By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
On a recent Sunday morning, Dog Bites and four PMSing females visited Lovejoy's Tea Room in Noe Valley. It's surmised that Dog Bites is the only male over age 7 to ever visit Lovejoy's Tea Room. However, this could not be confirmed as of press time. The journal that follows is the official record of the events of that fateful morning. Technically, only three of the four females were clinically PMSing. But, as everyone knows, this condition is contagious. So, really, it was all four.
Our group meets on the corner of Church and 26th streets. The plan is to eat at Chloe's Cafe. But Chloe's is mobbed, and it becomes clear we will not be eating there. Dog Bites is ravenously hungry. The girls engage in excited small talk. Somehow, their collective hormonal condition comes up. Omigods are squealed all around regarding this remarkable coincidence. Dog Bites is intrigued, yet remains calm.
Random squealy conversation continues on the corner. Dog Bites tries without success to guide the chitchat toward the subject of food. Despite near-fatal hunger, Dog Bites remains calm.
We all wander up Church Street and stand in front of Lovejoy's Tea Room. Dog Bites is no longer calm. The girls charge into the Tea Room, pulling Dog Bites along. The place is crawling with females, who stare at Dog Bites with a kindly look of approval. The same look we receive when walking down the street with flowers. The room spins; everything is in slow motion. The place is packed, women are everywhere, and we're ushered to a table in the epicenter of it all. There are females of all ages, gesticulating wildly with shiny jewelry and tiny crustless sandwiches and porcelain teacups. There's the sound of a thousand high-pitched conversations and squeals and clinking silverware and furious gossip and it's all one big, estrogenated blur until:
Kathleen launches into a diatribe about how her butt's square. It's not round like it's supposed to be. It's square. Vehement protests from the group. More than protests, really. Sheer outrage. Kathleen has a lovely butt, a fabulous butt, a butt to die for. Dog Bites tries to find a menu.
The females spend the next 20 minutes taking turns insulting their respective butts. Angela's is too big. Jessica's is too low. Julie's is too white. A round of unanimous protests follows each butt complaint. This is the strangest competition ever witnessed. It's like men trying to one-up each other with fishing stories, only in reverse.
By the grace of God, a menu is located. The words "Lovejoy's Tea Room" flow across the upper third of the menu in the squishiest, swirliest font we've ever seen. How to describe this font ... OK, get on your word processor and check out Edwardian Script. Imagine Edwardian Script after an hour of restorative yoga and a hot bath.
Dog Bites is still trying to decipher the menu. We can't figure out the culinary differences between the "Cream Tea," the "Queen's Tea," and the "High Tea." We rule out the "Wee Tea," surmising it must be for little kids. Specifically, little girls. Complicating matters is our refusal to allow certain words to pass through our lips. There's no way in hell we're going to say "Puff Pastry," "Toasted Crumpet," or "Double Devon Cream." Furthermore, certain words are way beyond our pronunciation skills, such as "Petit Fours" and "Duck Pate a l'orange." Even thinking about uttering such unnatural consonant/ vowel combinations makes us queasy.
Moments before we're about to pass out, a Lovejoy's representative arrives to take our order. ("Waitress" doesn't seem the appropriate word for a joint like this. Hostess? Counselor? Therapist?) Everyone orders. Dog Bites remains stumped. Wait. What's this? Beer? We order two.
We're trying to get a handle on the physicalities of the Tea Room. Antiques, tea cozies, pictures, lamps, mismatched chairs, lacy things. Doilies run rampant. What are all these knickknacks? Let's describe one: On the wall to our left is a wooden rack showcasing 10 miniature collector silver spoons, each with a unique ornate crest on its handle. And the colors. The colors in the Tea Room are hard to pin down. Funny shades of red and green. Angela nonchalantly describes the red as "dusty rose." Dog Bites forgets what she calls the green. Let's call it "grandma green."
Over in the corner, we spy what appears to be a fellow male in the Tea Room. Yes, definitely male. A little blond boy about 7 years old. Dog Bites and the boy exchange curious glances. Dog Bites tries to convey a look of "It's OK. We'll get through this." The kid's not buying it.
The tea arrives. The beer does not. OK, we're being a bit imprecise here. It's not tea, it's Tisane. (Tee-ZON.) Forest Berries and Rosehips Tisane, to be exact. Our teapot (Tisane pot?) is covered in poppies and says "Poppy Poppy Poppy Poppy Poppy" around the rim. None of the girls can sufficiently explain what Tisane is. We assume it's some genus or species of tea. Our beer finally arrives, but it turns out our beverage has nothing to do with alcohol. It's "ginger beer." The Lovejoy's representative notices our pained expression. "Would we like some tea instead?" she asks. "Perhaps the Afternoon Darjeeling?" No, thanks.