Doing the "Don't care" dinner dance

So the planets aligned, the stars juxtaposed just right, and the gods smiled briefly down upon myself and my lovely wife. All five of the little Minions of Sauron are going to be babysat/looked after/cared for by others/sold into slavery this coming weekend, and the Wife of Sauron and I will have roughly 24 hours of well-deserved, blissful time together. Gone will be the near-constant shrieks of “That’s mine!” and “I’m telling!” and “You’re not fair!” and “Stop putting your finger in my nose!” that the kids have to listen to when my wife and I fight. Instead, the wife and I can relax, sit back, and enjoy life for a little while.

“So what do you want to do?” Mrs. Sauron asks.

“Hot monkey sex,” I immediately reply. Somewhat surprisingly, this does not cause her to prostrate herself in a lust-induced fervor. Perhaps I should shower more often. Or maybe my delivery is off. That line always works in the porn films.

“We should go out to eat,” Mrs. Sauron says. This makes sense; after all, my parents have offered to watch the tiniest Minion of Sauron and pay for us to have a nice dinner, in celebration of our wedding anniversary. Of course, our wedding anniversary was actually two weeks ago, but hey … you take what you can get. Nevertheless, it stands to reason, if someone is going to pay for us to eat out, we should probably eat out.

“Okay,” I reply. “How about McDonald’s?”

She gives me The Look.

“Hey, some very important people eat there,” I say, testily. “You never know who you might meet.”

“I was thinking someplace a little fancier than that,” she replies.

“Okay. How about Wendy’s?”

The Look again. I give up.

“Okay, where do you want to go?” I ask, naively.

“Oh, I don’t care.”

And so it begins.

Not since Salome did the “Bring me the head of John the Baptist” dance has any terpsichorean tragedy caused more grief than the “Don’t care” dinner dance. Fortunately, my wife and I understand each other’s tastes, so we’re able to skip much of the preparatory moves of the dance: the “what do you want” waltz, the menu minuet, the dessert drop-and-kick. We can get right into the meat of the “don’t care” dance itself.

You’re familiar with this dance, of course. The moves are simple, yet can cause so much frustration. One partner will begin the dance by saying “I don’t care” to a question regarding a dining destination. The other partner will then fire off a list of potential eating establishments, all of which must be dismissed (and occasionally ridiculed) by the first partner. My wife and I have performed this dance many times, and we’ve gotten quite good at it. Sometimes friends will ask us to perform the dance for them, and are usually flat on their backs laughing once we get to the part where we’re red-faced, noses two inches apart, screaming at each other incomprehensibly. When the dance reaches this level (and note: a “don’t care” dinner dance of that complexity requires timing and skill that many people simply don’t have, so Don’t Try That at Home[sup]TM[/sup]), we usually end up going to Waffle House or simply not eating at all.

My wife once achieved international notoriety (and a signed letter of congratulations from Michael Flatley himself) when she selected a dinner destination beforehand, but wouldn’t tell me what it was. I was forced to shuck and jive for almost an hour, sweat pouring from my body, until by sheer luck I suggested the same place she had in mind. When we actually got to the restaurant, I was too exhausted to eat.

Ain’t love grand?

Anyway, this time Mrs. Sauron throws a monkey wrench in the works. She likes to do this from time to time, to keep me on my toes.

“How about Copeland’s?” she asks.

Now, I like Copeland’s fine; it’s a chain restaurant that features New Orleans-style cuisine, primarily seafood. But Mrs. Sauron doesn’t like the place. She’s complained in the past when we’ve gone there, and in two instances has faked projectile vomiting while in the restaurant (using a concealed bellows and giblet gravy) as a commentary on the food. So I know that’s not a valid suggestion. She’s just testing me, raising the level of difficulty on the dance. It’s like a skater doing a triple axel right out of the gate. You’re hoping to make the next skater on the program whimper like a whipped iguana and give up without even competing.

Fortunately, I am up to the challenge.

“Why in the name of sweet and holy chocolately goodness did you say Copeland’s?” I ask. “You hate the place. How about I suggest some restaurants, and you pick one of them?” Thus subtly establishing the fact that I’m going to lead.

“Sounds like a plan,” she replies.

Now, I’m not stupid enough to think that she’ll actually pick one restaurant. I’m stupid, but not that stupid. Regardless, the dance clearly dictates what my next move must be, so I follow the rules.

