Why you should care
Because being two feet apart isn’t the end of the world.
Are you that couple? The lovers who can’t bear the burden of sitting more than six inches apart? The twosome who treats a restaurant booth like a park bench? Well, we have some bad news for you: One of you is sitting on the wrong side of the table.
We love love — we swear! But you’re out to eat, not sitting on some panel. That’s why we’re proposing a ban, effective immediately: Restaurants should bar couples from sitting on the same side of the table. If you don’t believe that such couples are a scourge, let it be known that the Internet has already given them a gross nickname: same-siders.
Most diners just want to eat in peace, sans your nuzzling and dopey looks as entertainment, and they don’t want to conjecture about what is happening under the table, either. Darron Cardosa, a veteran waiter at a cozy neighborhood restaurant in Queens and the author of The Bitchy Waiter, suspects that same-siders must be so “severely codependent” that “all their friends dislike them.” Or maybe, he says via email, it’s some creepy jealousy thing, a way to say “Back off, bitches, he’s mine.” To which we reply: Please, same-siders, leave your possessive behavior at home. Or in middle school.
Some restaurants already ban children, fearing they’ll destroy the ambiance. The same logic should apply to same-siders. Restaurants that condone such behavior might take a financial hit for it, says Austin Ferrari, the co-owner of San Francisco’s Hillside Supper Club. Those who use mealtime as snuggle time tend to order less food and take longer to eat. They also can be a pain for waitstaff — all that maneuvering around limited space. If one of the pair is left-handed and the other right-handed, “forget about it,” says Ferrari.
Not everyone thinks sidling up is such a blight, of course. Dan Post of the Emily Post Institute (and great-great-grandson of the famous etiquette commentator) argues that couples who sit next to each other are in “good shape.” FWIW, even we would make an exception for cute elderly couples. Steve Dublanica, the formerly anonymous writer behind the infamous blog Waiter Rant, tells us to get over our “ridiculous, crazy boundaries.” Lovey-dovey seating arrangements come from the French, he says, and Americans who object just need to chillax. It’s “weird” that you can do all these “things” in the bedroom, he says, but that you’re supposed to stay at arm’s length in public.
Our point exactly: Get a room, same-siders. And if you’re that desperate to sit side-by-side in public, fine. But another couple gets to be paired across from you, so that you may get a taste of your own medicine.
Is this making you feel self-conscious for sitting on the same side as your lover? Let us know.