The other day, we celebrated three birthdays, including mine, at an Italian restaurant here in Japan. The other two celebrants were Japanese and women, so the staff at the restaurant was not at all flustered by them. I, on the hand, caused them a bit of anxiety.
First, the head waitress needed to know how to spell my name. Then she needed to know how to pronounce it. Then she needed to practice pronouncing it. Then apparently, when I wasn’t watching, she needed to have the wait staff practice pronouncing it.
At this restaurant, along with dessert, they give each birthday boy or girl a little chocolate plaque inscribed with his or her name. Then the entire wait staff gathers around to sing happy birthday … in Italian.
For our group, the first two songs—for the two Japanese women—went fine.
But the waitresses were a bit uncertain about that weird foreign name. Apparently they were so focused on getting the name right (and they actually did a great job pronouncing it) that they sang happy birthday to …
… Senorita Craig.
I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. I’m sure they thought they had butchered my name, not impugned my masculinity.
Ah, well! Maybe I need more facial hair.