Originally published May 2, 2022.
Welcome to the Middle-Aged Restaurant, a place designed around a Gen-Xer’s current lifestyle or lack thereof. Our often-overlooked establishment offers you respect, acknowledgment, and a menu that adapts to what your stomach can no longer tolerate these days.
Features of our hot spot (perimenopause joke intentional) include:
No small-font menus. Put away the readers and flashlight app, and any worries about accidentally ordering “filet chignon” with a side of “mostatoes” here, because everything is in forty-eight-point type, which also may be your age.
No cute menu headings. We have categories that actually make sense, like “Appetizers.” “Salads.” “Desserts.” No “Appies” or “Love those Leaves!” or “Sweetie Pies.” (But if you know of a restaurant that serves a dessert called “Sweetie Pies,” we’ll take two a la mode, please.)
No god-awful loud music. You won’t have to yell at your dining companions here, because we keep our speakers at an extremely low decibel level. Is that Sting singing? Nobody knows for sure. Could be Michael Bolton or early Wham! Of course, we’re always happy to ratchet up the sound on request, like when Jennifer starts bragging about how much is in her 401K.
No temperature fluctuations. Every seat at every table is just right. No A/C draft will hit the back of your neck, and no arctic blast from the front door will make you wonder why you even left your damn house in the first place. We keep our thermostat at a comfortable seventy-two degrees, which may also be the year you were born.
No patrons from other generations allowed. For example, you will not see Boomer men with hats acquired free at golf outings, or Gen Z women whose shirts end within two inches below bra level (but have inexplicably long sleeves and possibly a hood?), or Millennials because god knows those cry babies get quite enough attention as it is.
No overly chipper servers. At the Middle-Aged Restaurant, no one will say “awesome” or “no problemo” or “you young ladies want another bottle of the Savignon/four spoons with your Sweetie Pie?” In fact, they won’t say “you girls,” “you ladies,” or “ma’am” or in any manner reference their mothers while serving you. They will instead refer to all dining patrons as “Superior beings from the ’80s.”
No bright lighting. Did your chin hair grow back? Is Jennifer trying to get you to notice her highlights (because she’s definitely too old for balayage)? Doesn’t matter because we keep our restaurant nice and dim, like that boy you went to prom with back in ’86.
A no-photo rule. Unless you’re using a Kodak Instamatic X-45 and plan on developing double prints later, put away the camera. Nobody your age gives a shit what your bread looks like.
No early-bird specials. We are clinging for as long as possible to the notion that we can set off for dinner well after sunset, even if that means missing the PBS NewsHour. But no late-night menu either because who are we kidding? We need time to digest.
No problem splitting the check. In fact, at the Middle-Aged Restaurant, we automatically prepare separate checks. Not so much because of Jennifer and her “second” Cosmo, but because this way you and your dining companion can just whip out your credit cards and pay for your share. No trying to do math in your head because here everything is split fifty-fifty. Which may also be your age.
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