Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Table Etiquette?

I'm leaving happy hour with my boss and co-workers. And while I would like to go into what we talked about and give an interesting remark on having cocktails with a bunch of grown, white men, I'm not going to because of something that happened that I must mention.

So we're in the restaurant talking, tossing around jokes, laughing hysterically at each other, even though the jokes are not that funny (isn't that how these things go?) and I announce that I need to get going. I slip my jacket on and grab my purse with the intention of jetting for the metro. I start to rise from my seat and not even a millisecond later, the rest of the men start to get up as well. Worried that I was leaving too early to be the new girl, I was relieved. 'Ok, good. We're all leaving', I thought to myself. It didn't take long for me to realize that I was wrong because as soon as they were standing, they were sitting down again. I almost paused out of confusion but somehow at that very instant, I recalled the movie scene I've seen so many times before where old English gentlemen stand as women arrive to and depart from tables. Acting unaffected, I kept on walking towards the restaurant door. (Thank goodness for my movie watching memory and the vague recall of someone teaching me about this in a general session on basic table etiquette. Otherwise I would have stood there staring at an idiot.)

I've been thinking about what happened for the last 5 minutes and something about it leaves me impressed, sad and confused at the same time. So as I stand here in the metro typing this into my iPhone, important questions come to mind. Why is this the first time this has ever happened to me? Is what my co-workers did basic table etiquette that men I've been around my whole life do not practice? Is this a color/culture thing? What does it say that this is even an issue to me? What does it say that I almost fell into idiot mode due to ignorance towards a proper dining etiquette gesture? I mean, to be honest, I'm a little embarrassed that this black girl right here was totally unaware as to why 3 guys would stand with me and then sit back down whilst departing a table. What say you? Am I blowing this out of proportion? Should this not be a strange thing to me?

But man…what just happened was oh so VERY strange.


MJ said...

Wow... I am stunned... Just found this:

"Whenever a woman leaves the table or returns to sit, all men seated with her should stand up."

Taken from:

I never knew this... Interesting

miss alisa said...

I learned this in finishing school, when I was a debutante. Although I know it to be the proper thing to do, I have never ever been in a situation where anyone actually did it.

Thank you for posting this... It reminded me that I need to go home and teach my son that this is the proper way to behave.

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