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Dec 2, 2013 07:26 AM

"Dear Abby: I eat my dessert first.

(Dec 2 column) Am I being rude?" Abby says yes, I say no, charmingly eccentric. What do you think?

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  1. As long as it isn't a problem for the restaurant's kitchen, I don't see a problem. Why should the comfort of the dining companions outweigh the comfort of the letter writer? My only advice for the letter writer is maybe refrain from doing this at business meals or meals with coworkers. Would be a shame to affected his/her employment opportunities because of this.

    9 Replies
    1. re: viperlush

      Here is a link to the 12/2 Dear Abby. The meal in question is during a work setting.

      Context is really important. I agree that dessert first would most likely affect career opportunities.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        Thanks for posting the link, which I am too dumb to do. And sorry if my condensed version shorted context. I'm not sure *why* this should affect career prospects, but I have never been a careerist.

        1. re: mwhitmore

          But if you had posted the link I wouldn't have had to search through all Dear Abby letters before responding and would have missed the "the best man in my upcoming wedding is accused of murdering his wife... what do I do?" letter.

          She could have done much better by mentioning how it might affect the career and leaving out the making companions uncomfortable.

          1. re: viperlush

            And what was the answer???enquiring minds need to know

            1. re: Kalivs

              that WAS a good one. Kalivs: on reflection I concluded a careful seating arrangement at the reception, not buffet with open seating for THAT party.

              1. re: Kalivs

                I have been dying of suspense. Surely the high point of this thread.

                1. re: Kalivs

                  I googled and found the answer- she said not to have him as a best man because it would draw attention away from the bride and groom who should be the centre of attention. However, continue to have him as a guest as he is innocent until proven guilty.

                  Hope it's not an open bar.

                  1. re: salsailsa

                    And allow him to eat dessert any time he god-damned feels like it.

            2. re: Miss Needle

              Thank you! What a difference context makes (which is why I asked)! Agreed with your assessment.

          2. I don't think it is rude either, particularly in a restaurant setting where you're not inconveniencing your host. OTOH, I'd be somewhat flexible if you're dining with colleagues and it is a huge deal to them. You can always scarf down a donut before your meal if you really need a sweet fix.

            1. Why should they care what he eats first? Thought Abby was wrong.

              2 Replies
              1. Was the setting a party where the person asking was a guest or in a restaurant where the person ordering can have whatever they like and pay for?

                1 Reply
                1. re: HillJ

                  Restaurant only, letter writer doesn't do this as a guest in a home.

                2. When I dine out with companions, we often share tastes of our food. I don't think I'd like to alternate a bite of monkfish with a bite of hazelnut gelato. And I assume the letter-writer eventually gets an entree, at the time when everyone else at the table is having dessert. I don't think I'd like to smell steak while I'm eating cake. So I wouldn't be thrilled to sit at a restaurant table with this person, especially since Sweet Tooth's explanation for the behavior is that "because I wasn’t allowed to do it as a child, I swore that when I was an adult, I’d eat my food in any order I wanted." This makes me wonder what else s/he insists on doing just because mommy used to forbid it.

                  15 Replies
                  1. re: small h

                    My impression is that she was eating a hot fudge sundae while everyone else was eating salad or app, then getting main courses simultaneously. So, not disruptive of the meal pattern. To me, it is about others dictating what/when she can eat.

                    1. re: mwhitmore

                      Even with the writer taking the time to explain why she eats this way (wasn't allowed to as a younger person) I think calling attention to yourself in a work situation (business meal) is tricky enough. I can foresee some eye rolling by others at the table. I would go with the majority in a work setting unless the entire atmosphere was super relaxed. If she's writing to Dear Abby, I'd surmise the atmosphere was not.

                      If you succeed at noting the tension but fail to accommodate it, you take the risk.

                      1. re: mwhitmore

                        I don't think it's "others" who are dictating. It's convention. You can choose to not follow convention, in which case you have to put up with people thinking you're unconventional. With close friends and family, that's not particularly risky - they'll probably just think you're charmingly offbeat. But with acquaintances or professional colleagues, it signals that your behavior is unpredictable. Which might be a problem.

                        1. re: small h

                          Fair enough. Odd behavior by rich person? Eccentric. Odd behavior by poor person? Crazy!

                          1. re: mwhitmore

                            Oh I'd don't think it's either. Eccentric or crazy.
                            It's about professional social cues. The writer acknowledged her dilemma, she just decided to ignore it and order dessert.

                          2. re: small h

                            Sure, but we're talking about convention related to dessert. I mean, that's fun unconventional.

                        2. re: small h

                          So, if the table next to you is having their steak while you're eating dessert, that's also a problem?

                          I also understand that it's your thing, but I never, ever order my food with the caveat that everyone else at the table will be taking bites and to order accordingly.

                          1. re: Violatp

                            <So, if the table next to you is having their steak while you're eating dessert, that's also a problem?>

                            It might be, but my opinion of their behavior has no effect on them. However, my opinion of a dining companion's behavior, especially if I am said dining companion's boss, might well have an effect on him or her.

                            <I never, ever order my food with the caveat that everyone else at the table will be taking bites and to order accordingly.>

                            Yes, people are different. For instance, I never, ever care if someone brings wine to my house and expects to drink it right then. I also never, ever care if a server greets my table with "hey, guys." And I never, ever care whether the other patrons of a restaurant are what I consider to be properly dressed. But I understand that other people care quite a bit about these things. That's why Dear Abby exists.

                          2. re: small h

                            "because I wasn’t allowed to do it as a child, I swore that when I was an adult, I’d eat my food in any order I wanted."
                            As a child I was not allowed to torture kittens, push old ladies down stairs, pick my nose when others are eating their pre-dinner dessert.

                            1. re: Parigi

                              What a deprived childhood you had!

                              1. re: bcc

                                Damned right ! And you know what ? I'm with the OP. Those days are over !

                                1. re: Parigi

                                  As a child, I had to finish everything on my plate. I find it very hard to leave food behind as an adult.

                              2. re: Parigi

                                silly - you don't push old ladies, here's what ya do: as they start to take a step, you slide your toe under their heel and give a slight lift. they never notice the source of the mis-step and blame themselves.

                                back on-topic: ehh I have never noticed or cared what people order, just how they eat it (I know there's a difference in hand/utensil manners among regions, but precariously balancing/shoveling a backwards fork isn't really one of them.
                                dessert? in a business situation, yes I'd tone it down. and snarf in the room before or after.

                                1. re: hill food

                                  LOL, reminds me of a Mr Bean episode.

                              3. re: small h

                                I'd wonder that too. To me it's like wearing a neon sign on your forehead: Person with Unresolved Childhood Issues. Why would you want to do that? Seems like behavior best reserved for home and intimate friends.