I, too, was raised to (what was then considered) standard social etiquette. I was not only allowed, but expected to function in those circles. Naturally, my parents guided me in selections - but I was then responsible to communicate with the wait staff, and to behave appropriately during the meal.
I would never have DREAMED of rising from the table or disrupting the meal while others were still at table.
I was raised to be polite to the servers.
I was expected to learn what utensils were correctly used - and if I didn't know, to observe first and ask if I couldn't work it out.
I knew what correct "service" was from the wait staff... which even the wait staff doesn't know these days!
I was not allowed to entertain myself with toys or coloring books or stuffed animals and blankies from home.
I was expected to either converse politely or to be silent (not sullen).
I did not find any of this onerous.
I was saddened, if not appalled, when my husband's nephews were invited to holiday meals in "nice" restaurants (ie, not a cafeteria or fast food), because they didn't even know what a menu *was*, much less how to use it, or what the items listed were. They weren't babies - they were young teens. No, their parents' financial situation didn't stretch to cover expensive meals out, especially with growing and hungry boys! But I find no excuse in that for not teaching them how to function in a "regular" restaurant (I'm not talking the especially "high end" sorts - something like Red Lobster, perhaps). They had no idea how to eat, what to use, how to interact with the servers... how to behave during the meal, what to do with your finished course plates and silverware... I was embarrassed for them - as future men, how could they possibly expect to host a date (which you would assume would be someone they'd like to be appreciated by) with no concept of how to even arrange a dinner out?
I have no children, and so my offerings here are both inadequate and probably out of date. I don't think they're invalid, though... and I hope parents will provide this sort of education to their children so that they might have the respect of others later in life.
...the problem with people these days is
they've forgotten we're really just animals ...
We did not create the web of life; we are but a strand in it.
~attributed to Chief Seattle
We don't have souls. We ARE souls. We have bodies.
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