Tuesday, April 22, 2014

21st Century Manners: Defining date night

By:  BryAna Stearns

   With prom right around the corner, the “Do’s and Don’ts” of acting in a restaurant need a crucial reminder.  Many people are confused on picking up vs. meeting there, social interactions, paying, and many other things besides which fork to use.  Hopefully after reading you will find some clarification.   Let’s start from the beginning of the meal.
   First, you need to get to your dinner.  If you know your date, then it should be proper for them to pick you up, but if it’s a blind date, you might want to meet them there to avoid an awkward car ride or to escape your date.  Plan ahead to avoid confusion.
   Once at the restaurant you will most likely order your drinks first.  Anytime you are ordering, please say, “I would like (insert beverage/meal), please.” and also say “Thank you.”  When ordering, do try to pronounce your meal correctly.  Some restaurants perceive mispronunciation as a sign of disrespect, especially if the restaurant takes its culture seriously.  For example, if you are at a Mexican restaurant “tortilla” is pronounced: “tor-tee-ya” not “tor-til-a.”  If you truly do not know, order in a questioning tone, and the waiter will most likely pronounce the name right.
   After ordering, begin to talk with your date.  This means you must refrain from all phone use.  Constantly checking your phone can make you come off as bored and rude (if you are bored, at least fake being interested).  If you are at dinner with just some friends and not a date, some phone use is acceptable, but keep it at a minimum.  A common complaint at restaurants is people being obnoxiously loud.  If the noise level of the room is loud, then speaking loudly is unavoidable, but do not deliberately force the whole restaurant into listening to your conversation.
   Once you get your food (side note: the smaller or outside fork is your salad fork), proceed to eat.  Continue conversation, this will avoid an awkward silence.  Do not obnoxiously slurp.  Be sure to thank the waiter.  If your order is wrong, politely tell the waiter.  If it is only a minor issue, it is polite to just go ahead and eat the meal.  If it is the completely wrong meal, and if you like it, eat it; if not then ask for your correct order.
   The most confusing topic of meals is who pays.  If you are with a group of friends, it is easier for everyone to pay for their own meal.  If it is a date, then in the past tradition says the man pays.  Lately though, the man still pays, but it is ok for the girl to pay the tip.  If you are in a situation where the checks are split, tell the waiter ahead of time to avoid confusion.

   The main points to take from this are to always be polite and communicate with the waiter.  Follow these rules and there should be no confusion during your date.

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