So, this Family Weekend my parents treated a couple of my friends and me to a dinner on Federal Hill. Since we’re all a bunch of indecisive shmucks—or maybe we’re just given too many options—we took to Yelp to essentially choose a restaurant for us. (We also sifted through reviews for a good two hours, but that’s another story.) While “sifting,” I stumbled upon a specific review of one of the restaurants:
I’m sorry, doesn’t this seem a bit dramatic? As Professor Hazeltine would say, “Am I making any sense at all?” Yes, you think the restaurant’s bad. P
lease don’t deliver a digital monologue on your misplaced sorrows . Indeed, it seems that this Yelper’s experience involved unearthing some serious neurosis about this one restaurant — “outdoor seating, chic drinks” and “people watching” are possibilities no more, now realized as merely wistful imaginings washed out by an experience on that one dreary night after those “few fleeting hours.” What kind of ethereal nonsense were people telling the Yelper about this restaurant? Are there any other places to get these “chic drinks”? And how many hours was it, really, before it was no longer the reviewer’s “summer spot”? I’d like to know.
Perhaps viscerally, this Yelp review bears an eerie resemblance to a line in Rush Hour 2, when Chris Tucker talks about a relationship he could have had.
Yelpers: You’re not trying to have relationships with restaurants. I appreciate your dedication to improving our dining experiences through providing sound and accurate reviews, but when you cross the line to quasi-romantic fixations on heartbreak and disappointment, that’s when you know you may be taking your Yelping too seriously. It’s a little sad, a little disconcerting.
So, I’m not telling you to not write with passion, I’m not telling you to write a less accurate review of your night, all I’m saying is that there’s a certain point when the Yelp review becomes more about the reviewer than about the restaurant itself, and you may benefit from pausing every once in a while and asking yourself: Have I taken this too far? Am I experiencing symptoms of unrequited love? Is my restaurant review beginning to resemble a sappy piece of literature? Here’s a good rule of thumb: don’t ever find yourself thinking, let alone writing, something like “We could’ve had something special” about a restaurant. Even if it’s about a brunch joint on Wickenden that didn’t quite meet your expectations. Just don’t.