Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On the Marriage Menu, Compromise Is Main Dish

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On the Marriage Menu, Compromise Is Main Dish

Article excerpt

It's not so much a philosophical issue with the Grand Slam. Or a quibble with the basic theory behind Moons Over My Hammy.

The whole idea of the diner -- not just Denny's in particular -- is what I hate.

Then, in a Matalin/Carville, Montague/Capulet sort of twist, I married a diner lover. Hence, the Denny's birthday.

It's now an annual event. And last week, on my husband's birthday, I cleared my calendar, stuffed my objections and prepared for the yearly greasefest.

He was bummed that they yanked the Maple Bacon Ice Cream Sundae off the menu. The free birthday Grand Slam made him happy, though.

That diner smell of dollar bills, bad coffee, bacon grease and maple syrup still makes me sad.

My mom worked in one for decades. I hung out at the counter and remember how terrible it felt watching her customers order her around and how tired she was at the end of the day.

Then I slung hash in high school and college, doing the 5 a.m. shift on spring break while my dorm mates went to Mazatlan. Hey, tips pay the rent.

I didn't want anything to do with diners as soon as I could escape them.

My husband, on the other hand, had his picture displayed by the cash register on the wall of Paul's Coffee Shop denoting his favorite-customer status as a high schooler.

So on my big day? We're going to sushi, Steakboy!

Ah, the things we do to make a mixed marriage work.

My husband and I are not alone. A friend who works as a pastry chef in the White House kitchen said her Venus/Mars sacrifice is a painful one.

"Box cake mix. And canned frosting. That's what he wants. Every year," she said, visibly shuddering. She begs him each year to let her bake him the kind of dreamy creations she has made for world leaders. But nope.

"That's what he had as a child and what he wants every year," she said.

Duncan Hines, like putting Crayola washable markers in the hands of Monet. …

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