“Let’s see, we could try The Tavern, or Brio, or Chili’s, or Ruth’s Chris, or Connie Kanakis Cafe, or Outback, or On the Border, or Macaroni Grill. Pick one of those.” This last was said with a challenging, in-your-face tone, in the hopes that would goad her into actually picking a place out of spite. Unfortunately, she knows me too well.

“I don’t want Brio, or Ruth’s Chris, or Chili’s, or Macaroni Grill,” she says. “So that narrows it down.”

Notice the scheming sneakiness of her ways. She hasn’t actually validated any of my suggestions; she’s just ruled some of them out. Now, if I follow the rules of the dance, I must suggest each of the remaining three one at a time, and squirm in frustration as she shoots each one down. Then, when I’m completely out of ideas, she’ll suggest one of the four restaurants she originally excluded. If we enjoy the meal, she’ll take credit for suggesting it. If we don’t enjoy the meal, she’ll complain that I dragged her there against her will, because she “didn’t want to go there in the first place, and I told you that.”

So I attempt a daring and controversial move of my own. Such a move has been banned in international competition for seven years now, ever since the Vladivostok Riots, but since this is an unsanctioned dinner dance I figure I can get away with it.

“I’d like to go to The Tavern,” I say. “I liked it the last time we went there, and if memory serves you like it a lot, too.”

“Sounds good to me,” she says, and so our Friday night dinner plans are set. Or so I think.

Five bucks says we end up at Waffle House, not speaking to each other.

Damn, Sauron, that was great! I give it a 9/10 (had to take a point off for lack of swearing). All in all, an excellent rant.

This had me laughing, very loudly. My favorite part of the OP.

Of course, I am intimately aware of the Dinner Dance, and I feel your pain. We go through the same thing and end up at the IHOP…if we end up eating at all. One time I actually turned the car around (we left the house still arguing) and drove home, and refused to eat or talk to him for the rest of the night.
Childish, but he started it.

I’m raising chickens these days as a sideline and I know the dance of which you speak.
It starts with a face off-generally over a grasshopper.
Necks stretched, feathers ruffled, the birds start jabbing at one another with their beaks while circling.
Then one will get a little air time in an attempt to intimidate the other one.
By this time, of course, the grasshopper is long gone.
I just have one question for you ** Sauron**, are you and the Mrs. layers or fryers?

Teehee Buon Appetito! wherever you end up :slight_smile:

You mean you had to actually mix in other restaurants in the same breath as Connie Kanakis’?? That is just wrong. And not once did I see the words “Kobe, Japanese Steak House of the Gods” in that sentence!

We have a hunnerd jillion great places to go in Birmingham, and you mention those minions as opposed to Connie’s? Hell, no wonder that dance synchronized so well! :wink:

[sub]My husband and I know this dance quite well, too, and usually end up ordering Domino’s, drinking beer and conking out at nine. What a waste!![/sub]


Our rules for the dance: one veto, one countersuggestion. You don’t get to shoot my restaurant down unless you make a restaurant proposal yourself. And no fair making an absurd proposal, either. Gotta be legit.

The dance is shorter. Usually.


Mrs. Sauron prefers Stix over Kobe. Which is odd, because she loves to tell the story of the first time I ate at Kobe, and thought the chef was kidding when he offered to flip a shrimp for me to catch in my mouth. It ended up bouncing off my forehead while I sat stock-still.

I am somewhat hampered in my dinner suggestions, because my wife does not like Chinese food (her Stix fetish notwithstanding), seafood, or any food that has a vowel in its name. So I have to dance carefully, else I will incur her wrath.


I’m not gonna answer this, 'cause I get the feeling whatever I say will get me in trouble with Mrs. Sauron.

DanielWithrow: How on earth do you impose and follow rules for the dance? I thought it was supposed to be this chaotic free-for-all. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.

Good grief! The Macaroni Grill wasn’t good enough? I’m a frickin’ certified food nazi and walked out of the place pretty well impressed. What’s not to like (besides the opera singing)?

Methinks you have an extremely picky eater on your hands. Then again, this could just be a case of complete inability to make up one’s mind. This has always been an exceedingly rare condition in women.


Daniel: Well, we could go to Brew & View for dinner.
burundi: Eh. I ate there for lunch yesterday.
Daniel: [baring teeth in a dangerous, humorless grin] Fine. Your turn to suggest something.
burundi: [cringing back a little] Uh, Heiwa?
Daniel: [grin relaxing into a scowl] Crap – I went there with friends a couple of nights ago. That means I gotta suggest something, right?
burundi: [smiling triumphantly] Yep!


