Ramenya – The Rules of Date-gagement

ramenya, west los angeles, ca - ramen


11555 W Olympic Blvd
@ Colby Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90015

In the war game commonly known as “Dating,” there are commonly accepted rules. It is not clear who wrote these rules, and to be quite sure, these rules have absolutely no logical basis. However, they are out there, and for some reason, everyone refers to them. These are rules that cover everything from “Wait at least three days before calling after you ask for her number” to “Never ___ until the second date (what you put in the blank is up to your own personal promiscuity – and I shall not reveal mine).

These rules are stupid.

You know why?

They are stupid because they guarantee that he will be the wrong person for you and you will be the wrong person for him because you are imposing restrictions on who you really are.

I am of the firm belief that you should just do whatever feels natural to you, within the confines of common courtesy and normal, non-psychotic, non-stalker-like behavior, of course. When a girlfriend calls me and asks advice about what to do in a particular guy situation, I tell her to do whatever feels natural to her at the time.

she: “Should I call him, text him, or not even bother at all?”

me: “What do you want to do? You should do what you feel like doing.”

she: “I want to talk to him.”

me: “So call him.” (Duh.)

she: “But I don’t want him to think I’m actually interested in him.”

me: “But you are interested in him, aren’t you?” (I roll my eyes.)

she: “Yeah, but I don’t want to like, scare him off. Shouldn’t I just text him so I’m on his radar, but he thinks that I’m too busy with a glamorous life to call him and talk? And if i text him, what should I say? Should I just say ‘Hi?’ That’s lame. Forget it. I’m not texting him.”

(I don’t say anything because I’m pretty much in awe of the complete conversation she just had with herself.)

she: “So should I call him?”

The thing is, if calling him scares him off, then isn’t it a good thing that you called to scare him off? Because if your natural, aggressive instinct is to call him and his natural, pussy instinct is to run away, then you’re better off finding that out and not wasting your time with him. If you play a game, you will win. But in the end you will lose.

Of course, I am saying all of this and I am *ahem* single.

There is one whole section of this fabled set of rules that has to do with what kind of restaurant you should or should not go to on your first date. Or second date. Or basically any date on which you aren’t yet in that comfort zone of staying home in sweats, his t-shirt, and Coke-bottle thick glasses and ordering pizza. From Papa John’s. Domino’s, if you’re really comfortable.

For example: If you want to impress a girl, take her to the nicest, fanciest, most expensive restaurant in town.

First of all, you should never take a girl to nicest, fanciest, most expensive restaurant in town because she will expect that level all the time, and if you’ve already taken her to the nicest, fanciest, most expensive restaurant in town, you have nowhere else to go from there but down. You’re setting yourself, and her, up for subsequent disappointment.

Secondly, and more importantly than the claim that it sets unrealistic expectations, is that I just don’t think anyone needs to impress me with a restaurant. I’d rather be impressed with a rapier wit and biting sense of humor. Trust me, if a restaurant is more impressive than the guy, I will pay an inordinate amount of attention to the menu, the wine list, and the food; and I’m neither calling nor texting him back afterward.

Another rule is that you should not go for fried chicken, BBQ, or…ramen. The argument here is that all of these things are messy. You have to eat fried chicken with your hands, and will inevitably be licking your fingers. You will get sauce all over your face with BBQ. If you go for ramen, even if you actually happen to be highly adept with a pair of chopsticks, you will be noisily slurping noodles, splashing broth all over the tabletop, and potentially shooting wily ingredients like tiny meaty bullets into her lap.

She will find it unmannered, uncivilized, and kind of gross. At the end of the date, she will smile, thank you, and mumble something about emailing her. She’ll trash it as soon as it hits her Inbox.

You can avoid that by just following the rule of “No ramen,” right?

R i i i i i ght.

ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - sign
there is a “B” in ramenya

But why?

If you like ramen, why would you deny yourself of it for fear that it might make you look bad? Don’t you want to know if she’s that kind of too precious prissy girl? Going for ramen is actually a great first date because it’s kind of a test. Don’t you want to know if she’s the kind of girl who can stumble downstairs in jeans and t-shirt, still slightly hungover from a raucous romp the night before, hop into the car, and whisper “ramen” as if she’s going to die of dehydration without its nourishing, replenishing, electrolyte laden broth? Aren’t you hoping that when you get to Ramenya on Olympic Blvd near, but not on, Sawtelle, she will ignore the giant B health and food safety rating in the window as she walks with purpose to the first open table she sees and plops her big bloggy butt down on one of the flimsy chairs that curiously reminds her of a college freshman apartment?

I thought so.

ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - chopsticks
uneven break
ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - gyoza
uneven break

And I certainly want to find out if he’s okay with the kind of deliberations I go through when faced the extraordinarily long list of ramen on Ramenya’s menu. Deliberations. Deliberations, like the kind 12 angry men must do in a tiny little windowless room. I bought myself time by starting with gyoza because we were starving. Until I looked down at my chopsticks, I wasn’t even aware that I had done “that thing” in my head. I had broken the chopsticks apart and in my head, had thought, “right.” My chopsticks had broken apart unevenly, weighted toward the right. That meant he loved me more than I loved him. As usual.

ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - chicken salad
chicken salad – refreshing
ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - chicken salad
is there lettuce in there?

There was nothing particularly good or bad about the gyoza. There was, however, something particularly weird about the Chicken Salad, which was a bad decision in a ramen restaurant. Who goes to a ramen restaurant craving broth and noodles, then orders a salad? And why on earth would someone do that?!?! I do. I did it because I’m a fickle, moody girl who makes impulsive, not-clearly-thought-out decisions under pressure. When the server had come by for the third or fourth time waiting for our order, I became flustered under the pressure and just randomly chose the chicken salad. Luckily, spontaneous decisions usually work out for me. The salad was refreshing, though way too overdressed, and you know what they say about LA — it’s always better to go underdressed than overdressed.

ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - ramen
clever little spoon rest
ramenya noodle shop, west los angeles, ca - ramen

Of course, the ramen we ordered to share was good. I actually have no idea if he had intended to share it with me, but I reached right across the table and had a taste. I am not sure what kind of ramen he ordered – but it had a mild curry flavor in the broth. The whole thing wasn’t too bad, but the best part of it, of course, was the cleverly indented spoon that allows it to rest on the edge of the bowl without taking a slippery dive into the broth. Somehow, the bowl ended up on my side of the table and he finished the salad for me.

I’m pretty sure he’s going to call me again.

** a year ago today, i met with freaks and greeks **

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