I once saw a guy take a lemon wedge off the plate provided and begin to squeeze the lemon so that the juice would go into his iced tea. As he cranked down on that wedge one of the lemon seeds popped out of the lemon, travelling at the speed of light, and hit his date smack on the middle of her right breast.
Mortified, this poor guy dropped the wedge into his glass, which overflowed for a minute onto the table, popped up to help his date without pulling his chair from the table which unsettled the table. As the table started to topple, and the beverages spilled, he reached out to right the table and straightened his legs, which forced his chair to fall over in the middle of the restaurant.
His face was crimson, his hands were shaking, there was iced tea on the tablecloth and his date was sitting with a look of amused disdain. Thank heavens he didn’t try to wipe the seed off her breast!
All the above could have been prevented with just a little etiquette tip that I will share with you now. The rest of this article will deal with other pesky problems you could encounter on a date, or anytime you’re dining. Read on and be warned. It’s always the little things that get you!
- Lemon Wedges
When lemon wedges are provided for iced tea, fish, water or anything, and the wedge is not wrapped in net (finer restaurants usually wrap the wedge for fish and entrees), here’s what you do:
If the lemon comes on a plate, you take it off of the plate with your fingers. Hold the wedge in one hand, the hand you will squeeze it with, and cup the wedge with your other hand so that nothing can squirt out. This is a two-hand job!
When you are finished squeezing you can either put the used wedge back on the plate it came on or put it in your beverage. I personally prefer to put it in the beverage since a squished wedge is unappealing and just sits there looking abused. What a way to send a message to your date!
If a plate was not provided and the tea showed up with a wedge on the side, you would leave it on the side or drop it in the glass.
Let’s say you hate lemon and don’t want it, even though it’s hanging on the side of your glass or floating on the top of your beverage. Take it off the glass and put it on your bread plate or the side of your dinner plate. Never put the lemon right on the table.
If the lemon came in the glass floating on the top and you don’t want it, use a fork to fish it out and then put it on your plate. Don’t use your fingers to fish around in your beverage.
- Some Points on Butter
What to do with the wrapper if the butter comes in one?
You take the wrapper off the butter with your fingers. Wipe it off the wrapper with your knife and place the butter either on the bread plate or the side of your dinner plate. Fold the little wrapper up with the messy side in, and slide it under the side of your plate. This way no one will see it and it won’t stain the tablecloth or get on anything.
Where to put the butter on your plate?
Usually you place the butter on the small bread plate that sits to the left of your dinner plate. If there isn’t a bread plate provided then put it on the side of your dinner or salad plate. Place the butter up on the top area of your plate so that you don’t accidentally get it on your sleeve. You would never take butter from the butter dish more than once as it goes around, so take a tiny bit more than you think you need. Whatever you don’t use can be left on the side of your plate.
What knife do you use for the butter, the one on the butter plate or your bread knife?
If there is a little butter knife provided, use that to take the butter off the main butter dish if that is how they serve the butter. If there is a little knife with the butter, use that and lastly use your bread knife, but only if it doesn’t already have food on it. You don’t want to use a used utensil in any passed food.
- Sugar and Sweetener Packets
After you’ve used the contents, where do you put the wrapper or garbage?
Don’t rip the top all the way off the packet. This way there is only one piece to deal with instead of all these little pieces of paper floating around.
Next, fold this packet down to a smaller size. Don’t wad it up like a spitball and don’t throw it into the potted plant sitting a challenging distance away. Remember you are on a date!
After you have it folded up, slide it under the corner of your plate on the side closest to you so your date doesn’t notice or see it. It will remain there out of sight until the waiter clears your place and then he or she can pick it up and whisk it away!
These three items, lemon wedges, butter and sugar packets, are some of the most common for mistakes. You won’t have a problem with them since you are now socially savvy when it comes to some of those pesky and sticky situations surrounding dining and dating!
Best of luck on your dating success!