Last night I was at a thank you dinner for a committee that I have been involved with. The committee is made up solely of women and we were invited to bring our partners. Our host suggested that the gentlemen move seats with each course (only three, thank goodness). Fortunately I was able to sit with my husband for the entrée.

For the main course I was seated next to a quiet man and I really had to work hard:

Me:      So how many children do you have?

Him:    Two

Me:      Boys or girls, both? How old?

Him:    Two boys, nine and twelve.

Me:      Are they similar, do they get along?

Him:    Not really

Me:      Oh…

Okay, you get my drift, it was a laborious task.

Dessert was served and my new dining companion was a little easier to talk to, perhaps too easy:

Me:      Nice to meet you.

Him:    I hate these f***** things, don’t you?

Me:      Sorry, who is your wife?

Him:    The blonde over there flirting with every man here. She spends more time on words with friends in bed than with me. Hey you’re cute you know.

Me:      Oh, I love words with friends….

Needless to say it was a relief when coffee was served and we were allowed to mingle. I quickly found my husband.


Sitting next to a burdensome dinner partner can be quite a challenge. While last night was rather tiring, I must share my most arduous event.

Quite a few years ago, and in the infancy of our relationship, my husband and I were invited to a wedding in Italy. The bride was an ‘old friend’ (translation: ex) of my husband. We stayed with them and the other guests at the villa that they had rented. The villa was exquisite; a faded but grand beauty, complete with its own wedding chapel. It would become my prison. This was a weeklong celebration for the couple or more correctly, the bride.

The wedding dinner was at the end of the very long week. The ballroom was incredible, elegant candelabras that flickered with a soft golden light adorned each table and an abundance of flowers spilled from their centrepieces.

In awe of my surrounds, I weaved through the crowd to view the table allocation.

‘There you are,’ I said to my husband as I pointed to his name, ‘Oh great, all our friends are on our table too! Wait, hmmm, I can’t seem to find my name…’ I continued searching until I found it. My heart fell.

I was seated at a table at the opposite end of the room. Actually, I was seated between the Italian priest (a man with very little English and a very large appetite for red wine) and the flamboyant Italian wedding planner (who by this stage was frantic and frazzled). They conversed and gesticulated madly in Italian, occasionally offering the briefest of translations, only to smile apologetically, give up and continue with what seemed like their wildly entertaining stories. I was alone. I felt as unwelcome as the McDonalds in the local piazza.


I was younger then and I just accepted the hand that fate or more accurately, a jealous bride, had dealt me. Now that I can reflect on this, I feel sorry that the bride was so insecure about my presence that she would do such a thing.

Oh the games some people play. I’ll take words with friends any day.

Who was your most challenging dinner partner?