Thursday, January 17, 2013

Dining Protocol

Most people eat differently if no one was around, but then some folks don’t. It is good to know what is bad behavior or offensive to your date before doing it. Some dates are real sticklers for etiquette even to the point of faulting you for rules you never knew existed. Before you grouse about someone having to accept you as you are, remember we are talking about first impressions.


1.       Do not put your keys, purse, or cellphone on the table.

2.       Do not text during the meal, or answer texts. Turn your phone off or put it on silent.

3.       If you are in restaurant with televisions, don’t watch the game over her shoulder. She’ll know.

4.       Please chew with your mouth closed. Even after you dated forever, it is never permissible to chew with your mouth open.

5.       Don’t talk with food in your mouth. Your date will wait until you swallow.

6.       Do not slurp your soup or drink. (This changes in Japan where it is a ‘do’)

7.       Use utensils when possible. Sure, you eat a burger with your hands. When in doubt, don’t order items that are finger foods. (The Brits eat everything with utensils even to the extent of peeling fruit with a tiny knife, and eating with a fork.)

8.       Do not complain about the service, it just makes you sound petty.

9.       Even if your food isn’t to your liking, don’t complain about it. Your date did not prepare it, and he or she can’t do anything about it. Exception:  a too rare steak is fixable.

10.   Fight the desire to comment on other people in the restaurant. This behavior shows your attention is off your date.

11.   Do not sample off your date’s plate without permission. Later on in the relationship, this might be permissible, then again, it might not.

12.   Women, don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu because you want to get value from the date. This is extremely rude behavior. He could expect you to split the bill, or find your behavior so reprehensible that he excuses himself, and never returns.

13.   Don’t  get tipsy. Keep yourself to a one-drink limit, or possibly a no drink limit.

14.   No cutesy behavior. This includes talking in different voices, arranging condiments in fighting formation, playing peek-a-boo with the menu, acting ditzy. People never really find this appealing EVER.

15.   When the bill comes, do not comment on how the man pays. Some women are amazing rude commenting on if he used a credit card, if he tipped enough, or even be irate if a date uses a gift card.

16.   Do not flirt with your server, even if your server flirts with you.

17.   Do not check out other people in the room. It is no fun to go out with a guy who has a swivel head.




1.       Allow the man to place the order. The woman can pick out her choice, but it is still traditional for the man to place the order.

2.       Use your napkin. Your date probably won’t tell you if you have something on your face.

3.       Slow down.  The point isn’t to eat, but get to know your date. Eating as if you haven’t eaten in days is not flattering to your date.

4.       Do keep your distance. Dinner is not a grope session.

5.       Dress appropriately for your venue. It never hurts to be overdressed, but underdressed is embarrassing. When in doubt, go with business casual. (Khakis and a dress shirt for men, or a simple dress or coordinated pants ensemble for women. Shorts are never appropriate unless you are picnicking.)

6.       Talk in an appropriate level. The couple behind you doesn’t want to hear about your day.

7.       Keep your laughter moderate. Shrieking laughter is not only off putting, but makes people think you had too much to drink.

8.       Do throw out conversational tidbits as opposed to making your date do all the work.

9.       Do smile and act as if you’re enjoying yourself even if you think there will be no second date. There is no reason to act like a jerk.

10.   Do thank the server for refilling your glass, or making substitutions. (This shows you are a considerate person.)

11.   Do consider your topics. Avoid previous relationships, religion, politics, and any hot button issue for you. (You are anti-gun, and you want to know where he stands. You will find out if you pay attention as opposed to quizzing him like a detective.)

12.   If you feel the desire to split the tab, you can suggest this, but if your date refuses, accept it.

13.   Do help the lady with her chair, and coat.

14.   Walk your date to her car if you came in different cars. If she is using the subway, you can offer to walk her to her station.

15.   Make sure to thank your date for a lovely evening. (This paramount for both men and women)

16.   Want a second date, then, make sure to text that evening to make certain she/he got home safe, and restate what a great time you have.  After that, the next move is up to your date.

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