Short. Ponytail. Wearing black.

Eli's Middletown CT

A really smooth character would hide the bill in his hand, extend his arm into a shake with a sly nod, and be seated now, considering appetizers.

Instead, we’re waiting in a corner at Eli Cannon’s, having fun, sure, but thinking we’ll need to leave without eating; it’s a work night, and it’s getting late.

They had said a half-hour wait. Fine with us. We ordered a beer and found a spot. The half hour was long gone. We ordered another beer, not typical Tuesday night behavior.

We pestered the host. My husband pondered whether he should duke him for a table. It’s a cool-guy move that my dad’s generation could pull off. Think Frank Sinatra greasing palms in Vegas. My husband’s got some moves, but duking maitre d’s isn’t one of them.

In line for the bathroom, I glared for a while at two men sipping water and playing on their smartphones. They didn’t budge from their table.

One-and-a-half hours after we entered, we were still waiting. It was long past the time for the “May I help you riff.” I parked myself next to the host. When he stepped away from his podium, I peeked at his notes to see where we were in the queue.

I found myself on his list and read: “Short. Ponytail. Wearing black.” My essence, distilled to four words.

He came back and caught me snooping.

“Oh, so that’s all I am to you? ‘Short. Ponytail. Wearing black,’” I said. He blanched like he was caught with his hand in the till.

I tried to help him out.

“Don’t worry. I know I’m short,” I said. “You could have really told it like it is and written, ‘Overweight. Middle-aged. No fashion sense.’”

This did not help at all and, in fact, mortified him. I slunk away.

More time passed.

A new woman came up, and he told her it would be a half hour.

“A half hour?” she frowned. “I thought we could get right in on a Tuesday night. Well, OK, we’ll wait in the bar.” She walked away.

I leaned over his shoulder, as if I were reading what he was writing about her, and said, “Blonde. Preppy. Passive-aggressive.”

He turned around stone-faced and greeted me like he didn’t know who I was: “Randy, party of two?” He led me to our table and said, “I can finally get you out of my hair.”

I was deep in an anxious state when my husband got back from the bathroom. I told him my joke about the blonde. It was funny, right? Damn, it was the best joke of my career.

The host came by and asked if our spacious table was all right. He chatted with us, friendly as can be, even smiled at his admission that he had liked my joke. Not offended at all, he had smoothly one-upped me.

Meal finished, I gave our host a friendly wave goodbye.

My husband shook his hand and duked him ten dollars.

Andrew at Eli Cannon's

Update: On a subsequent visit to Eli Cannon’s, Andrew allowed me to take his photo and identify him by name. Thanks, Andrew.

button 150x150 This is part of a series, Scene from a Memoir.

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

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30 Responses to Short. Ponytail. Wearing black.

  1. Dana says:

    I LOVE how you said “Blonde. Preppy. Passive-agressive.”!!! I would have been thinking it but wouldn’t have the guts to say it.

    • Marcy says:

      Thanks. I am never good at thinking up jokes on the spur of the moment, but then I was crushed when I thought I had offended him. 🙂

  2. I liked your blonde joke (and I’m blonde!). Nights like that must be hard, with so many upset customers. Glad you had a laugh about it later 😉

    • Marcy says:

      I know, I really felt like a jerk when he said he was glad to get me out of his hair. But it all worked out. Thanks for the blonde stamp of approval 🙂

  3. I think it’s so cool the host was OK with it. You should go back there with a slammin’ dress on next time and say, “How would you describe me now?!?”

  4. Joe says:

    Congrats. I never fail to come up with that great line an hour after I needed it.

  5. i can’t believe he writes descriptions of people. how funny… and dangerous. 😉 it would be funny if he were funny and wrote descriptions like yours of the blonde woman.

  6. jenny leigh says:

    Bahahaha!!! I would have never been able to find any humor in that. I would’ve just been mad over waiting for so long!

    • Marcy says:

      We probably should have left, but we were at the point where we had invested so much time, and it should be any minute.

  7. Hi Marcy,

    I half thought this was a made up story – even better, it’s a true story that reads like fiction 🙂 I bet your memoir will be great. I’m half way through mine and somewhat stalled. We should buddy up to motivate each other.

    I love your quest too.. but I think I told you that already 🙂

    Keep at it.

    x Annabel

  8. Ericamos says:

    That was hilarious! It’s great that he had a sense of humor!

  9. Love it! Sometimes I want to put strangers on the spot and say “Three words- describe me” except scary would definitely be one of them after that!

    • Marcy says:

      Wow, that would be brave! I don’t think I’d want to hear what anyone came up with. I don’t make a great first impression. Years ago, I asked two different friends of mine what their first impression of me was, and they both said snobby. I was all, no I’m shy and insecure, but that’s what they thought. 🙂

  10. christina says:

    hehehe i needed this chuckle. fun piece.

  11. iasoupmama says:

    Awesome! I’m glad that he finally found you a table and that he really did appreciate your joke.

  12. I bet you were the person they all talked about at the end of the night. Way to be that person! Great joke and way to not go postal. I was stressing out just reading about the wait!

  13. I think “describe in three words” would be a fun way to pass the time the next occasion when you find yourself waiting for a table.

  14. Scha-wing! Good one liners Marcy. Great story. You had me sucked in.

  15. beverlydiehl says:

    This is hilarious. I don’t think I’ve ever been waiting for a table where they take notes – mostly just take your name and hand you the vibrating buzzy thing (Yes, I know I’m a cheap date.)

    Great one-liners, wonderful storytelling here.

  16. Robbie says:

    i probably wouldn’t have been quite as nice with blonde and preppy as you were. I’ve always wanted to “grease a palm” as you say but would be curly haired, awkward. wearing black”

  17. Pingback: Year in Review: 2013 | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

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