So my nameless friend, (the same one who requires men to earn a 40K minimum) is a continuous source of great blog post fodder. This time, we were chilling at her house talking about the dearth of eligible black men – in fact, the dearth of eligible men (regardless of race) who live and breathe on this planet, full stop, when she came out with another corker- the ketchup rule. As usual, I sat with bated breath to hear the latest piece of hilarity from her. Wait for it…my friend refuses to date men who go to posh restaurants and ask for bbq sauce or ketchup. In her words “Why are you asking for ketchup? Why must you put ketchup on everything? Why don’t you have any class?…it’s so embarrassing..” In fact, I told her I was writing this post and she said “And just so you can accurately quote me. I apply this rule to ketchup and BBQ sauce”.
You may laugh, and I’ll admit that at first glance it seems ridiculous, but hear me out – I think there is a deeper issue that she’s getting at here. Now obviously, she said this a bit tongue in cheek, and I don’t think any man who asked for burger sauce instead of hollandaise would be automatically chucked to the reject pile… but they wouldn’t be making a good first impression on her. I don’t think it’s really about the burger sauce though, I think it’s actually more to do with perceived compatibility and social class.
My friend isn’t alone in her standards. Ok, maybe she is alone in THAT standard, but she isn’t alone in having standards. I think we all have silent cues that tell us whether we think someone has a level of class or manners that we see ourselves being compatible with, or whether they’re going to be awkward interacting with people in our social circle. Although the standard may differ from person to person, and we may deny it initially, if we look at our dating choices we tend to date people who are similar to us in terms of social class. I’m not saying this is right, or commendable, I’m just saying it is.
One evening the same friend and I went out with a guy who was friends with a mutual friend of ours. We were around 16/17 at the time, and to be honest, it was an accidental meal, because frankly, he kinda invited himself, and frankly, we hadn’t really planned for him to be there, although of course we wouldn’t turn him away..(I really hope he doesn’t read this or remember this, if he does – this is all in love and good humour..I hope). But that wasn’t the main problem. Nope, as Tesco’s points out, it’s the little things that make a difference.
As the meal progressed, we looked at each other in horror at various points throughout the evening, and I think my shins were a bit bruised from the kicks my friend would give me every time another table manner was left rolling in the dust of social tumbleweed. Such as shouting ‘Oi, waiter’, in a very quiet restaurant in a fairly nice area of town. Or asking for refillable drinks. “Is this Nandos?” We thought. “Do you hear a little portuguese woman singing ‘Senorita, senorita’, in the background? Nope. “Is there a quarter chicken on your plate?. Nope. “So please just take your elderflower juice and sit calmly, cheers”. It was rather embarrassing to be honest, but as I write this, I feel awful for even caring. In fact, I feel a bit embarrassed for being embarrassed, because it sounds rather snobby. So what?? So what if he asked for refillable drinks like we were in GBK as opposed to a nice Indian restaurant, surely these things are irrelevant and insignificant? Surely we should be able to look past this to the person that lies inside? Manners are learnt cultural behaviours, and it’s not fair to judge someone on them, right? But the point is, we did. And we do.
If I’m perfectly honest, I think everyone has a hint of snobbery in them when it comes to dating. Whether you are working class or Prince Harry himself there will be something that you see as ill mannered or tacky behaviour that you’ll find to be a bit of a turn off. Am I right on this? I guess the question is whether it’s a deal breaker for you or not…personally, although I cringe at shouting loudly for the waiter, my Dad is king supreme of uncouth behaviour in restaurants, (much to my Mum’s chagrin) and I’m not always the best when it comes to table manners, so I’m more laid back on that front. Having said that, I’m a snob when it comes to grammar. My grammar isn’t perfect (I know some twit will rake through this post with a comb to discover my misplaced apostrophes), but I do make judgements of people based on how they speak, and too many double negatives will leave me squirming. I know it’s snobby, I know it’s wrong, and I’m working on it, but frankly, I’m just not there yet. I don’t really judge my friend for her standards – primarily because I love her to bits and I think she’s hilarious, and secondarily because I think everyone has them in varying degrees. When do deal breakers become ridiculous? And do you think we all have a level of snobbery?