I was reading one of these new New York restaurant blogs the other day -- you know, the ones that have sprung up faster than toadstools after the rain -- and the author, Danyelle Freeman, praised a high-end place that discouraged jacket and tie. "We are a generation of casual diners," she said, "bred to enjoy good food in a relaxed setting... old world regulations just don't work in this millenium."
Now no one who sees me seven days a week will ever mistake me for Felix Unger , and indeed I've been offered leftover food as I stand outside my apartment building cadging a smoke. But about once a week or so, I feel the need to put on a shirt and spiffy tie, and grab a jacket from the coatrack, a jacket for which -- and never you mind how and where I got it -- SOMEBODY paid three thousand dollars, a jacket which whispers quiet elegance. And then I head to one of those posh places, a dying breed in New York, but you can still find 'em, where the headwaiter knows the difference between a Zegna and a Huntsman and a Brioni, and he gives me that subtle look that says, ah yes, YOU belong. And then the stately procession of waiters, as choreographed and formal as a minuet in a king's ballroom, come like kings bearing tribute to my table. It's over all too soon, only an hour or so, but for that brief shining space of time I've traveled far far away from the gritty New York streets and been a part of a purer, golden world, and when I emerge from that space I feel cosseted and validated and loved.
In short, I love those formal jacket and tie places. What about you? Do you love them.... or loathe them?
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