Sunday, November 29

Etiquette with Hetty Kwett

- June 2, 2012

Our columnist solves your social behaviour problems. This week: rules of dating

Dear Hetty,
I recently became divorced after 41 years of marriage. I have joined an “online” dating agency, and next week I’m due to have a “date” with a woman called Julie at a restaurant up in London. Now, I’m a bit out of practice at the “dating game”, and the last time I took a young woman out to eat at a posh restaurant was… well, let’s just say it was a long time ago! So basically I’m a bit rusty, and I wanted to know if “restaurant etiquette” has changed at all in the last four decades.

Should I open the door for Julie? Should I pull out her chair for her? Should I order the wine, and should I pay for the meal? (or is that not the done thing in these days of women’s lib?!) Please help, as I really want this to go well, and don’t want to ruin everything by doing the wrong thing.
Donald McRonald , Aldrington

Dear Donald,
I’m pleased to tell you that the rules of restaurant dating etiquette are as unchanging as the seasons. They are a simple list of Dos and Don’ts that will guarantee a splendid time for all. Just follow these and you can’t fail.

DO arrive at least four hours early.
DO wear a suit and dicky-bow and, if you have one, a cummerbund.
DO agree on some sort of accessory, so your date can pick you out. I recommend a white carnation, Hitler moustache, or a large Spanish onion held between the knees.
DO carry a volume of poetry with you, as this will convince your date you are a man of sensitivity and taste. Nothing too soppy though – Kipling should do the trick.
DO greet your date with a firm, manly handshake.
ALWAYS open the door for your date, carry her to the table and place her on the chair.
DO order food and wine for both of you, ignoring any protest your date may make.
ALWAYS speak to the waiter in an aggressive tone of voice, addressing him as “sunshine.” This will ensure good service and impress upon your date that you are a man to be reckoned with.
CONVERSATION during the meal should be limited to the weather or the food you’re eating. NEVER converse about religion, politics, or personal taste in matters such as music or art.
IF you are about to relate an anecdote, clear your throat loudly for 30 or 40 seconds to ensure your companion is listening.
When dessert is finished IMMEDIATELY demand the bill, and scrutinise it closely, pointing out any perceived discrepancies before paying with bad grace. NEVER allow the woman to pay.
ONCE the meal is over, carry the woman from her seat to the pavement, give her another firm, manly handshake before melting into the night without a word. Then go home and wait for her to call to arrange another get-together.
So there you go, it couldn’t be simpler.. Hope this has been of help, and good luck!
Hetty Kwett XXX




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