Our dance is not called “don’t care”

Our dance is called “don’t know”

“What do you want?” “I don’t know. … How about the mole place?” “No, I don’t want mole” “What do you want” “I don’t know, what do you want” “I don’t know, how about the teryaki place?”

Wow we do this dance too :slight_smile: I don’t know if that should make me feel better or worse!

I must say though that I would have taken the wild monkey sex and then made hubby go get Wendy’s! I wonder if my inlaws will munchkin-sit this week?!

Like others who have responded to this thread, I too have done the “Don’t Care” Dinner Dance, with the occasional “I Dunno” Tango.

My wife, however, is a diabetic and therefore must eat. We cannot abandon the complex footwork and retire, exhausted, to the “Let’s Just Not Eat” Sidelines. We gotta. Go. Somewhere.

And at this point, we’re usually already in the car, toodling around Hell’s Half Acre.

I have taken the extreme measure of shutting up and driving to the nearest place that hasn’t made me gag in the past six months and silently daring her to say something about it. Generally, she will. But by then she’s too hungry to put up too much of a fight and I win through sheer attrition.

We did this dance for years. Much acrimony and many stubbed toes. We faced both problems–lack of knowledge (we don’t eat out often enough to know what’s around) and lack of consensus. Our current technique–which seems to be working:

When we hear of restaurants that we’d (individually) like to go to, we write the name down on a slip of paper and stick it in the “going out jar”. His are (cleverly) blue, mine are (wait for it) pink. There’s a possession arrow, so we know who’s “turn” it is. When one of those rare childfree nights occurs, we each draw a restaurant name from the jar. First priority goes to the person whose turn it is, BUT (and here’s the fun) they have the option of chosing the other person’s slip instead. This narrows down the choices while still providing the opportunity to curry some favor by selecting the other person’s slip. Mr. as_u_wish claims I choose his slip as a sneaky way of shifting the “blame” if the restaurant turns out to be a lemon.

Anyway, it works for us. At least, it turns what used to be hours of shilly shallying into about 5 minutes of more relaxed conversation along the lines of “omg, you put THAT name in there? so did I.” “Well, it still counts as your choice.” “That’s what you think…” All of which makes us laugh instead of steam.

This is a riot. I’m glad to know this doesn’t just happen in my house.

Our last resort when no one wants to decide is Souplantation.

I feel much better now that I know I’m not alone. :wink:

Around the Interrobang!? household, the first person to answer that he/she “doesn’t care” forfeits all right to veto, complain about or otherwise interfere with the other person’s choice.

I know, it sounds like paradise. But it just guarantees that the vetoing begins without the “don’t care” warm-up round.

CrazyCatLady and I have our own little version of this dance, both when we’re going out and when we’re cooking here at home. The difference is that she really, truly, honestly does not care where we go or what we have.

This leaves me in the position of having to decide not only what I’m in the mood for–which I’m seldom clear on myself–but what she’s in the mood for. It’s left up to me because she will absolutely wait me out; many is the night we’ve just not eaten at all, or she’s gone to sleep before we make a decision.

Fortunately, she’s also very easy to please. Still makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes, though.

Dr. J

This is our routine, too. The only caveat is that I don’t like Mexican food, so those places are automatically out. And, honestly, I don’t usually care where we go, so I try to suggest a place I know he’ll like. Overall, it seems to work for us. And any dinner I don’t have to cook or clean up after is a good dinner.

I she says she doesn’t care, then I immediately pick the one thing I want most and suggest it.

“OK. If you don’t care, then I want Baja Fresh. Let’s go.”

If she objects, the ball then goes into her court to trump my selection with a mutually agreeable place. Give the impression that she has to pick something specific on her own to avoid going to the place you picked as a default.

Ok…MY turn…

To begin, Lord Ashtar, Sauron rarely, if ever curses…it drives me nucking futs…I’m the swearer in our house.

Sylkyn, Sauron doesn’t drink so I can never resort to pizza and beer… :frown:

Zenster, I am not really a picky eater. I just usually get the same basic type dish no matter where we go so I really DON’T CARE where he picks so I want him to choose something he would enjoy. I’m going to be happy no matter where we go because I get to spend time talking to him.

{Everybody together now} AAAWWWWW… :wink:

I eat out a lot at work so I get tired of restaurants for the most part.

What he doesn’t realizes is that I have been thinking about just going to the Bright Star anyway…we haven’t been there since Christmas.

THEN there will still be plenty of time for the hot monkey sex. :wink: