Lunch Date: Taking "Labor of Love" out for a cheesesteak

(Once in a while, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

Who’s your date today? Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating, by Moira Weigel. Weigel will be reading at Elliott Bay Book Company tomorrow evening.

Where’d you go? Marination, the newest restaurant in the Marination Station empire, down on 6th and Virginia.

What’d you eat? I had the Korean Cheesesteak ("Kalbi beef with grilled onions and jalapenos, melted cheese, and mayo on a Macrina demi-baguette") and macaroni salad.

How was the food? It was very much in line with the other Marination restaurant's offerings, which is to say it's really good. The sandwich was excellent: cheesy and beefy without being sloppy or too heavy. Some of the cheese was fried to crispy shards on the outside of the sandwich, which was delightful. I love Marination Station's pork torta best of all, but this sandwich is right up there in terms of quality. The macaroni salad was suitably tangy, though I was a little disappointed to discover that there were no cubes of Spam in it, as it is in the macaroni salad at Marination Ma Kai.

What does your date say about itself? From the publisher’s promotional copy:

“Does anyone date anymore?” Today, the authorities tell us that courtship is in crisis. But when Moira Weigel dives into the history of sex and romance in modern America, she discovers that authorities have always said this. Ever since young men and women started to go out together, older generations have scolded them: That’s not the way to find true love. The first women who made dates with strangers were often arrested for prostitution; long before “hookup culture,” there were “petting parties”; before parents worried about cell phone apps, they fretted about joyrides and “parking.” Dating is always dying. But this does not mean that love is dead. It simply changes with the economy. Dating is, and always has been, tied to work.

Is there a representative quote? "The story of dating began when women left their homes and the homes of others where they had toiled as slaves and maids and moved to cities where they took jobs that let them mix with men."

Will you two end up in bed together? Oh, yes. The subject matter is engrossing, and Weigel blows up a few long-held misperceptions about dating in the first few pages. She also meanders delightfully, invoking the Real Housewives reality franchise, blue-footed boobies, and dating's seedy, unspoken "prostitution complex" in a dozen pages. She's a fine guide, and the book is lively and entertaining. It made for an excellent date.