Valentine’s Day has always instilled a certain dread in me. I’m either single and therefore resentful of the fat baby parading his arrow around, or I’m with someone so clueless about romance that I end up booking the restaurant myself and act surprised that there is a bouquet of roses on the table waiting for me.
Possibly the reason I’m so fearful of Valentine’s Day is the hideous, mortifying night I had not too many years ago. Having gone out with a guy for 8 years, my female instinct, which I have subsequently fired, told me there was something special about this particular Valentine’s Day.
Maybe it was because there was so much love in the air, maybe because he was taking me to a 5-star restaurant which he’d booked 6 months in advance or maybe because I had been subtly hinting about taking the next step… Nothing too obvious, just a few subtle questions like… ‘so when are you going to propose?’
I spent a good hour getting ready, bought a new dress and wore underwear so beautiful and so uncomfortable that an hour into the evening I looked like I had rope burn.
The restaurant had catered for the special night with soft lighting, extra order on the roses and a set menu of aphrodisiacs.
I was now so convinced he was going to propose that it wasn’t a case of ‘if’ but rather ‘where was the ring hidden?’ I went to the bathroom five times before starters to give him the opportunity to hide the ring and spent my main course dissecting my wasabi mash. (Why anyone would hide a ring in mash potato is beyond me but I was running out of courses).
By the time dessert was ordered, I was beginning to give up hope, but assumed my chocolate mousse not only contained a gazillion calories but a large diamond too. Quietly pulling my mousse apart with my desert fork deteriorated into me sticking my fingers into it and shouting
‘Where is it?!”
‘Where is what?’
Needless to say there was no ring, no edible mousse and I limped mortified out of the restaurant, in my uncomfortable underwear, while the rest of the happy patrons sat with a ‘God that’s embarrassing for her’ look on their faces.
This Valentine’s Day, I will be ordering Mr Delivery. If he is hot, I may invite him in.
If you’re feeling braver than me, make a booking at one of my Top 10 romantic Jozi restaurants…
1. Il Giardino
2. La Belle Terrasse – The Westcliff
3. The Cradle, Cradle of Humankind
4. Linger Longer, Wierda Valley
5. Clico Guesthouse, Rosebank
6. La Cucina di Ciro, Parktown North
7. Thomas Maxwell, Parktown North
8. Auberge Michel, Sandton
9. Le Canard, Sandton
10. Moyo, Zoo Lake
I was also going to say La Rustica, but they’re not open on Valentine’s Day apparently. Idiots.