Snippets of Etiquette

A few weeks ago I attended an etiquette dinner. When I told my friends, I received either "I've already been to too many etiquette dinners in my life" (this friend hails from the South) and "Is that where they teach you how to use a spoon?" Me to the latter: "Please don't come if that's your attitude."

Anyhow, I will never deny free food and you never know when you'll be dining with an interviewer who's testing how you break your bread (use your hands, not a knife! Did you know that?). Also, I instinctively knew this would make for a snarky blog.

I sat with several friends – ones who had never attended etiquette dinners before (*sigh* northerners) and who had higher expectations than learning how to use a spoon (watchBeauty and the Beast). We were also joined by the Luna Lovegood of the room aka no one knew her and she wore Barbie shoe earrings. Like, actual shoes that belong on a Barbie doll.

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The Antithesis of the Megaphone of Media: Social Media

I suspect that social media is popular because it gives everyone a form of expression, regardless of what platform(s) you decide to use. If you're a shutterbug, you've got Instie to play on, if you have half baked quips, you can tweet your heart out, and if you like collecting people, there's Facebook. But what's even better is that every now and then, people take a few moments from self-promotion to respond to other's people inane thoughts. The inspiration of this statement was my dining experience this week. As some of you may remember, I've been fine-dining in jeans and a t-shirt before, so it shouldn't be that shocking that I'd decide to go out to dinner immediately after working out. But then there's a wait, and my two roommates leave me by myself to go pick up one of their credit cards. So now I'm looking slumpy AND alone.

So I take out my phone to look busy, and decide to tweet, "Alone and sweaty @CapitalAleHouse. #LifeIsGood #rva."

Then I put my phone away and people watch a bit. My roommates make it back, and we eventually get a table. We dine on $2 burgers and ginger ale (okay, so the ginger ale was only me). And then we go home.

I hop back on Twitter, like I do most nights before bed. AND THEN I NOTICED THAT CAP ALE RETWEETED AND FAVORITED MY TWEET! Lawd, I was cracking up. I tag people constantly in tweets, and everyone ignores me. Except for the one time I tweet something minimally embarrassing and rather silly. Being listened to is fun.

And I would go as far to say I'm not the only one that thinks so. Part of my job is monitoring our social media accounts, so I run searches multiple times a day with various spellings of our names. And I respond to people that are talking to us or about us. And it usually catches people off guard, and I love it. Most of the time, people appreciate it, but every now and then people are just complaining and not actually looking to engage in conversation with me.

But let's focus on the good: people genuinely seem excited when I reply, favorite or retweet them. They thank me for listening, they throw us a follow, or shout us out. And I like it because it's content I don't have to produce. So let's do that more often: listen. There's a lot of good stuff happening on social media, if only we all actually listened to each other.

My Experience of Fine Dining

So this week is "Richmond Restaurant Week," which means that a bunch of restaurants make a three course meal for $25. So, naturally, I'm there. Since my roommates and I are all really indecisive, I enlist a coworker to select the best restaurant on the list for us. He immediately picks one, and I see there's salmon on the menu, so it's a done deal. My roommate and I set out for our bargain meal.

I'm wearing black jeans, a striped black t-shirt and a cardigan. My roommate has an orange t-shirt and jeans on. "Should I put something nicer on?" She asks before we leave. I'm starving so I say, "Nah, we're fine."

Lesson #1: never let me decide what's an appropriate outfit.

We get there and a girl is standing outside in a little black dress and high heels. Her boyfriend/side salad/ random man she took to dinner is in black dress slacks, button up and a tie. We paused outside contemplating if we should go in. Then a lady with a blazer and jeans head in, so we sack up and enter.

Lesson #2: don't follow the one person's lead who is wearing jeans.

Every patron looks like they belong to a country club. Since we already arrived, we went up to the hostess, who says "Do you have a reservation?"

Lesson #3: make reservations.

We don't, but lucky for us, there's a tiny table in the tiny bar area behind a pole. It must be reserved for the degenerates that wander in during restaurant week.

We sit down, minimally embarrassed about our pathetic attire and decorum, until the waiter comes over to remove our menus to lay out the white table cloth, which really highlighted how out of our element we are.

So then the waiter speaks. Not only is this an uuber fancy Italian restaurant, but apparently it only hires real Italian people. Accent required.

My roommate orders wine, so naturally I don't want to be that girl, wearing jeans in a white napkin establishment and order only water. Even me trying to order wine was like the first time I've ever drank before.

"Uhh do you have anything like a Pinot Grigio?"

"Yes, we have a Pinot."

Of course they do, they're a fancy Italian restaurant.

So you'd think that would be the end of the ordeal, and you'd be wrong. My roommate was telling me about how her work friends are doing something at Maggianos, the chain Italian place I love because they give you a whole new entree to bring home with you, and different waiter stops and goes,

Maggianos?! That place is like McDonalds!

Lesson #4: the restaurant you go to as a treat to yourself may be the restaurant someone else goes to where they're slumming it.