answered in a variety of innocuous ways.

That is, assuming you are not a person who says the first thing that comes to your mind. (There are, in case you are concerned, no misused dairy products in this story.)

You are out for a Friday evening. On a really fun date. You've both had long weeks, and are happily unwinding.

You start the date with a glass of wine at the bar, while you wait to be seated for your decadent dinner at Taberna del Alabardero. After your wine-ful dine-ful dinner, you wander back to your date's neighborhood, and mince up the street to his local restaurant and bar - a place he goes all the time. He'll grab dinner there by himself after working really late, or on a Sunday. He knows the bartenders, and the atmosphere is super friendly.

It is crowded, but you find two stools at the bar. And his favorite bartender, the one who can wax poetic about Belgian ale and medieval English literature, is working that night.

And since you both love Belgian beer, even though you have consumed plenty of alcohol, you don't hesitate to split one of those big, fancy bottles. Because after all it's brewed and hand wrapped by naked monks, or some such thing. And when they pull the cork out it's almost like champagne.

Whee! Fun!

Your date, being a regular, sees some people he knows in the crowd. He knows them, not as friends, but through bumping into them in the neighborhood, through familiarity fostered by propinquity. Plus, as DC is small, they are professionally connected by fewer than six degrees of separation.

Once you finish one bottle, you have the bartender choose another kind of yummy Trappist-brewed beer. Because it is fun, and you get an interesting explanation of the monks and the fermentation, and the bottles are big enough that you can offer glasses to others.

Because once you have had plenty to drink, more - more alcohol, more people - more is just, well, more fun. No?

In retrospect, you are pretty certain you were that couple at the bar. The people sitting too close together, holding hands all the time, and looking at each other with ooey gooey eyes. Like, if there were a bear within five miles, he'd charge in and maul you for the honey oozing out of your pores. Yikes.

So let's say the wife of one of these bar friends stops to say hello on her way out. You shake her hand. With the hand that isn't being firmly held by your date.

This woman you have just been introduced to, the first thing she says, after hello, is, "Do you work together?"

I invite you to take a moment to think about how you'd answer that.

Now, please bear in mind that the amount of fancy schmancy dinner food is, at this point, far outweighed by the sheer volume of alcohol consumed. Add to this the fact that you are as close to sitting on each other's laps as you can be while remaining on your respective bar stools.

You might say, in your mind, "What kind of asinine question is that? Do you kiss and hold hand with people you work with?"


You might say that to her. Or you could choose to be polite, and very sincerely explain that no, actually, you're dating, and you'd never date someone you worked with.

Or, before you can formulate a reasonable answer, your mouth might already be saying, "Well, no. We sleep together."

But just know that if you do say this? And she does nothing but blink? And blink again? And you spend a few moments just looking at each other, neither quite sure what to do?

It will be awkward. Very awkward.


  1. That is an asinine (and passive aggressive) question. She deserved an answer like that. And I say, awkward for her, not for you.

  2. You know, I'd be rather proud if my mouth automatically came up with such replies. That was perfect, really. Splendid. Bravo!

  3. It's lame, but it's just another way of asking "so how do you know eachother?" or "so how did you meet?" People don't know any other way to start a conversation, so they resort to that.

  4. I love it. That's a great response...


  5. CLASSIC LISA at work here.


    Thanks for that by the way.

  6. Great story. Hope you fit some bacon in at that fancy meal.

  7. Hahahaha! SASSY! :o)

  8. TMM - I hadn't thought about it as passive agressive. I have no idea - that really was the end of our conversation.

    Dag - Thanks. I'm glad to hear that. It was very awkward.

    I-66 - I know. It is a very easy way to start conversation when you don't know what else to say. I wasn't trying to be horrible or shut her down - it just happened.

    VVK - Thanks, friend.

    SD - I'm glad you appreciated it! :)

    Sean - Ha ha! I had bacon last night, in fact, but in a very unfancy salad!

    A.S. - One can but try. :)

    Rich - Heh.

  9. Perfect! You could've dotted her nose with beer foam....

  10. Brilliant response and brilliant use of "propinquity" . . . I had to look that one up.

  11. right, if someone can't appreciate the dry humor brilliance of that response to their question, well...

    i guess they're likely to be the kind of person who asks the question in the first place.

  12. DCup - I don't think that fast, nor am I that saucy. It's a great visual, though!

    FRM - Hey, thanks!

    kate.d. - Yes, exactly! Nobody I know would ask that question in that situation.

  13. hilarious - you are too funny. wish I would've been there. didn't know you were such a belgian beer fan. MPD

  14. If by awkward you mean FABULOUS then sure.

    You are a master story teller and I am literally always hooked.

    Oh, and this is pretty much life philosophy "more - more alcohol, more people - more is just, well, more fun. No?"

    Um.. More is Better?!


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