Wise answers to perplexing questions
Dear Answer Lady
One of my favorite things to do with my best friend is to dine out. But it’s embarrassing the way she orders! If you’ve seen When Harry Met Sally, it’s like that. Dressings must always be on the side, bacon has to be extra, extra well-done, pickles on a separate plate, eggs soft, but not too soft, mayonnaise on one side of the bread but not both – on and on! We had breakfast the other day at Bella Vida and it took her five minutes to order. I wanted to crawl under the table! – Sally’s Best Friend
Have you tried looking at the server and saying, “We’re rehearsing a comedy scene for our upcoming Broadway production”? Or, better yet, creating a pre-printed business card you can leave under your plate or pass to the waitress on the way out that reads, “I’m sorry my dining companion is a P.I.T.A.”? The Answer Lady jests, of course, but humor can diffuse most situations. Your best bet may be to start chatting with Sally before the server’s arrival, or even on your way to the restaurant, i.e. – “I’m having The Big Kahuna, what do you feel like?” When the server comes over, you say “I’ll have The Big Kahuna and she’ll have The Chunky Monkey.” Then you can launch into the hottest bit of gossip imaginable (making something up if necessary), thereby distracting her and keeping her menu modifications to a minimum.
Dear Answer Lady
I was enjoying my lunch and a good book at The Depot Market Café the other day when an acquaintance arrived with guests. After we exchanged greetings, they insisted that I join them. I really was enjoying my solitude, so I politely declined. I’m just wondering now if that was a social faux-pas. – Table for One
No, good etiquette does not dictate that we disrupt our own peaceful outing to sit with other people who happen to be dining in the same place simply because we are acquainted with them. While it was nice (and socially correct) of them to offer, politely declining is also perfectly acceptable. And by politely declining, the Answer Lady doesn’t mean we laugh out loud and say, “Hell, no!” It means we say something like, “Oh, this book is such a page-turner, and I’m halfway through my sandwich. Please enjoy your guests and I’ll catch up with you some other time.”