I’m wondering what constitutes good table manners?
We are three healthy married couples who for several years have met for dinner every other month at a different restaurant in Brooklyn. One of the men in the group doesn’t automatically stand when one of the women arrives at the table late, nor does he stand when one of the ladies returns from the restroom. The other man and I stand up and one of us pulls out her chair for her to sit down. He doesn’t budge even for his wife — until he notices he’s the only man down.
I think by now we unwittingly stand to annoy him. I can’t say I’m proud of myself, although I would like him to stand up for my wife and pull out her chair when I’m across the table from her. I enjoy showing the wives respect. At any rate, I’ve noticed that the other man and I have been slacking off about jumping up in fear of humiliating him further. Is this a slithery slope?
Table manners may not be his strong point.
Chances are the negligent husband will eventually succumb to attempting a clumsy stance so as not to be outed by the other men at the table as he becomes more comfortable with his well-mannered friends.
Good manners rub off on others. His feeble attempt at using good etiquette will be duly noted and the other men probably won’t always stand up when the returning woman arrives back at the table. Why? So as not to embarrass the ignoramus a second time — or the woman.
To be honest, you don’t see most men standing anymore (especially in restaurants without table cloths) because nobody wants to intentionally humiliate any man who doesn’t stand during a social occasion.
If it was a same-sex couple what would you do? Would you assume a different gender to each and act accordingly standing up for one and not the other? Probably not.
Less than one in five men will pull out a chair for a woman to sit down at a restaurant table. You think that’s bad, three-quarters won’t lift a hand to carry a woman’s bag or suitcases. Forget about having the car door held open. Is it because men don’t want to be accused of being condescending? Is a woman condescending when she makes him breakfast the next morning?
Good manners would be to tend to your toileting before being seated. One never leaves the table while dining unless you really cannot hold it a minute longer. It is just downright rude to the other diners at the table.
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