Manners for Men: At a Restaurant

William Strang - Bank Holiday, 1912
William Strang – Bank Holiday, 1912

When accompanying ladies who express a wish for refreshment, it is not necessary to select a very expensive restaurant or confectioner’s. One suitable to the social status of the party should be chosen. The young man must pay for what his companions eat and drink, and very often this is a most embarrassing matter. He may have enough money in his pocket to defray the bill, and he may not. In any case, he is often unable to afford it, but the probabilities are that if he has the wherewithal about him, he will pay in order to extricate himself from an awkward predicament, even though he may consequently be crippled financially for some days to come.

If he has only two or three shillings in his pocket, he feels extremely uncomfortable. No well-bred woman or girl woman would would ever place an acquaintance on the horns of such a dilemma. But unfortunately there are many girls and women who are lacking in taste and refinement, and who would regard it as an excellent joke to play such a trick upon a “fellow,” as they would probably call him, and enjoy his discomfort.

The best thing to do in such a case is to be perfectly frank and open. “I’m extremely sorry, but I have not sufficient cash with me for the purpose.” It is very disagreeable to have to say so, but it is less The best mortifying than to have to acknowledge it to the waiter at the restaurant. A young man told me that he had once, in such a case, to leave the table on pretense of speaking to the proprietor and fly round to a pawnbroker’s to pledge his watch.

A really well-bred girl or woman would make it clear that she intended to pay for her own bear her own meal, and that only on that condition would she accept the escort of the young man.

Sometimes after a run on a bicycle or a hot walk, a young man will say to his sister and her friend, “Come in and have an ice.” If the a man’s friend is one of the unscrupulous sort, she will very probably run him into what, for him, is a considerable expense. He must pay it, however, and the worst of it is that he cannot sit there and let her eat all by herself. Even his sister, should she be present, must in good manners join in to a certain extent. Otherwise the implied reproof would be too obvious for good breeding.

Manners for Men by Mrs. C. E. Humphry


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