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Must You Do That? A Simple List of Manners

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Dining out is something we all love to do. I would have a hard time imagining the reader of this blog who is an exception.

My manners, at least when I'm at home, fly pretty fast and loose. Get it? I fart at the table. So what, who cares? When I'm in public, though, I tend to try to turn up the etiquette just ever so slightly.

Things like chewing with your mouth completely full of food whilst simultaneously pontificating upon Darfur is off-color in every possible way. I only say this because I once saw a guy doing this at a Quizno's, and I thought the same thing you are thinking right now: Quizno's sucks. You are right. Also: That guy is a fucking asshole. Also right.

There are very simple things you can do to avoid affronting the finer sentiments of your dining companions or host. Here is an easy list of five things you can do to stay off everybody's shit list when dining out.

1. Say "Please" and "Thank You."

I don't care who it is or where you are. In life, things are so much easier when you just adhere to some basic principals of politeness. I'm not saying you have to let every dickhead in a minivan into your lane every time you are driving, but these three words can get you pretty far in life. At a friend's house? At work? At the car wash? All good times to let someone know you are appreciative.

And at restaurants, more often than not you are sitting on your ass and someone else is doing everything for you. That's why you are out at a restaurant -- you are too lazy to prepare food and would rather just skip that step completely, getting right into the putting-of-food-into-your-mouth part. It's a great part.

That being said, people work very hard to get that food into your dumb mouth, so the least you can do is say "please," and fucking "thank you," whenever it's appropriate. In fact, when I dine with people who do not do this, it irks me, because it's such a simple and easy thing to do, which brings me to my next point.

2. Do Not Be a Dick to Your Waiter.

Seriously. Don't.

Atticus Finch once told Scout that you "... never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

Imagine, seriously, what they do for a living. No, it's not aerodynamics or neuroscience, but a waiter is a necessary and vital cog in the wheel of the food service industry, an industry that provides a job and identity for millions of Americans. Being a dick to a waiter is just about the lowest on my totem pole of behavior. It's disrespectful, abrasive and totally uncalled for.

I once saw a group of ladies-who-were-lunching absolutely destroy this young man waiting on them. He'd gotten their entire order right, and he hadn't written anything down, either. I can't remember what I did with my car key every morning, let alone seven orders with special requests.

Yet, he'd forgotten one extra side of salad dressing, or something dumb that could have easily been asked for. They just roasted him over the coals for it, as well as called over his manager to complain of the lack of service.

Just ask the dude for a side of dressing and move on.

3. Try New Things.

I'm not saying you have to go around acting like a certain bald, glistening, bespectacled television show host. You do not have to insist on eating testicles, anuses, rectums, placenta or intestines, if you don't want to.

That's totally fine. I don't eat testicles, anuses, rectums, placenta or intestines either, really. When I was a kid, all I ever wanted to eat was green beans with ketchup, hamburgers with only meat and bread, and Coke.

As I've gotten older, my tastes have changed, though. I also began to realize that turning up my nose at new things can be offensive. If someone offers you something, or makes a recommendation, try it. Be it at a restaurant, a potluck, dinner party or even at home-- someone made something for you. Don't be rude about it.

Variety is indeed the spice of life. There is more to Asian cuisine than egg rolls, fried rice or California rolls. Try something new. You just might like it, but if you don't, at least now you have something to bitch about in the comments section later.

4. Don't Ironically Eat at Places like Olive Garden or Red Lobster.

You end up sounding pretentious and dick-headed and it's never as fun as it seems. Just leave them off the list, because they are shitty and you know they are shitty. Some people like to eat there, and this is America, dammit. If they want to eat fried cheese and popcorn shrimp or endless crab legs, it's their Constitutional right. And now that I think about it, that sounds pretty good.

America, dammit.

5. Enjoy Yourself.

Nobody likes a Negative Nancy when they're eating. If something sucks, well, then, sorry. Move on. Most things in life suck, so just be happy you have the opportunity to even enjoy what you can. There are tons and tons of little kids around the world that would love to be a foodie. They are called starving children. So, have a little perspective the next time your burger is just slightly over-cooked.

That's what I think, anyway. Maybe you think something totally different. Tell me what it is in the comments section.

Manners are subjective and often strange, depending on where you are. Be polite, say "thank you" and always eat what's offered. Those things are standard.

Also, Quizno's is where sandwiches go to die. I love sandwiches. I hate Quizno's.

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