What perform restaurant staffers think of couples that “side-sit” in a booth or banquette? —Patrick B., St. Louis

Perhaps the questioner is a Curb Your Enthusiasm fan, as ever-offending curmudgeon Larry David side-sat beside his ex-wife, Cheryl, in a current episode. Larry was fine with it, while Cheryl considered it “a small close” and “too intimate.”

It’s a legit question, specifically as it’s Valentine’s Day and there’s apt to be a lot of side-sitting arising tonight, probably even “an epidemic,” as David explained the preponderance of wobbly restaurant tables in the same episode.

You are watching: Why do couples sit on the same side of the booth

To properly analyze the instance, take into consideration the 3 subsets of side-sitting:

Back-sitting: When a pair sits on the wall side of a banquette, facing out.

Side-sitting:  Larry David’s interpretation, i.e., when one guest is at the ago of the banquette and also the other guest pulls his/her chair around to sit alongside them.

Side-by-side–sitting: When a couple sits on the same side of a booth, facing the same method.

One post addressing “dating’s biggest quandary” states that “side-by-side is all about romance. Face-to-face all about conversation.” But face-to-challenge have the right to likewise be even more intimate, as couples gaze into one another’s eyes. Others believe that “when you hit the teenager years, it"s time to sit on opposite sides of the booth, as grown-ups execute.” Tright here are those who firmly insist on numerous elbow room once eating. And it goes without saying that first-day side-sitting is never a great idea. 

We additionally queried a couple of restaurateurs on the topic, that, in turn, queried their restaurants" servers. Clat an early stage, such unorthodoxy provides some servers pause. Among the printable comments: 

"It"s weird." "It leads to PDAs and touchy feely stuff in the restaurant."  "Very awkward, specifically in a booth."  "It’s fine if they are watching a game or something."  "In 2020, it’s socially weird."  "It doesn’t bvarious other me, but I don’t understand why they execute it.” Tright here are additionally those who contend that “same-siders” take much longer to eat.

Picture by Suzy Gorman


As an occasional participant, I deserve to partially safeguard the practice. Normally, I contend that diners should not have to sit across from each various other all the time. When couples are seated at a table wright here there’s a view, it’s not unreasonable for them to both challenge the watch. (On Bar Les Frere’s terraced patio, for instance, the bistro chairs are inserted at a slight angle, so both guests partly challenge each various other and also the street.) Similarly, as soon as couples are seated at a four-height, it’s permissible (also preferred) that they “share a corner” and also sit at a 90-degree angle from one another.

In the instance of back-sitting, if one guest at a banquette is forced to challenge an unadorned wall and also if there’s room to back-sit without rubbing shoulders with your neighbor and also there"s room at the table for correct service, I take no problem. But when a couple is seated at a deuce and also chooses to back sit, comfort, convenience, and also company drops apart—for everyone nearby—and also must therefore be avoided. 

Regarding Larry David-esque side-sitting, I vote no. Moving a chair into a business aisle is problematic, and also sitting with one’s earlier to one table while facing guests at an additional is just simple boorish—but incredibly Larry David.

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Regarding side-by-side booth sitting, there need to be no objection. Often, the reason is a sporting occasion (once a TV have the right to ideal be viewed from one side). No one is being inconvenienced, conversation is simpler at that array, sharing food is less complicated, and also, last but not least, doing so ups the intimacy level. Whispering is permitted; snickering is acceptable; PDAs are not. Feeding each various other food borders on the latter. And as the guys in blue say, "save your hands wright here we can watch them.”

So must you and your dining companion select to side-sit tonight and also encounter someone’s stink eye, don’t incriminate me. Blame L.D. 

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George Mahe

Mahe is St. Louis Magazine"s dining editor. Like this story? Want to share various other feedback? Send Mahe an e-mail at gmahe