The art of manliness – Dining Etiquette & Rules

March 2, 2016

Please read and if possible read again the night before at least 3 times – I don’t want to mention names, but we all know who they are….so these are the rules.

Follow the dress code as requested on the invitation. If it’s not mentioned conduct investigations on the restaurant…is it fine dinning or just a fill up the tank place? If it’s fine dining wear a combo i.e dark suit and grey pants…a tie is not necessary. But a pocket square is. If you find that the host is not wearing a suit, hand it over to the maître de, he will know what to do with it…as if you have just come from a meeting.

Always plan your trip so that you arrive at least 10 minutes early. Never be late! You can be early, but never late…if you arrive early in a fine dinning restaurant, never go the table even if the waiter has your name on the reservation list…proceed to the bar and order a glass of free water. I will elaborate on the importance of this point later.

It is proper to bring a small gift for the hostess that she is not obliged to use that very evening. Gifts such as flowers can be misconstrued, unless it is to a older woman. Avoid plastic flowers. Chocolates wrapped is the safest….bring also a bottle of wine.

Do not go for traditional white or reds. As your host and hostess will judge you on the quality along with avoiding the complications of whether red or white meat will be served. If you want to do that and incur cancer of the wallet – then at least have the courtesy to go for a reserva level wine.

Otherwise stick to safe bets like Rose and Chianti. In a fine dinning restaurant hand it to the maître de to be chilled. Never to the hostess…that is very rude as the communication is between the maître de and hostess ONLY. So he will convey that info…as the hostess may have already planned the wine selection. By doing this, you give her full power over how she wants the meal to go without imposing the obligation for your wine to be served. No need to remind the hostess of your gift – that is not only rides, it’s cheap….that’s automatic in all fine dinning restaurants.

Only when the host or hostess arrives do you get up and greet them – if it’s a couple. Greet the woman first, usually I like to start with a little joke such as, ‘finally, I get to see his better half.’ That sort of thing. Let the host or hostess lead you with the maître de to the table – do not sit till the host/hostess asks you to do so. As in fine dinning parties, when there are no name cards, wait until the host indicates where you should sit. The seating will typically be man-woman-man-woman with the women seated to the right of the men…even if they plonk you next to two metric internal beauty. You have no choice. You must sit!

An aperitif may be served before dinner as a salut for the gathering – not wine. Do not clink aperitif glasses with others – they will think you only regularly consume ABC stout all the time. Just raise it to the level of eye followed by a curt bow and repeat whatever the hostess says, usually it’s salut, cin cin – you are not supposed to gulp it all down a la down the hatch like a shot of vodka. No one does that – it’s an appetizer and may remain there thru out the entire sitting only to be sipped!

It also suggest the hostess wants the dinner guest to introduce themselves first. Talk only to those who are to your left or right…but never both at the same time. Never talk across the table or in between the person seated next to you…if anyone tries just smile and raise your glass and return back to your conversation with the two metric ton internal beauty – it’s rude to talk about controversial subjects. Usually for women. They can talk to themselves automatically once you wind them up…meanwhile to pretend to be deeply interested just play mental Soduku – this will usually create the expression necessary to come across as fully engaged in a very compelling conversation. Focus on the space between the eyes – as this creates a distant look and that way you will not come across as a suicide bomber – never request for more wine to be poured, it’s automatic – if you do that everyone will think you are a lorry driver who just won the Hong Bao big sweep….the rule is if you do not want more wine, leave it at that level. If you want more…just drink. Pouring is automatic.

Eating is very complicated…so I will cover that in another section.

After a formal dinner party, a physical thank you note should be sent to the hostess with a bouquet of flowers.

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