Weekend Pondery
Posted by aogSaturday, 09 June 2007 at 11:25 TrackBack Ping URL

Writing here has been slow, because of demands at work and what little mental energy is left has been absorbed by the post that turned in to a debate on the immigration legislation.

On top of that, I realized our crew hadn’t had a good gender based debate for a while, so here’s one to start with. When SWIPIAW and I go out for lunch, we have storngly differing opinions on how seating should be arranged. She likes to have me sit next to her, while I prefer to sit across the table from her. She likes the physical closeness, I like looking at her instead of a wall or some other dining companion. Who’s right?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
cjm Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 12:40

bring a mirror, and set it across from your wife (and you sit next to her) :)

put me down in the “sit across” column

erp Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 12:44

Sit across works best for me too. Unless there are more than two at the table, then I like sitting next to the big guy.

David Cohen Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 13:20

This may not be gender based at all, because I agree with She. First, if she’s PIAW then she’s PIAW. What’s the sense of fighting it.

Second, if you go out with another couple, you’ll fall naturally into man/woman/man/woman, which is clearly correct.

Third, it depends upon the restaurant, the noise, the table and the occasion, but next to each other is simply more cozy.

Michael Herdegen Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 15:16

SWIPIAW is correct, if the situation permits, as David writes in “Third”.

More importantly, it seems as though this might be an area in which you can make your wife happy at little cost to yourself. Not no cost, but little enough.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 18:53

I should have known you’d all side with her, just like my parents.

Andrea Harris Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 20:23

I don’t. I like to sit across from someone. For one thing, I like to face someone I’m talking to. Even if it was someone I’d lived with for years. For another thing, two people sitting squashed next to each other at a table with no one on the other side violates my sense of symmetry. And finally, I need a lot of space — for my big butt, my purse, my jacket, umbrella, and also the ten inches of free air I need around me at all times. I don’t like to sit next to anyone, really — if I wanted to be “cozy” I’d have stayed at home and wrapped myself in my nice soft throw. (Also, I don’t much care for people being “cozy” with each other in public. All you affectionate couples, please go home to spoon. Public places need a slightly more formal behavior. That’s how I was brought up.)

Gideon Saturday, 09 June 2007 at 23:52

[From IMDB] In Murder by Death (1976) upon noticing that he is incorrectly seated next to his own wife, Dick Charleston (David Niven) asks to switch places with Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) who is across from him. An instant after they both stand up, two rapiers fall from the ceiling to bury themselves in the gentlemen’s chairs. “Just as I thought, another test that could have cost us our lives, saved only by the fact that I am ENORMOUSLY well-bred.”

Ali Choudhury Monday, 11 June 2007 at 05:15

Next to you, that way when you’re day-dreaming, she won’t notice.

Brit Monday, 11 June 2007 at 07:39

Isn’t sitting opposite each other very obviously preferable? How odd to want to sit next to each other - I blame TV dinners for that and many other societal perversions.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 11 June 2007 at 08:21

I received a clarification on this yesterday, in that the rule is

  • If it’s just two, sit across
  • If more than two, sit next to

Why the presence of others make physical proximity more desirable wasn’t explained to me, but blaming TV dinners makes a lot of sense.

Michael Herdegen Monday, 11 June 2007 at 08:53

Isn’t sitting opposite each other very obviously preferable?

No. That’s why we’re having this conversation in the first place.

David Cohen Monday, 11 June 2007 at 09:34

Brit: And yet, when we went to dinner, you and Mrs. Brit sat side-by-side.

erp Monday, 11 June 2007 at 09:53

Duh? That was because the rule of more than two at the table was in effect. This rule is necessary because then we girls don’t have to sit next to someone else’s husband/boyfriend who may or may not have mastered the art of polite dining.

Michael Herdegen Monday, 11 June 2007 at 10:18

I rather think that that’s the rule because men didn’t want their women being pressed up against other men, back when people cared about such things.

Brit Monday, 11 June 2007 at 10:53

It wasn’t clear before - I thought Mrs Old Guy was advocating side-by-side when it was just the two of them. Her actual rule is fine.

Glad we’ve got this important and emotive topic cleared up.

Peter Burnet Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 07:02

I’m surprised no one has raised the issue of class here. I remember being told you could tell the class of two couples by the way they sat in a car. Middle-class couples sit with their spouses, upper class couples with each other’s spouses and working class couples segregate by gender.

Maybe it’s the same here. Middle class couples sit beside their spouses and upper class beside the other’s spouse. Working class guys leave their wives at home and go out by themselves to the sports bar.

cjm Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 09:06

keep in mind that upper class couples are inveterate swingers.

Peter Burnet Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 10:11

We are? Damn!

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 11:08

I don’t think you qualify as “upper class”.

Peter Burnet Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 13:18

There goes your invitation to the chateau.

joe shropshire Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 17:44

I Just hope AOG realizes that “chateau” is Canuck for “outhouse.”

David Cohen Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 21:15

You people are all sexists.

David Cohen Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 21:15

Just like the Nazis.

Peter Burnet Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 22:05

Sure we are, but only objectively, not subjectively, so that’s ok.

:Michael Herdegen Tuesday, 12 June 2007 at 23:54

I can understand sitting next to other peoples’ spouses at a dinner party, to attempt to maximize interesting exchanges, but if it’s just two couples sharing a car, why on Earth would the couples swap spouses ?

That’s being “well-bred ad absurdum”.

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