Got a dinner date planned for this weekend? These 10 rules should help. Remember, you should be an animal in the bedroom, not the dining room.
1. Never sit next to each other on one side of a table unless you’re being filmed for a reality TV show. Be adults and sit facing each other. The romance of staring into each other’s eyes over a candle-lit table should be enough.
2. Guys, don’t order for the woman. She’s an adult: She can make up her own mind and she can speak for herself.
3. Don’t order “just a salad.” This tells your date you’d rather count calories than embrace the date and all its pleasures, including the gastronomic ones. On the other hand, don’t order the lobster, unless it’s been clearly established that you’re paying.
4. No cellphones at the table, please, even if you’re dining at Denny’s. (Good manners don’t discriminate against even the tackiest of eating establishments.) If you absolutely, positively must take a call, keep your phone on vibrate, but for heaven’s sake don’t whip it out. Wait for an appropriate pause in the conversation to excuse yourself from the table to retrieve or make that call. However: It better be an emergency.
5. If you have to use the powder room, just say, “Excuse me please.” Or “Will you excuse me for just a moment?” Your date doesn’t need to be told that you’re off to evacuate your bowels.
6. Don’t start eating until your date has also been served. Don’t even touch your silverware until their dish has made contact with the table linen. Even if your date insists that you go ahead.
7. Discussing the etymology of “The Dirty Sanchez” is unacceptable dinner conversation — save that for the bar.
8. Don’t gesture with your silverware.
9. Do not ask to sample your date’s plate unless they offer first. Some people are funny about that. On the other hand, if your date is clearly suffering from entrée envy, consider offering a trade. Not required, of course, but you have no idea how many points this will score you later.
10. Be courteous to the waitstaff. Never snap, clap, cry “Waiter,” or worse “Garcon!” to get your attendant’s attention; wait until you catch your server’s eye, then simply nod, smile, or subtly raise your hand. If you’re rude to the service industry professionals, it tells your date that you have the potential to be rude and obnoxious to anyone. And finally, if you’re picking up the bill, then tip 20% unless you want to look like a cheap bastard.