Ash's Etiquette Class: Table/Date Manners

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Ok, so I wasn't going to bore you guys with my list of table manners/date deal-breakers, but apparently, some of you wanted to know. I had to break down it down into two categories- general behavior and on a date. So here goes:

General Behavior:
* There is never a reason to blow your nose at the table. I covered the whole nose-blowing thing, but I think it bears repeating. It never ceases to amaze me how many people have no idea this is rude. It seems that every single time I am at a restaurant, without fail, someone at another table blows their nose. For those of you that don't realize exactly how repulsive it is, think about it for a second. You are blowing snot/phlegm/gawd knows what else into a napkin while I am trying to eat. The only thing I can think of that is even more disgusting is if you were to actually pick your nose at the table. Oh, and then you LEAVE the napkin balled up on the same table you are EATING on! It may not be a big deal to you, being that it is your own bodily secretion, but I'll be damned if I am going to eat with that sitting on the table.

*For christ's sake, close your mouth when you chew. And don't talk with food in your mouth. You have no idea how many things fly out of your mouth while speaking- and that's without the food in your mouth. It freaks me out enough to think of the number of your germs that end up on me during a conversation; I don't want to have to worry that your half-chewed food is ending up on me and in my food. And I don't want to see your half-masticated food, either. Besides that, the sound of someone chewing is disgusting. If you have to say something and, for whatever reason, don't have time to swallow, cover your mouth when you say it.

*I realize that in some countries, burping after a meal is considered a compliment to the chef. We are not in one of those countries.

*If you need something, ask for it. Don't ever reach over me or my plate to get it. Otherwise, you may end up with a fork in your arm. I will gladly pass you the salt, pepper, etc- if you just ask.

*If you are one of those people who uses their hands a lot when speaking, put your utensils and food down. Please don't wave your fork or your french fry around when you are telling me about your crazy aunt Edna.

*I doubt that you were just released from a POW camp and haven't eaten in months, so there is no reason to shovel your food in as if it's going to disappear if you stop to pause. No one is going to come and take your plate away if you stop eating for a minute.

*Cover your mouth when you cough. Not just at the table. Every time.

*Don't ever reach over and take a bite of something from my plate- unless I offer it. This is not a "community plate," so hands off. I will almost always ask if you'd like to try it, so wait until I ask. And don't stare at my plate, waiting for me to offer.

*Don't be "that guy/girl." If you have a food allergy, use common sense. I have one of the most difficult allergies to dine out with, yet I am able to pick something from the menu without annoying the server too much. If you are allergic to cheese, don't eat at Olive Garden. However, there are some allergies that make it acceptable to ask questions- nuts, for instance. It is perfectly ok to ask if the food is cooked in peanut oil. It is not ok to ask the server at an Italian restaurant if there is cheese in something.

On a Date (for the guys):
(all of the general rules still apply)
*If we are sharing an appetizer, don't just take the last bite. Always offer it to your date. If I insist that you eat it, then by all means, go for it.

*If you ask me out, you pay- especially if it's a first date. I will almost always offer to pay half. I fully expect you to refuse (you did ask me out, after all). I am not opposed to "going Dutch" once in a while, but that should be rare. I am not a hard-core feminist- I will not be insulted if you buy me dinner. If you are a little cash-poor and ask me out, then pick a restaurant you can afford. I don't care if we end up at the corner pizza place, but I should never have to pay if you initiated the date.

*Hold the door for me. Seriously.

*Do not, under ANY circumstances, order for me. I am a grown woman. I am perfectly capable of deciding what I want for dinner and relaying that decision to the server.

*Speaking of servers, treat them with respect. It's a shitty job. Don't treat them like servants. It stands to reason that if you treat them like shit, you probably treat other people like shit. On the other hand, if our server is a pretty girl, don't flirt excessively with her. A little flirting is cute; ogling the waitress is not.

*No matter how sneaky you try to be when signing your credit card receipt, I am sneakier. I take note of how well you tip the server. Being a cheapskate when it comes to tipping is a deal-breaker for me.

These are just a few of the deal-breakers. Trust me, there are a lot more. But rather than give them all, let me tell you all about my friend Dan.

Dan is only a friend (and not a very good one at that). Never anything more. He sealed that fate the first time we dined out together. He is allergic to cheese. Yet, when I suggested an Italian place, he didn't make me aware of that fact. He waited until we were at the restaurant and were looking over the menu. When I suggested that we go somewhere else, he said that no, he'd find something on the menu. Then he proceeded to interrogate the server. When the salad came, he examined the dressing. Even though the server assured him that there was no cheese in it, he swore that there was. He ended up getting a plain, grilled chicken breast and plain pasta (sauce on the side)- which he basically devoured in two bites, shovelling huge amounts of food into his mouth. I was literally disgusted by the way he ate. To top it all off, he was rude to the server and left a shitty tip. Needless to say, I will never date him. And I very rarely go to eat with him.

Nothing kills the mood like poor manners.


The Husband 8/24/2006 03:59:00 PM  

what about guidelines for girls on dates?

Tara 8/24/2006 04:32:00 PM  

My manager talks with food in his mouth. I wanna smack him. It's not the idea of him spitting stuff out, which is gross enough, but I hate the sound of him smacking his lips on something while explaining something to me.

