My girlfriend and I had planned a girl’s night out to drink some wine and catch up on every single detail of each other’s lives. We were seated at the bar of Bouchon where she was having a glass of Triennes Viognier from Provence and I, a glass of heavily-oaked Molnar Chardonnay from the Carneros, while enjoying the salmon rillettes. There were two men to our left, not together but obviously single. The one closest, and next to my friend, was ordering far too much food for one person so my all too naïve and friendly girlfriend struck up a little benign food chit-chat. Evidently, he was a chef from Dallas. I had lost her attention.
The other fellow, who had been surveying the situation looking for his moment of entrée, swooped in towards me with an L-shaped advance like a Knight on a chessboard. Why was my rook engaging the pawn and not protecting her queen? I asked myself, as I contemplated my next move. I was trapped talking – strike that – listening to this dope. He said he was slightly younger than President Obama, so assumed he was 49 and on the edge of a mid-life crisis; correct on both counts. The opposing knight said he held court at the Bouchon bar on a regular basis (yeah, court jester) and that everyone referred to him as the king of Bouchon. As soon as it became known that I was a supreme foodie and no novice to wines, he began boasting about his wine collection, mostly Bordeaux, which he bought and sold to friends. I guess he plays the futures game. Yawn. Whatever! My ex-boyfriend owns a vineyard. Top that motherf*cker, I thought but daren’t say. As though reading my mind, he tried; going on about all the three star restaurants he had been to, pompously declaring that L’atelier de Joel Robuchon in Tokyo was far superior to that in Paris or Las Vegas. Good for you, Mr. World Traveler Food & Wine Snob. I am so impressed. Not.
A more assertive girlfriend of mine named Chance would have said right from the start "Listen buddy, if you're not buying us a drink or dinner then leave us the fuck alone. We are not your cheap entertainment.” Yep, that's the way Chance talks and it's highly effective. Me, I tried hopelessly to pry my girlfriend away from the chef and give the knight a view of the back of my head thinking he would eventually get the message. My girlfriend, an even more polite Canadian than I am, saw no harm in chatting with the chef and leaving me to ward off my own ill-suited suitors. While my glass sat empty and I pondered another drink, I tried everything short of texting to get her attention (my battery was dangerously low, I had lost my car charger and was expecting a call later from a man I actually wanted to talk to). Crap. This Prince Charming wannabe was still hanging on. Feeling defeated and abandoned, I sucked the last drops out of my glass thinking maybe he would take the clue and offer to buy me another drink. Where is Chance when I need her?
Upon depleting his repertoire of witty wine repartees, the lonely knight started in on his separation and pending divorce and how when his sixteen-year-old daughter goes off to college in two years he will be entirely free and how liberating that will be. While I am against nasty divorces and divorce attorneys in general, I secretly hoped his wife who is kin to Hollywood royalty hires a ruthless attorney and makes it so this guy who is too cheap and too rude to offer to buy a beautiful woman a glass of wine cannot afford to do so in the future – if he were ever so inclined. By my side where she should be, my rook was not protecting her queen. Without her I could not move this king of fools into checkmate and was forced to consider the game a stalemate and ask for my check without so much as a fake draw of the wallet from my suitor. He was certainly no fit for this queen.