Going out for dinner with a girl can be a nice experience. More often than not she looks pretty, smells good, and laughs at all your jokes. From the time you meet, until the moment you part ways, you get to play the role of suave man-of-the-world, suggesting desserts with foreign names and signaling to waiters with the slightest wave of your hand. Unless you do something like accidentally squirt her with ketchup or use the tablecloth as a hanky, the evening will have been highly enjoyable.
It is then not illogical to assume that taking two girls to dinner would be twice as enjoyable, dining with three would triple your pleasure, and so on. Not so. There is a law in some as yet undiscovered science which determines that the more the number of girls at the table, the less your chances of going home without losing your sanity.
Your trouble begins even before you meet them. Never agree to 'meet there at 8:30', because that ensures at least half an hour's wait beyond the stipulated time. There is very little one can do while sitting in the middle of a restaurant alone. You can't pull out your harmonica and practice a few melodies, neither can you start playing solitaire or building card houses. Instead you have to appear to be deep in thought, giving the impression to other curious diners that you haven't been stood up, but are fine-tuning the finale to your latest novel, or planning how to raise the nation's per capita income. When the girls finally do arrive, each will apologize for being late, and glance at the other. While you are busy trying to figure who is responsible for your long wait, the moment will have passed. The next step is very crucial. If there were only one girl, you could (and you should) tell her how lovely she is looking, and how the room has lit up with her presence, or whatever ready-made line you generally use. When there is more than one, however, it gets quite tricky.
If you start dishing out individual compliments "Your hair looks great!", and to the next "Nice dress!" and moving on, "Have you lost weight?", you might as well shoot yourself in the head and be done with it! An individual compliment to one, is regarded as an equal and opposite insult to the rest. Telling the girl on your left that she smells nice will inevitably be taken as a deliberate slur on the hygiene of the others, and you will never be allowed to forget it. The best trick is to momentarily divert their attention - "Hey! Is that Tom Cruise?" and then mumble a compliment into your plate. When they turn back to you, each will assume that the compliment was directed to her, and will give you the warmest smile.
Now comes the time to order. As you are the only man there, and women are experts at pretending to need your help, you will be responsible for the final choice. When you are alone with a girl, you can suggest the one dish whose name you understand, "Try the Spaghetti Neapolitan…it's simply delicious!" But when stuck with 3-4 indecisive girls, you had better be on your toes. You will be bombarded with "How's the Fettucini di Carboni?" "Is there too much cheese on the Lasagne?" and " I don't want something with too much oil, but not too dry either!" This is usually a good time to pretend you've dropped your watch under the table, crawl down there, and come out only when the trapped waiter has answered all their questions. In the few minutes that follow, you are relatively safe. True, they will whisper to each other, look at you, and then giggle, or begin to talk amongst themselves about people you've never met, but that happens everyday anyway, so it's not too disconcerting. You can use the brief respite to calm yourself down, and make a firm mental note never to dine with more than one girl again!
Time passes, and just when you begin to believe that you just might survive the evening, one of the girls will suddenly get up and announce demurely "I have to visit the Ladies Room!". This is a welcome idea to you, one less to deal with! But inevitably, all the others will respond to the hidden summons in the first girl's statement, and decide to accompany her. Do not believe them when they say they'll be back in a minute. The Ladies Room is an exception to the rigid laws of the universe, time flows very slowly in there, sometimes even backwards. It's a mistake to wonder why they all go to the bathroom in a huge gang, the danger is you just may hit upon the right answer. It is not because their bladders are all synchronized, nor is it because such a taxing task as going to the loo requires great moral support from friends. They do it so that they can laugh at you!
Once inside, they discuss the evening thus far. This includes a complete analysis of what you were wearing, how silly you look in that formal shirt, your complete bungling of the order, and the cute guy at the next table. About 5 minutes after they leave for their conference, the food will arrive. The waiter looks at you questioningly, and your mind goes blank. Who ordered what? The waiter clears his throat loudly, indicating that his arms are getting tired, and so you'd better get on with it! In a case like this, it is best to remain silent and let the waiter try to rack his brains and figure out what dish goes where. There will be a battle of wills. Be patient, he isn't called a waiter for nothing. Eventually he will just put the dishes down anywhere and leave. This is effective because then you can blame him later for the muddle when the girls return.
So now you're sitting alone at a table, surrounded by 5 or 6 plates of food. Apart from looking like a wannabe-applicant to training school for sumo wrestlers, you're also very hungry. To eat or not to eat, that is the question! Being a man of some manners, you decide to wait. You still have no idea how long they could take in the Ladies Room. If it were one single girl who had gone in, by now she would have emerged, out of embarrassment at least. But with that gaggle of girls in there, you might as well curl up on your chair and take a nap. Eventually, they do emerge, and they show surprise that the food arrived 'so quickly'. Having had a good laugh at your expense, and compared notes about you, they are all suddenly in a much more congenial mood.
It is very important at this point not to disturb this fragile state of mind they are in. If you were alone with a girl, this would be the best time to make conversation - good food and good chatter makes for a delightful evening. But you aren't so lucky, and now you think the best option is to have them notice you as little as possible. Say little, give yes-and-no answers, and they'll chide you for being too quiet "What's wrong? Are you alright? Do you want to talk about it?" They lean forward in eager anticipation. If you open your mouth and start a conversation, they'll pay attention for about 11 seconds and then change the topic, and begin talking amongst themselves. If you try to rejoin the conversation, you get an icy look telling you to concentrate on your soup! The safest way is to look from one to the other, nod and smile, and pretend you are listening carefully. You may look like a moron, but they think you are one anyway, so it won't do much harm. With the arrival of the bill, your spirits pick up. The night will soon be over! You reach for the bill to work out your share, when you hear a voice sweetly protest, "No! No! You really musn't!" By the time you figure out what's happening, they are already praising you for being 'such a gentleman' and promising that next time the treat's on them! By this time, you just want to get out of there as fast as possible, so you muster up a smile, mumble something about it being your pleasure, and pay. On your way out, past the highly amused waiter, you make a firm decision. Next time you want a night out, you'll just go and get a few teeth pulled out by the dentist. It'll be cheaper, less painful, and definitely more fun!