On Saturday evening my wife, three friends and myself went to Paesano's in Little Italy. Our friends were visiting from out of town: an American woman, her Italian husband and his Italian best friend. We thought it would be charming (if not a little kitschy) to show our Italian Stallions some Mulberry Street flare, and so we let ourselves be coaxed in by the charismatic host on the sidewalk to rest our weary legs. We were sat in a quiet back corner of the restaurant, and inquired about dessert specials. My wife ordered a bottle of Chianti from a man with salt and pepper hair and a bow tie. He pressed us to order food, but none of the sweets really piqued our interest so we politely declined. The restaurant was only dotted with customers at this point so it didn't seem unreasonable.
Moments later, the server returns to ask us if we would like to order some calamari. We decline his offer once again, and go on make a toast to our guests. Between the five of us, the first round empties the bottle. A younger server with a patchy mustache approaches us, picking up the bottle and asking Francesco and Leo - the two and only men in our party - if we would like more wine. Francesco shakes his head and off the server goes.
The younger server then returns with a bottle of wine, displaying the label to Francesco.
My wife pipes up, "Oh we didn't want another bottle, but thank you."
The younger server barely acknowledges my wife's words before turning back to Francesco, saying with a grin, "Usually, when you don't say anything, it really means yes." He lingers at our table, as does grin of amusement.
Aghast, we glance around the table at one another in silent disbelief.
Noting the difference in opinion, the older server comes back over to chime in. Again, only addressing the men at the table, he stands next to his colleague, and says with a smile and waving hands, "It's like when a woman says no, and she really means yes!" Both servers nod to one another in hysterical agreement and laugh.
We pay for the bottle of wine, tip one dollar (still kinda regretting this as I feel it was too generous), and leave.