There are, of course, innumerable advantages to being married. You no longer have to brave the shark-infested waters that constitute the world of dating, and no more face the humiliation of ringing up the local curryhouse and ordering a takeaway for one (SO hard to resist the urge to add that actually you're terribly popular, and just happen to be on your own tonight, for one night only, honestly...)
And gone are the hideous days of early courtship, where you have to be on your best behaviour at ALL times and maintain a constant facade of perfection, an endless toil of cultivating artfully tousled bed-hair rather than random peaks and troughs, and pretending that you really don't need glasses at all and haven't really just fallen over the cat because you can't see where you're going.
No, I would not willingly go back to singledom (I would have to make my own tea in the morning, for one thing) - and yet I do occasionally miss the fun of getting dressed up and going out on a date. Thus, for one week only (sadly), Friday Night Wine Night has mutated from its usual lying-on-the-sofa-in-pyjamas-drinking-Sainsburys-Merlot format into a lovely, shimmering, glamorous cousin - Friday Night Date Night.
Mr and Mrs Liz began their date in the best possible fashion - cocktails. I mean, I had no choice - the fact that I was wearing a dress with proper jewels and sequins and everything practically dictated this course of action, although Mr Liz did look a little longingly at all the old blokes drinking pints in The Dog & Partridge as I dragged him past. We went to The Sanctuary in the heart of Didsbury, a nice unpretentious sort of place that very sportingly offers cocktails at 2 for £7 even on a Friday night.
Our main destination was Jem&I, one of our favourite restaurants in the area - a bustling, cheery place serving modern European fare in refreshingly generous portions. We started with a plate of bread, olives and humous while we perused the menu (when will I ever learn about stuffing myself with bread before the really good stuff arrives? When?), and then went for Chicken Liver Parfait (me) and Portobello Mushrooms with Camembert (my date). Both were excellent, the only complaint being that the balsamic dressing on the accompanying salads was very hard to remove from one's chin once it had properly adhered.
We both chose steak for mains (date night - he was paying), Mr Liz going for the Pan Fried Sirloin Steak with Au Poivre Sauce from the main menu and me for the Fillet Steak with Wild Mushrooms and Truffle Sauce from the specials board. The steak was of the highest quality, soft as butter, and we had no complaints about the sauces, potatoes or vegetables - all were delicious. But. They'd simply got our requests the wrong way round - I'd asked for my fillet rare and got medium, and Mr Liz had asked for medium and got rare. This raised a dilemma - I'm not one for sending food back when it still arrives in a perfectly delicious form, but equally, if you've ordered forty quid's worth of steak I think you can expect them to get it right.
Luckily, or unluckily, the dilemma didn't materialise, because the restaurant was by now absolutely packed and the staff were rushed off their feet. Tucked away in our little corner, nobody thought to come and ask us if our meals were alright, and I just couldn't catch anyone's eye to get them to come over. So we ate the steak, and very nice it was too. But when our plates were finally cleared a good while after we'd finished and I mentioned what had happened, our comments were met with little interest.
This is a shame, for Jem&I really does serve some of the best food in South Manchester, and should therefore rightly expect to be busy on a Friday night. We still loved it, and we'll still eat here again, but it did slightly mar what was otherwise a great night out. And who knows - I might even marry this one if he keeps up this kind of treatment...