Here's one that I ran into on a first date: The guy took a bit of his food on his fork and held the fork up to close to my face and said "Taste this, it's good!" I'm sorry, I can feed myself, thank you very much, and we're not a couple yet so back off. He was a nice guy, but c'mon! I gently declined and he asked why and I can't remember what I said, but he was okay with it.

And thank you for posting this! I loved it!

Jessica 8/24/2006 04:56:00 PM  

i totally agree about bad table manners being a total turn off! men seem to have the hardest time with this...sometimes they even sit in front of their food and seem to embrace their plate while they shovel food into their mouths...i think they think that somebody is going to take it if they don't protect it and eat it fast.

nicole 8/24/2006 07:42:00 PM  

I don't know if I've morphed into some kind of baboon lately but I'm catching myself talking with food in my mouth WAY too often lately. It's usually when someone says something RIGHT as I've started chewing and I have to catch that perfect window of opportunity to hit them with a witty response. But dude, that's NO excuse to act totally wolf-raised!

Forgive me??

Scotus 8/24/2006 07:53:00 PM  

"I am not opposed to "going Dutch" once in a while, but that should be rare."

I agree that the guy should pay for the first few dates. But after a certain point, assuming their incomes are roughly equal, shouldn't going Dutch more or less be the rule, not the exception?

Generally speaking, if by, say, the fourth date, a woman hasn't made a genuine offer to pick up the tab, I think it's a pretty telling sign.

Rachel 8/24/2006 10:21:00 PM  

These are great. I can get physically nauseated by people who chew and talk with their mouth open and leave bodily fluids on the table(even if in a napkin). My stomach is churning just thinking about it.
I don't mind going dutch even on a first date. I figure that I can pay for myself any other time, just because I am on a date doesn't mean that I get a free ride.
I prefer the switch up method. For movies one will get the tickets, the other will get the popcorn and snacks. Next time it is vice versa.
It is nice for someone to treat me once in a while.
I guess that I am a cheap date. I would rather have a picnic at the beach and watch the sunset then go to a 4 star restaurant.

Skipper 8/25/2006 06:01:00 AM  

Loved the manners/etiquette posts. Funny, but very true.

Talking with food in your mouth is so disgusting. It's the #1 turn off for me!

Tara - Cringeworthy 1st date or what. >.<

Ashburnite 8/25/2006 09:50:00 AM  

carl- oohh....wish I could, but I really don't know what drives you guys crazy on dates.

tara- ewww....I've had dates like that as well. so gross.

jessica- yeah, the whole shoveling thing seems to be a totally male behavior. like they are animals.

nicole- I'm sure your table manners are A-OK :-)

scotus- no, I totally agree. After a few dates, I always try to pick up the check. We're talking first date here, though. After about 2 or 3 dates, I insist on either going Dutch or treating.

rachel- I definitely do the whole "you buy the tickets, I'll get the popcorn" thing- but I hate going dutch on a first date.

skipper- thanks. definitely a huge turn-off.

Johnny 8/25/2006 03:45:00 PM  

You really spy on the guy to see how much he's tipping? How bout we just go to Wal Mart and get some stale hot dogs.;)

Brent,  8/26/2006 01:55:00 AM  

I couldn't agree more. Coming from the other side of the table so to speak, I can't stand when a woman thinks she's sitting in a trailer when I take her to dinner. Nothing like watching your attractive date shovel anything they can into their pie hole for you to watch as she masticates at an alarming pace to keep up with the next incoming forkfull. Or when she thinks she can fork anything off your plate because you're just "such a sweet guy".

slloww 8/26/2006 04:30:00 PM  

I must admit...I'm very impressed by a woman of your generation who understands the importance of civility....thank you

AlienCG 8/27/2006 09:53:00 AM  

I observe good table manners for the most part. I am also not real picky when it comes to ordering (usually, my only special request is no tomatoes on a sandwich). I have always paid on dates and refused when my date offered. I do not take food off other peoples' plates unless offered. I agree with nose-blowing thing, it is quite repulsive. If anybody asks me a question and I have just taken a bit, I politely give the "one-moment" hand gesture and finish my bite before answering.

I have been taught good table manners.

AlienCG 8/27/2006 04:13:00 PM  

One more thing to add:

Guys, a dinner-date with a girl is no place to prove your manhood. Let me finish. Do not order three dozen nuclear meltdown wings. Not only would a girl not want to kiss you after that, but they are also very sloppy and unbecoming. Do not profess your love of garlic and onions, either. For best results, order food that must be consumed with utensils, provided you know how to use them.

allan 9/04/2006 05:15:00 PM  

"No matter how sneaky you try to be when signing your credit card receipt, I am sneakier. I take note of how well you tip the server. Being a cheapskate when it comes to tipping is a deal-breaker for me."

I had the opposite experience on one date (the only date with this woman). We went to That's Amore in Sterling, with wine, salads, etc the check came to $97. I paid and wrote in a total of $120.

Like you, she was fast and she flipped out about the tip saying it was extravagant and way too much and she went on to say that she never tips more than 10%.

Having worked my way through college as a waiter, I take offense at 10% tips ;). So, we got into an argument about tipping and how much you should tip. She finally ended it by saying, "Well, no one in my family ever tips more than 10%, we just don't believe in it."

To which I responded, with my usual tact, "I'm sorry you come from a family of cheapskates."

Thus ended my night :).

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