Having dinner with friends is a huge pastime for many people living in urban centers. Despite outrageous prices, recently exacerbated by a bump in the inflation rate, my wife and I dine with several people each week.
You should know that we rate our dining experiences. Of course, the quality of the food and service are on the list, but of particular importance to us is whether our dining companions have any interest in us that would inspire them to ask about our lives.
This may sound strange, but on some occasions our guests never ask us even one question about our daily life. Never do we hear, how are you kids doing? or what’s going on at your company? have you traveled recently? Some people blather away for hours about every bit of minutiae concerning their lives and family assuming that their interests are the most important in the world.
My wife and I always start a dinner by asking about the children of our company. What are they doing professionally? where do they live? do they have a significant other? and what’s going on with their job?
In about 25% of our dinners, after we ask questions, our dining companions don’t reciprocate. You should know, I really don’t care if these people know anything about my personal life, but common decency and in the interest of having a pleasant conversation, one should ask others about things and not speak only about themselves.
Another amazing observation that I admit I am guilty of is talking about health problems. When old guys get together, there is about a 75% chance that the subject of one’s prostate emerges. This part of the man’s body is probably the most talked about. It should be taboo considering half of those present don’t have a prostate gland.
And then there is politics. If you disagree with your guest’s politics, and you hate them for voting conservative or liberal, don’t bring up Donald Trump or Joe Biden while eating dinner. Back in the George W. Bush days, I lost friends because I defended Bush’s decision to attack Iraq. Some of you who are reading this essay might think I’m a moron for taking such a stand. If you are unable to have a political conversation without saying you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, avoid the subject.
The worst conversations revolve around social issues including abortion and sexual harassment. It has become obvious that many women don’t want men to ever discuss abortion and sexual harassment issues. It’s verboten. How are we ever going to solve the many problems pertaining to relations between men and women if we can’t even have a conversation about the topic.
I’m forewarning anyone who has dinner with my wife and me that we are going to rate you. Remember to ask us a few questions about our life. The penalty of not doing so is that we will be talking about you during our Uber ride back to our home. Your ears will be ringing.