It was her silver hair I noticed first.
As women, going gray is a daily test for self confidence and acceptance. At 41, I now see more of gray hairs every time I look in the mirror, and each one rattles me just a little bit, even though I know full well I shouldn’t. Each time is an opportunity to accept my age, life and mortality and carry on. So when I see younger women with all silver hair who proudly made the decision not to dye it away, I immediately credit them with a level of confidence I strive to have.
Rebecca rocking her gloriously silver hair in a short cut, was sitting at my restaurant. Is she yet 40? Maybe. Then when I heard her speak in a distinctively direct way I made my final assessment: If there were a war to fight, we’d win if we sent her into the battle. I don’t know what war I was thinking of, but probably any war, any battle that’s worth the fight.
Weeks later I had made a connection that she is @thepoetryofthings on Instagram I was beginning to pay attention to and a mutual friend thought we should meet. Days later, we ran into each other at VMFA, where a small talk about ramen life led to all-out business in no time.
Rebecca> Can I give you an unsolicited advice?
R> You and your servers shouldn’t interrupt guests by asking if they need anything so often. Needing the validation the guests are doing OK comes partly from your insecurities. Take the water pitcher, fill up their glasses without interrupting. They will tell you if they need you. If not, all things are good and you walk away.
WHAT? Did she just read into my mind, pointed out something I need to improve on, then suggested a solution? Yes, she did, without missing a beat, feeling uncomfortable or making me feel uncomfortable.
Those of you know me well enough know that I eat this shit up. I love NO BS women who are direct, know their stuff and get stuff done, but do so without losing warmth and elegance.
I went back to dinner service that night and tried this new trick. Worked like a charm! And I did feel more chill and confident.
So that’s how Rebecca got on the top of my Ramen With Strangers guest list. I could not wait to spend more time with her. When she showed up for a late lunch, I discovered the softer side of this Joan D’arc when we chatted about work, family, fighting cancer and true to form for two single women in 40s, dating.
our lunch menu:
House sodas with ginger beer and pear shrub
Karaage Buns of Steam
Veggie Hiyashi Chuka