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Top 10 New Rules of Dining Etiquette

08/14/2011

I found this list over on Andrew Zimmern’s blog. It’s interesting…

I’ve been watching a lot of Bizarre Foods, No Reservations, Cooking Nightmares, all those types of shows, and they are slowly making me a more adventurous person when it comes to eating. Obviously there are several limitations imposed on me, such as travel, food costs, companionship, and health issues such as gout, but it’s been rewarding.

Anyways, here’s that list:

The 10 New Rules of Dining Etiquette
by Tim Zagat

Chivalry is dead. Maybe that’s not so great. At least the old rules of etiquette were clear-cut and made life easy. For example, in yesteryear when dining, men did the inviting, held doors, chairs and coats for women, tasted the wine, paid the bills and gave the tips. Women in turn were supposed to be pleasant companions. Clearly things have changed since then. Here are 10 proposals for new rules:

1. EQUALITY Women and men should be treated as equals. Still, a plurality of diners says that men are treated better than women. The explanation given is that men are more likely to pay the bill and tip. H dated can you be? She probably earns more than you.

2. PAYING FOR IT Whoever initiates a dinner date pays. Long ago, women were handed menus with no prices on them. Nowadays, whoever did the inviting should be expected to pay for the meal, unless you’ve worked out another arrangement in advance.

3. ORDERING FOOD Forget gender – people should order when ready. Sorry, Emily Post, but gone are the days when women were expected to go first. Since menus can be long and complex, regardless of your sex it’s a courtesy to order first and buy your tablemates a bit more time to decide.

4. HANDHELD VICES Do not talk, text, tweet, e-mail or surf the web at table. It’s rude, say 63% of diners. A whopping 73% advise turning off ringers. If you have urgent business to deal with, step away from the table briefly to handle matters.

5. KIDS, KIDS, KIDS It’s fine to bring children to dinner in most restaurants. But don’t do it at places where they’d elevate the decibel level or that are meant to be romantic. Zagat surveyors split over the age at which children should be allowed: 38% say from birth while the same percent argues five years or older. Tellingly, 61% believe restaurants should be able to ban children.

6. DRESSING DOWN OR UP Dress casually. This is known as the “Los Angelization of dining.” Hardly any restaurants require ties and jackets anymore. Even the tiny minority that do won’t object if you put your jacket over the back of the chair. About the only rule left is “don’t be a slob.” Alternatively, you may want to “dress up” to impress your companion.

7. SERIOUS RESERVATIONS Honor your restaurant reservations or cancel them on time. People should treat dining reservations as the important commitments they are. Holding an empty table for a no-show does real damage to a restaurant. If you make reservations and fail to cancel in advance, you’ll deservedly become persona non grata at the restaurant.

8. OK, NOW GET OUT Don’t overstay your welcome at a busy restaurant. To clarify: Take your time and enjoy your food, wine, conversation and after-dinner treats. Nobody should ever feel rushed. But interestingly, 60% of Zagat surveyors nationally support restaurants setting time limits on tables during peak hours. Remember, next time you may be the one waiting in line.

9. LONG LIVE CHIVALRY Men go through doors first, and then hold them open for women. We know, we know. This is the one rule of chivalry that will never die, even if it’s been updated (men used to allow women to go first). Bottom line: two people can’t go through a door at the same time. So to the women out there who find this notion antiquated, please, humor these poor men. Let them get the door – they’ll let you get the bill or walk on the outside once out on the street.

10. REMEMBER YOU’RE THE CUSTOMER. And the customer is always right. Too often customers feel they are being judged by the wait staff. That’s exactly wrong. Short of berating the waiter, you should expect to receive hospitable, efficient service and good food at any restaurant. If that doesn’t happen, take your money elsewhere and tell the next 10 people that you meet

Unrelated. My former church goes on periodic trips to Costa Rica, to help out at a satellite ministry run by some former church members. In my five years at the church, not a single trip to Costa Rica was taken, due to various reasons. I left the church in 2010, and at the time (and somewhat to this day) I knew I had to get away from them because their combination of community living, theology, and religious ties left me not wanting to even be a Christian anymore. To say my faith was in jeaopardy was an understatement, and many friends and family have come forward to tell me they had been praying for me the whole time I was with this church, and they could see that while I had been growing initially I had taken a steep fall and was utterly miserable and despondent. More than anything, I left to save my faith…and discover truth.

Well, here it is 2011, and the church has finally gone on a trip to Costa Rica. A bunch of my friends are on the trip as well. And I admit freely, I would rather be in Costa Rica right now with them than pretty much anywhere else in the world. And that’s the problem I find myself in. I have many friends at this former church, or at least people that I love and consider friends, people I would do anything to help if they just asked. Yet I am firmly convinced that a lot of their doctrine is destructive, that they have taken many good things and practices and tweaked them to such an extreme that they have become unhealthy. I have seen many people turn away from Christ because of this church, yet just as many come to Christ and get their lives radically turned around! They are a sick church and don’t even recognize that they are sick, and it grieves me because I care so much. It’s a church I would gladly be a member of and serve in for the rest of my life, if they would just correct and fix so much that is wrong with them.

So that’s my struggle. To be with my friends while at the same time being utterly convinced they are dangerous, and mostly through no fault of their own. And one of the biggest hurdles is that many can’t disconnect their relationships and friendships with their religion and faith. I can’t fellowship with people whom I still consider dear friends (even if I get incredibly angry at them from time to time; love) because the gloves can’t be taken off. The ones whom I can fellowship with I still do so. But others…you can’t go five minutes talking with them before some comment or situation or event happens that completely changes the dynamic and God reminds me once again why I left…or he had me leave, however you want to view it.

I wish I could still go to this church. I wish I could still have my old friends back. But there is so much excess that comes along with it that the cost is too high. It would leave me at the place, once again, of saying “I don’t want this life, I don’t want to just be around these people, I don’t want anything to do with God or Jesus if this is truly what He brings”.

And it’s a shame. And heartbreaking.

I hope my friends in Costa Rica are having a good time. I hope they have the chance to minister to many people (because, ultimately, they do teach the gospel, as least initially). I’m praying for them every day. I hope the trip is a blessing to all who went and that they will come back renewed for Christ.

Amen.

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