The community table is the latest strategy used by restaurants and bars trying to cram a few extra bodies into the social stew. I like the idea. It helps coax us introverts out of our shells. Instead of sitting on a bar corner, reading email and playing Candy Crush, it’s a pot luck of sorts, wondering who will plop down into the sidecar.
I learned that when a man approaches, and asks if the seat is taken, it is. If a woman approaches, and she’s married or not my type, I offer the seat regardless, as both of those conditions may be overridden by alcohol, or she might have a cute friend.
Since the community table is a new social experiment, there needs to be rules and guidelines established. Allow me.
- Any food that arrives at the community table, which is food that is socially acceptable to be eaten with fingers, is community food. If you get a side of fries, don’t cringe when I reach across and snag a few. Oh, I’ll also take certain liberties with your dipping sauces.
- Discussions about how much in love you are, how successful your recent stock purchases were, or how many soccer goals Junior scored that afternoon are off-fucking-limits.
- Bottles of wine are community property. Be kind, offer, and pour when you see my glass unoccupied.
- Fun games to play amongst table members include Guess My Name, Guess My Occupation, and Guess My Sign. If those go off without a hitch, try other fun ones like Guess My Cup Size, Guess My Favorite Position, and Guess if I’m Ovulating.
- If you’re doing a shot, I’m going a shot.
- Napkins and silverware may not be claimed, and thus may be borrowed as necessary.
- Any cake-y desserts must come with eight forks, and be consumed at any pace desired. However, the owner of the cake has dibs on the first and last bites. If and when all that’s left is icing smears, the owner of the lonely fork gets pity, and has the option to use an index finger to mop up said smears.
- Much like jury deliberation, when the tabs come, the group decides what the gratuity will be. Every person must leave the exact same tip percentage. Receipts are subject to audit.
- Any phones with annoying ring tones may be punted by any fellow table member, unless the offending party shows the entire table a risque photo contained therein.
- Nobody leaves until I’m done eating. This is something beaten (literally) into me by my father back in the early seventies. I’d sprint through my succotash while my friends made steamy nose smears on our family room window waiting for me to return so we could resume our important game of Kick the Can. Just when pop popped what appeared to be the final silver of chicken parm into his gullet, I’d begin to rise, only to be denied by a second helping. Yes, I’m scarred. Misery loves company. You sit there and wait until I’m done with my hummus, mister, or else.