Five centimeters. That’s how much how much space there was between my over-the-knee boots and my knitted, silver tunic-length sweater. That’s also where the waiter was leaning with his knee, the rest of his body hanging over me like a vulture. My husband, amused, observed the private moment between me and the waiter from the other side of the tiny table, while I was trying to decide whether the leaning knee was an accident or a deliberate attention catcher and especially, how in the world I was supposed to react. Not moving an inch, the waiter asked slowly, with honey in his voice: “Apéritif?” I managed to nod and whisper “Martini Bianco, s’il vous plait, et un GinTonic”, with the waiter still staring at me, us two in a bubble and the rest of the world somewhere else. With a totally disarming smile, he removed his knee and the moment was gone. Turned on, I think would be the best way to describe the feelings inside of me.
My husband and I had come to Paris to celebrate us falling in love again with each other, this time “big time”, and there’s no place better to rev up your romance than Paris. Every woman has a special glow when they’re in love, and the waiter at the tiny, 10-table restaurant where we were the only guests, decided to sit by the wall and stare at me. In the middle of our main course, he approached, and again, without taking any notice whatsoever of my husband, leaned over me and said, in French: “Please excuse me for taking the liberty of expressing my sentiments like this, but you are a very beautiful woman”.
Sisters, maybe you’ve received plenty of such compliments as a 48-year-old (now 54), but not me, the Finn, coming from a country where feelings and compliments are not on the top of the discussion list, and where flirting is considered awkward and totally useless. Heck, we’re famous for not knowing what “small talk” means!
I flushed and watched him returning to the chair by the wall. and whispered to my husband: “Can you believe what this guy just told me, with you sitting right across the table from me? That I’m a very beautiful woman?” This is how a calm, loving Finnish husband answers: “I quite agree”.
On the 17th of August, 2015, I will have had 30 years of heaven with my exceptional husband. This time, celebration in Helsinki. No compliments expected from a Finnish waiter…but probably from the guy below.