Crockett and I are most definitely locals in most of the places we eat. Every bartender (we like to eat dinner at the bar top, not just drink) in town knows at least one of us, and usually both.
(Interesting factoid - when we started dating he went out a lot more than me, so even though we lived (and live) in the same small town he was more frequently recognized and our receipts would say 'Crockett' or 'Crockett + 1' or 'Crockett/guest', and then they changed to 'Crockett/Emma' or 'Emma/Crockett' but recently we went out and our receipt only said 'Emma' and he was sad.)
Overall I enjoy being a local. There are definite benefits. Sometimes people refill my wineglass without asking or expecting any money in return, for example. We kind of know people, and because I'm always with Crockett, I can count on him to remind me when we should know someone but I can't remember why, so we're never lonely. We get to change the channel on the tv over the bar if we feel very strongly about something. We're just generally sort of comfortable - we're not quite "Norm", but we're not far off.
Tonight I went out with a girlfriend to a restaurant that is smack in the middle of town that Crockett and I never go to, and I realized a few benefits of being an unknown. For example, I was able to ask for my salad with the dressing on the side. I would NEVER do that at our regular place, because we know the chef and his daughter the bartender/general manager, and asking for the dressing on the side would tacitly imply to them that I felt the salad was overdressed. We were also comped dessert, and I was able to blame it on our cuteness rather than the *cough* number of dollars that I could be expected to spend there. And? When the hostess ignored us, I wasn't concerned it was because I'd done something to her. She didn't know me, so I was able to just blame it on bad performance. It was very relaxing.
Of course, when Crockett and I met early today at the bar of that same restaurant so he could have a bar snack, the bartender was flirting with him. Our regular bartenders know better. (That's a lie - everyone in town flirts with Crockett. They can't help it. He's that kind of guy. BUT it's more subtle - this girl was all up in his biz while I WAS SITTING THERE.)
My dinner companion recently took a course in Myers Briggs testing, and she and I were discussing our relative whatchamacallems at dinner. (I'm ENTP, for anyone who cares, but I'm E (extrovert) over I (introvert) by about 1%). She asked if Crockett was E or I, and said I can tell by how he recharges - does he go out or stay in when he gets stressed? I thought about it and said he goes out, but he goes out in our town, which is basically like eating dinner with his extended family, so we were not able to come to a conclusion.
I'm a little out of practice at this blogging thing (fuck you, grad school, I defeated you!), so instead of drawing a conclusion, I'll just ask anyone who is reading - do you like being known in a restaurant, or do you prefer anonymity? (Feel free to answer in comments or in your head. Talk amongst yourselves.)