Last month, while cheering for my alma mater at a football game, I noticed that a few BFsF (Best Friends Forever) sitting next to me possessed authoritative knowledge about the sport. They shouted “pass interference!” and “illegal motion!” before the penalty flag was thrown. A realization suddenly came to me: I don’t know a single guy who can quickly name a fun bridal shower activity, but I know a handful of women capable of refereeing football games.
Guys’ absences at girly festivities are both enforced and voluntary. I invited my brother Tom and a few male cousins to the last two “bridal showers” I organized, only because the occasions functioned also as family reunion. We did not play any games, and though one shower was held at a tea house, I arranged a three-course meal instead of afternoon tea. As the hostess, I immediately assumed that the combination of guys and afternoon tea would ruin the fun. Later it dawned on me that some people would never get to relish certain refined culinary experiences simply because there would never be invitation, and I suspected my brother, Tom, to be one such victim. Hence, a few weeks ago I invited Tom to afternoon tea at Tea Rose Garden, located in Old Pasadena, just a block south of Colorado Boulevard where the annual Tournament of Roses Parade is held.
As I was running late and had to attend another gathering afterward, I told Tom to order whatever he liked. He was probably flustered by the long tea menu when he called to tell that he had picked the sandwiches and scones but not my tea. As for his own beverage selection, it did not surprise me that he chose gunpowder, perhaps the one option to which he could most relate at the moment.
Tea Rose Garden, also a florist and gift shop, has been an Old Pasadena establishment since 1994 – though the visit last month was my very first. The minor face lift given to the interior during this holiday season filled the space with an air that was jovial, even casual, but I could picture a staid business meeting taking place.
Not much was said and discussed during the hour and half. If I were with my friends, we would have made myriad comments about the décor, the teas, the teapots, the cream and jam, the chairs, the floor, and of course the server’s mien, and other patrons’ attires, makeup, etc. Tom seemed quite comfortable being the only male customer. Apparently, to him it was just another meal at an eatery.
Before leaving Tea Rose Garden, I asked Tom if he had had afternoon tea in the past. He gave me a puzzled look. I elaborated, “Tea? Maybe food served in tiered tray?” He answered in his trademark pococurante tone, “This is the first time.”
Images courtesy of the author.