AAH. What could be more romantic than dinner for two, especially with Valentine's Day approaching? Well, plenty, actually.

Whenever I think of eating out, I see cosy tables, flickering candlelight, bistro food, sparkling wine and sparkling conversation. Alas, whenever my Other Half (OH) thinks of eating out, he sees prawn madras.

It's said research has shown that chillis are addictive, and I can well believe it, because the OH is fixated by curry. I practically have to beg to get him to consider eating anything but Indian. In his book, cash spent on food that doesn't give your mouth a rebore is a bit of a waste of time. Don't get me wrong; I like a curry myself, but it is not the only food.

I'm not the only woman to suffer in this way, either. One of my pals has exactly the same problem with her partner. We've even tried to gang up on them once or twice by having a meal out as a foursome, but we reckoned without pack behaviour. All that happens when those two are together, is that they send each other into a salivating frenzy that only garlic naan can satisfy.

And it's not only men who do this, as one of my colleagues can confirm. His partner will only ever go to Chinese restaurants. Mind you, at least she is Chinese, and entitled to get a little homesick from time to time.

I can't even escape curries when we go on holiday. If he can't get us to go to a country where it is the staple food, we have to hunt down a curry house so he can eat Indian at least once while we're away.

There's always one somewhere, even if you wear your feet out searching for it...

Occasionally, very occasionally, the OH has consented to eating in a restaurant of my choice. That's how I know his other "restaurant issues". I see a meal out as a chance to unwind and relax; an enjoyable, grazing, chatty kind of thing. He sees it as a competitive sport, with the last one to finish (inevitably, me) being branded a dawdling cissy.

A good meal is defined as "a shirtful", and its courses should arrive in rapid succession until, groaning, you pay an instantly-proffered bill in cash, so that you do not have to wait for a credit card to be returned when you could be calling for an ambulance to take you home lying down.

Any delay between courses leads to involuntary twitching and fidgeting, soon followed by complaints about hard seats.

And any hint of formality (tablecloths, for instance) leads to allegations that the place is stuck up, and that it's impossible to relax.

You can say that again.

There is a half-way house for us, thankfully. Often, it's called something like The Half Way House.

Pub grub he can handle, and with the gradual expansion of gastro-pubs, at least that means I can get a decent meal from time to time.

So that's where, if anywhere, we will probably end up on Valentine's Day. Unless he reads this, in which case I'll be lucky if I get so much as a takeaway (Indian, of course).