Don't mind who the people in this picture are. The photo was taken not to capture their faces but to capture the spirit of their lunch. As I posted about before, I'm on jury duty. That basically means that I was destined to have lunch in Little Tokyo--it's a short walking distance, and I don't get to have food from around here all that often. Upon entering my favorite lunchtime eatery, Koraku, a Japanese diner-style restaurant, something about the two above people struck me right away. The scene seemed all-too familiar, but I waited until I had sat down and eavesdropped (come on, it's not like you wouldn't have) a bit before I passed judgment.
She was cute, and he was not bad looking and fairly well dressed. They sat about a foot apart for most of their meal together at the counter. Their conversation drifted from how many BTU they thought the burner used to silence to some other fatuous topic and back around the rosy again. By the time their food (and mine, for that matter--Koraku is quick) arrived and they idly shared a plate of gyoza amidst their individual bowls of ramen, it was clear that I was right about what I was witnessing. The icing on the cake was when they both put in for the check. I've been there before. It was a platonic date.
All throughout high school, I never really knew what dating was beyond what the WB showed me. I never really went on what would qualify by their standards as a date. I had "hung out" countless times with female companions, but there was never any inclination towards romance. And this is how "dating" occurs among Asian-Americans in this area--it doesn't. A male and a female hang out platonically until the female deems it acceptable for the two to become a romantic item. For this reason, I really commiserated with the dude in the picture. I don't know how many times I'd taken a "friend" to an out-of-the-way, somewhat special place to share a meal only to drop her off with the promise that we would share other meals like it in the future. Let me tell you, I may be in a physical form of purgatory, but that guy was in relationship purgatory, a weird middle state in which he spins his wheels until something happens to change their dynamic. I don't know where this horribly inefficient system came from, but it's no good. People should be clear about what kind of relationships they want between themselves and others instead of picking whenever it's convenient. Now that I've seen the other side (I had talked to Aimee twice before asking her out on a date), I know that the entire roundabout mating ritual these kids go through is pointless. Thank goodness for that.
I finished my lunch quietly (which was no small feat considering I had a big plate of fried rice, shrimp omelet, and gravy), snapping that stalker-ish picture without belaboring it. If this infringes on anyone's rights, I apologize, but I wanted to show what I saw and what I went through en route to learning a little something about how the world should work.