Dining: A Modest Proposal

Cost-per-square-foot being what it is, dining establishments need to get the most out of their real estate, and tables are jammed ever closer together. Sometimes the person next to you is actually closer (and easier to hear) than one’s dining companion across the table.

Hence my proposal: restaurants need to implement a First Date section. That way all of the anxiousness, the awkward silences, and worst, the incessant bloviating can be confined to one area, minimally impacting the health and serenity of the diners who are actually there to enjoy a meal and some relaxed conversation.

Photo from LA Times.
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12 Comments

  1. June 29, 2008 / 11:46 pm

    hi from Paris my lady ! lol

    I am right now covering the Paris fashion week that began last week and still for few days,
    I try to forget nobody interested in fashion and style like you because I know that it could help you to find some inspiration for your coming styles.
    Dior, Hermès, Agnès B… I hope you’ll like my photo coverage.

    have a great evening and keep on being stylish

    Kamel
    http://WWW.STYLEANDTHECITY.COM

  2. June 30, 2008 / 1:02 pm

    Hi Kamel,

    I’ve been loving your coverage so far. Everyone looks so fabulous! Keep up the good work. I may not always comment, but am always reading.

    A bientot!

  3. June 30, 2008 / 2:07 pm

    Restaurant noise level is an art. Too quiet and you inadvertently eavesdrop, too loud and you mime your way through the evening. Danny Meyer talks about a curtain of sound that has to be loud enough to create animation, low enough that you can converse. Most places now skew toward too loud for me.

  4. chicamericaine
    June 30, 2008 / 3:22 pm

    Oooo, I would never want to miss out on all the anxiousness, the awkward silences, and incessant bloviating going on in the first date section! Eavesdropping is one of our favorite pastimes. We even have a code to get the other to tune into a conversation. One of my happiest days was when I realized I could tune in in French! Though it seems that dating rituals are a bit different over here — less apparent anxiety.

    Karen in Paris

  5. June 30, 2008 / 4:02 pm

    chicamericaine – usually I don’t mind either, but recently we were seated next to someone rather loud and moderately drunk who seemed intent on too much “sex and the ex” discussion. My poor husband bore the brunt of it.

    Last year in Paris, we had a group at the next table that seemed to consist of one Russian and some others of an indeterminate nationality. Their only common language was English, and the Russian was explaining (complete with maps and diagrams on table napkins) how to smuggle shoes either into or out of China. I was intrigued, but DH was worried we were seated next to Russian Mob and would soon be murdered because we knew too much. 🙂

  6. June 30, 2008 / 4:17 pm

    Oh, but it can be such good evesdropping!

  7. chicamericaie
    June 30, 2008 / 5:03 pm

    Oh wow, our eavesdropping has never been THAT exciting!

  8. July 1, 2008 / 12:56 am

    sitting next to first daters are the most fun. has anyone noticed early stage couples lean into each other at a 30 degree angle making dreamy eyes at each other. amusing….

  9. July 1, 2008 / 10:06 am

    Dejapseu: I eat out a lot and although I may be reading, when eating alone, I always can hear what others are saying. It is fun and if I were to blog about all I heard, I never have to think up anything else to write. Oh the lives of others! 😉

  10. July 1, 2008 / 6:29 pm

    I don’t like loud restaurants, either. One whose food I like very much that is near work is so loud, you can forget about chatting, and some tables are so close together there is no way to get to/from your seat without rubbing against the next table. I practice self-acceptance when it comes to my body, but can’t help but wonder what that complete stranger thinks as my butt passes within a couple of inches of his/her plate. As for eavesdropping anecdotes, a friend was once in a restaurant in some other country (I forget which) and was seated near Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Apparently MD assumed that no one nearby spoke or understood English, because he was freely berating CZJ for being overweight! (Grrr.)

  11. July 1, 2008 / 8:39 pm

    I always feel bad sitting next to people that didn’t bring along their kids, too. Maybe they could have a family ghetto, where everyone is aware that walking can be hazardous, noise levels are high, and the staff knows to bring all the food at once, and quickly.

  12. ricki
    July 4, 2008 / 12:29 pm

    I’d frankly rather sit next to a couple of first-daters than what I wound up next to once on an evening out with visiting family:

    A guy who was using his cell phone, loudly and angrily, and cursing out the (apparently) travel agent on the other end who couldn’t get him PRECISELY what he wanted.

    I suppose one of us could have gone over and asked him to please be quiet, but considering the level to which his anger had built, we were all kind of afraid. (And I guess the waiters were afraid too; they all kind of hung back until he had finished).

    Or maybe the “posh” restaurants (in the “non-flyover” parts of the U.S.) have instituted a no cell phones rule?

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