Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Are you and your partner "shmoopy-diners"?

Storekeepers from a candy store on Avenue B (1973) Bruce Davidson

We went out to lunch the other day, and we saw a young couple sitting on the same side of their booth, while leaving the other side empty. I chuckled to myself and nodded my head so my wife and daughter could see what I was grinning about.  They thought it was funny, but cute, while I just thought it was funny.

I'll be honest (and I don't think I'm alone in this), I usually imagine those couples as something like Jerry and his girlfriend in video below (when Jerry mentions "tuna-fishee", they are being especially shmoopy diners).

(thanks to @skormos for reminding me of this episode)

Of course, I sometimes figure it could be because one partner is super-clingy, and is afraid that the other might try to escape. Or maybe one of them wants to make sure that everyone knows their dinner date is taken.  But I was genuinely curious, so I asked my Twitter and Facebook friends about this whole thing, and I actually learned of some half decent reasons.

What people told me-
Reason #1- So they can hear each other better.
One woman had a husband that was hard of hearing, another had one that was soft-spoken. Or if the restaurant is noisy, this would be a good way to compensate.

Reason #2- The view.
Maybe one side of the table looks at the kitchen doors, or at an ugly wall. Okay, I can understand that.  Being the debonair gentleman that I am, I always let my wife have the better view (plus, she'll be looking at me too, so she's doubly set) but chivalry is dead in some parts.  I also read comments about how they could see, and talk about the same people, and make fun of the same things (I'll have to remember this the next time I'm in the sites of one of these couples).

Reason #3- Easier to share food.
I don't find this that great of a reason. Maybe a dessert makes sense, but you're telling me you're eating off each other's plates, or even worse, the same plate the whole time?  Are you sharing one drink also?

Reason #4- "Cuddling Time"
A very Shmoopy type of reasoning.  These lovers are so smitten, they may die if they're not resting a hand in the other's lap. Shmoopy, shmoopy, shmoopy. Please get a room, or a car with a larger back seat!

So that's what I learned.

As a bonus, my friend J.D. Hastings  (@j_d_hastings) made his own list of why some couples might sit next to, instead of across from each other while eating-

If there is a tv on the other side of the table, you can prevent unwanted conversation.

If you're pointing a gun at their abdomen it helps to hide it.

Easier on the neck when playing an impromptu game of "I Spy".

Someone you're both avoiding happens to be seated behind you.

The other side of the table is really heavy and you have to counterbalance it.

There's a mysterious stain on the other side's seat.

You're handcuffed together. 

One person is hiding the horrific mutation on one side of their friends' face.

Both people need to stare at the waitress to get her attention.

The woman is sick of the man staring at her chest.

Both are alcoholics sitting at the bar.

And from Rob Vlock (@robvlock)
When dating conjoined twins. Three in a row would just be weird.

So there you have it. For those of us that don't engage in this particular seating arrangement, at least we know that there could be some logic behind it.  And for those of you that do, carry-on, but understand that the rest of us think it's kinda weird. (edit- some of the rest of us think that it's weird. ha!)

What do you think? Are some of us terrible people for wondering about this?