I can't think of anything less romantic than getting pregnant in a restaurant bathroom. So I suppose I can cross Boris Becker off my list of potential valentines, though the love child that resulted from his restroom tryst no doubt will be glad to thank Cupid's, er, arrow in the future when the gelt, a.k.a. child support, comes pouring in.
But as distasteful as I find the idea of making love where other people make do, plenty of folks disagree with me. Restaurant bathrooms, it seems, are the stuff of which fantasies (if not children) are made. So in honor of both Becker and Hallmark holidays, I polled some of our more adventurous diners and came up with a list of potential hot -- and not-so-hot -- spots for of-the-moment unions.
The following restaurants are now accepting reservations:
•"Norman's bathroom is the prettiest. Plus it has a big counter, made of marble or something, and plenty of flower arrangements. I also like Suva. It's bright and roomy and has a really big mirror." -- Dana Porter, owner of Creative Kinx Hair Studio
•"The bathroom in Red Square is the bomb. It's not the normal one off the main dining room. There's one by the entranceway that's got the handicapped bars by the side of the toilets -- which if you're a guy can remind you of the fantasy of the woman in the gynecologist's office." -- attorney, name withheld by request
•"When I was at Red Square, there [was] a handicap room down the front interior steps next to the pay phone that hardly no one knew was there. It was mostly used by the staff during service so as not to interfere with the customers in the very small restrooms off the dining room. It was a very large room that had piped-in music, dimmed lighting, and in one corner a very large oversize leather chair that could easily fit two. Many nights a [party] would disappear during service, and we would find out that one of the couples had found our little hideaway. One evening while making my rounds in the dining room, speaking with my clientele, I stopped at a table to ask how their meal was so far. The couple raved and said everything was excellent, even the dessert. As the bus boy had just cleared the plates from their entrées, I found that answer suspect. So I said, “But you haven't had dessert yet.' And the lady answered, “Oh yes, we did. We were the reason you could not get in the bathroom earlier, because we were in there having dessert!" -- Frank Copestick, chef, Creative Concepts (and formerly executive chef of Red Square)
•"Big Pink, because for one, when you come off the beach you're hot and horny. And you can lock the door and not be disturbed." -- Marvin Woods, formerly chef at Savannah and author of The New Low-Country Cooking
•"Soyka: wood paneling, great aroma, and classical music. The bathrooms at the Tides Hotel [are] serene and gorgeous. [And the] bathrooms at the Marlin Hotel, [because they're] colorful and so noisy nobody will hear you scream." -- Dindy Yokel, president of DindyCoPR
•"The pictures that hang in the restroom at Osteria del Teatro are great. They're of when Cristo did the islands. They make me feel really creative and inspired." -- Marc Edelstein, computer consultant
•"I've gotta go with The Abbey. It's small but it's got twice the volume of a telephone booth so you have some room to maneuver." -- Deepak Srikant, engineer
The following restaurants are now accepting mops and brooms:
•"San Loco has dirty, nasty bathrooms. Plus they're little and right by the door." -- Dana Porter
•"The Delano, because there are no sturdy surfaces. And the bathrooms at El Palacio de los Jugos -- they never clean them. There's urine and filth on the floor." -- Terry Zarikian of Shapiro and Zarikian public relations
•"Any Starbucks [bathroom] is always dirty. Wet Willie's [is] very small and dirty but one probably wouldn't care if one had a drink or two." -- Dindy Yokel
•"Tiramesu: Nice bathroom, but there's only one. So if you're in there for more than five minutes someone's banging on the door." -- Marvin Woods
•"When you want to do it down and dirty, head to Wolfie's, the filthiest restrooms on the Beach, at least comparable to a gas station on an interstate. But do it quick -- the ones upstairs have a constant parade of early birds repainting their lips and cheeks, bitching waitresses, and no toilet paper to clean up your mess. The other option is the cesspool downstairs for handicapped. Be quick here. Although the door locks, angry customers and waiters going for a cigarette will soon be pounding.... Be prepared to share these spaces with the homeless who come here now that the library has locked their restroom doors." -- Linda Bladholm, author of The Asian Grocery Store Demystified and The Indian Grocery Store Demystified.
•"There are so many bad bathrooms. But Scotty's is one of the worst. It's hot and there's no ventilation -- and it stinks, too." -- Deepak Srikant
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The following restaurants are now accepting the indecisive:
•"This could be a best and worst, depending on your level of discretion or voyeurism. Then again, if you were discreet, you wouldn't be having sex in a public john. Balan's in Miami Beach has bathrooms with clear glass doors that fog over once locked, affording you almost enough privacy to do whatever you're doing in there. [Still it] was a mistake to listen to the architect's or interior designer's advice on having the “coolest can on the Eastern seaboard.'" -- Eva Pfaff, Internet consultant
•"The Forge might be nice, but its bathroom has that whole “bird' thing going on. Those damn parakeets would be a little distracting." -- Suzy Buckley, editor of Ocean Drive
Now, doesn't that put you in the mood?