For me, one of the best parts about growing older is no longer feeling the need to keep up with current trends. The only social media I use is Facebook; I recognize almost no one in People Magazine; my home decorating style is hopelessly old-fashioned, and I never follow the latest fashion styles. (I don’t own a single pair of skinny jeans. Partly because they don’t look comfortable, but mostly because the world has enough problems these days without anyone having to look at me stuffed into a pair of skinny jeans.) In most areas of my life, I’m able to easily ignore fads and trends, and am quite happy to do so.
Sadly, some trends are easier to avoid than others. My husband and I enjoy dining out, and up until a few years ago, we used to especially enjoy trying to new restaurants. We’re lucky to live in a large city where new restaurants open frequently, and it was fun to find a new place to eat that offered great food, good service, and reasonable prices. The problem is, most new restaurants also tend to be rather trendy, and I don’t particularly like, or even understand, most of the new trends in dining out.
Some I find simply annoying, like referring to the person standing behind the bar as a “mixologist” instead of a bartender. Isn’t mixing drinks what bartenders have always done? I know that many new restaurants and bars offer a huge array of complicated drinks, but I honestly prefer a simple glass of white wine with my meal. And I don’t like feeling guilty about wasting the talent of the restaurant’s “mixologist” when I order it. (Although my son made up for it when we took him out for his birthday dinner and he ordered a smoked martini. And yes, it was actually smoking when it came to the table.)
Other trends I find truly off-putting, like the new “communal table” seating. I don’t go out to eat because I want to be squeezed into a bench at a long table that reminds me of lunchtime in my high school cafeteria. I don’t like having to watch what I say because I know the strangers on either side of me can hear my conversation perfectly, and might even decide to chime in. Nor do I want to know all the intimate details of their lives, unless they’re up to something especially interesting or illegal. Also, I don’t want to be sitting close enough to other diners that I’m not only tempted to steal a french fry off their plate, but I’m actually able to do so if they are silly enough to look away for a second or two. Fighting temptation is not one of my strong points.
And it might be my age, but I don’t like the high ceilings, concrete floors and general industrial warehouse decor that so many new restaurants choose, because it means the noise level in those restaurants is really, really loud. My hearing is still pretty good, but in those settings, I find myself asking my husband and friends to repeat themselves far too often. Sometimes I just give it up and smile and nod at whatever they are saying, hoping they aren’t asking for a loan or if I’d like to babysit their grandkids for a week while they go on vacation.
These days, it’s become fairly rare for my husband and I to try a new restaurant, as we find ourselves sticking to a few “tried and true” favorites where we know the noise level will be low, the tables set apart enough to ensure a private conversation, and no one is pressing us to try a drink that emits smoke. I know that someday, the latest trends in dining out will probably be something more to my liking. I also know that I’ll need someone to tell me about it, because, as is the case with most new fads, I probably won’t be paying attention.