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Dining Etiquette


If you don't think bad manners and worse dressing are the rule rather than the exception in restaurants these days, then you haven't been paying attention. So I thought a refresher course on dining do's and don'ts might be in order that I call A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO DINING ETIQUETTE....

A gentleman should always:

Ask a woman her preferences in restaurants;

Make reservations;

Go to the restroom before sitting down;

Salt and pepper his food AFTER tasting it; and

Arrive early, especially when meeting a lady.

A gentleman always stands when a woman (other than a waitress) approaches; Knows what he wants to eat within 2 minutes of sitting down; orders after his guests do; and takes up issues with food or service, discreetly and away from the table;

When it comes to things he shouldn't do, the list is endless. But for starters, a gentleman never:

Drinks too much;

Never snaps his fingers or waves a breadstick to get a waiter's attention;

Never discusses the price of the meal or wine;

Talks sports with women present;

Asks a chef to alter his cooking; or wears shorts in public-except at the golf course or beach.

And finally, a gentleman never, ever,

Criticizes the food or wine or service to his dining companions-with special dispensation given to food critics--since I violate this one all the time with the Food Gal--but only when we're dining alone.

Now having dined with, married and dated a number of women in my day, I have a few tips for them as well,

A lady should always:

Be interested in eating, if she agrees to go out;

Keep her food allergies and the details of her divorce to herself;

A lady aways treats the staff with respect, not as servants; and makes a sincere effort to pick up the tab, or at least the tip, on the second date.

A lady is always willing to try new wines, if she drinks wine; eats only with vegans, if she's a vegan; and has an answer other than: "I dunno, where do you wanna go?" when asked where she'd like to eat.

And finally ... a lady always knows the difference between sexy and sexual. Sexy is a little black dress. Sexual is thong floss riding up your low-rise jeans. Sexual has no business in ANY restaurant; I don't care how young or hot you think you are.

When it comes to don'ts, a true lady never:

Takes more than 5 minutes to decide what to eat;

Never pretends she's not hungry; never orders a corned beef sandwich in a Chinese noodle shop; and never gives her number to a bartender in the middle of a date.

But most of all,

A lady never would and never should, have four Glenfiddich 30 year old scotches at the bar at Le Cirque, for a hundred and thirty bucks I might add, then pass out after three bites of a six course tasting menu.......

This is John 'once bitten, twice shy' Curtas.