And they say downtown is the where the wild things are! I was being all “ladies who lunch but actually cocktail” at Amaranth yesterday with a respectable member of the uptown scene and a regular diner at Amaranth. I was all dressed in my uptown boho look (think Rachel Zoe without a hat), and trying to keep myself from slouching, taking in the scene of early diners living their proper uptown lives. Apropos of nothing (or nothing my companion and I could imagine), the woman at the next table pulled up her pants leg, stuck her leg out Rockette style, and proceeded to use it as a prop for whatever story she was telling. Thankfully she did not hit our rose, but this woman was completely oblivious to the fact that this was an odd, bordering on rude or gross thing to do in the middle of a restaurant. Especially within the rarefied air between Madison Avenue and Fifth. I got a nasty bug bite in St Barths, but managed to express my feelings and frustrations without pulling down my pants and offering a visual aide.
In these times of casual cooking and anything goes restaurants, we must still remember our manners. Dining at NYC restaurants, no matter how regularly, is a treat that should not be taken for granted, and you should always respect your fellow diners and not act like you are in your living room or college dorm. The people next to you might have saved for a while to enjoy this meal, or may be celebrating something special; they don’t want to see your leg while they are enjoying their $15 lettuce salads. Even when we must undo a button, we are discreet about it, and never lay limbs akimbo in our chairs with our hands relieving the pressure of our waistbands; I am sure everyone respects our restraint. After a few cocktails, it tends to all bets are off, and we are not above swearing to our dining companions or telling dirty jokes to our family at Babbo, but we are never outwardly gross in a way that would upset anyone not at our table. For the sake of sanity ( and keeping things sanitary), don’t pick your teeth at the table with a business card, don’t put your lipstick on looking in a knife, don’t let your dog drink out of your water glass, don’t spend your whole meal shouting into your cell-phone, don’t pick at anything on your body, don’t take your shoes off, even if you need lube to remove your Loubs and don’t forget to thank your servers, because without them you would be dining at home, and god knows what kind of behaviors go on there.