Last week, one of the year’s biggest news stories broke, and it felt like none of you really cared.
See: Drake was spotted in Houston filming scenes for his next single, “Child’s Play.” You know, the one where he raps about the Cheesecake Factory. And, yes, most important: He was spotted in Houston filming scenes at the local Cheesecake Factory.
As we all know from listening to "Child's Play," the Cheesecake Factory is where Aubrey once had a memorable argument with his then-lover, who had the gall to start a fight in front of families trying to enjoy their reasonably priced cuisine. “Why you gotta fight with me at Cheesecake?" he asked, a note of genuine hurt in his voice. "You know I love to go there.” That line, while evocative and strangely moving, left a bigger question unanswered: Why does he love to go to Cheesecake? Why not Olive Garden? Why not Denny's? At what point did Drake opt out of including East Side Mario’s or T.G.I. Friday’s? And if Chili’s is good enough for both Michael Scott and low-dignity vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence, why isn’t it good enough for October’s Very Own?
I'm getting to the bottom of this mystery — right here, right now. Because I am a professional first, and a family restaurant aficionado second. Sometimes it’s like Aubrey Drake Graham has never even heard of Pizza Hut.
You guys didn’t even think of this one, did you? Amateurs. Picture this: slow-simmering tension brewing steadily between Aubrey and his lady during the Pizza Hut lunch buffet, a staple for many suburban teens, twentysomethings, and me, a woman with severe lactose intolerance and an inability to make good life choices. Imagine a leisurely afternoon ruined by Drake’s unwillingness to share the sole piece of pepperoni pizza remaining on the table before them. He would take it; she would say, “But you already have slices of Hawaiian, Canadian, and that cheese pasta no one ever orders off the dinner menu.” So he would have a pout, throw it back down, and say, “Fine. There. Have it.” But now she doesn’t want it. Because it was never about the pizza, it was about the fact that they were eating lunch at 11:30 a.m. and were the only ones in the restaurant. It was about the fact that she wanted crêpes.
In the midst of a late-morning hangover, Drake and his counterpart sip their bottomless coffees, pretending they aren’t as hungover as they really are. “You want the special?” he mumbles over the menu. “I’ll just stick with coffee,” she answers. “You never make me feel special,” he responds. She rolls her eyes. A baby cries. A toddler coos. Drake spells out his age in bacon, while his date reminds him that Breaking Bad ended years ago and Jesus H., move on.
Breadsticks. Salads. All you can eat. Charged by the accessibility of unlimited carbs (and who wouldn’t be?), Drake begins pressing his girlfriend about her silence. “Are you mad at me?” he asks her. “No,” she says, stifling her disbelief that they’re at Olive Garden a mere three hours after having Pizza Hut for lunch. He looks at her. “Then what is it?” She avoids his gaze. “What?” A pause. “I don’t want to talk about it here!” she says, her voice rising. Drake leans back in his chair. “Whatever you can say to me, you can say in front of them.” She looks around, confused. All she can see are strangers. Drake catches her eye. “Hey,” he says gently. “You’re among family.”
Honestly, I don’t know what the setup would be, but it’s important for us to imagine Drake and his +1 having a disagreement while sitting in a booth upholstered with images of sea creatures. “What?” he’d say exasperatedly to her, while clad in a plastic lobster bib. “What?!” She doesn’t answer. He wraps a few cheddar biscuits in a napkin and says quickly, “Here, put these in your purse.” (Like my own father.)
Drake sits stone-faced, telling himself he likes sitting at a two-top between two families of six. “We don’t have to stay here,” his date suggests. “I can’t even hear you over the music!” Drake raises his chin. “What?” he yells. “The music!” she says. “It’s so loud!” He smirks. “I fucking love this song!” he says self-righteously. She sits, confused, as a song by Joe Budden plays.
Dave and Buster’s
Rushing through dinner, Drake grabs his partner by the hand. “I’m not done —” she says, trying to finish a chicken finger. “Come on!” he says, whining, stomping his foot. “Hey,” she says firmly, looking him right in the eye. “Do you want to wait for me to finish my dinner like a grown-up or do you want to go home without any games?” Aubrey takes a seat and slouches down. “Finish your milk,” she commands. He downs it in a gulp. An uncomfortable silence sets in. “Take $10 out of my purse,” she finally concedes. “Stay where I can see you.” He rushes off. Maybe they should’ve stuck to the Cheesecake Factory.