I feel like I’ve been pushing Abby a lot the last few weeks–her columns have just been more interesting, featuring issues slightly more outside the norm (from “my neighbors think my son is my secret lover!” to “my friend may be harming her child by keeping her booze in his line of sight!“), funny writers, sassy answers, or all of the above.
There’s nothing too wild about this one, but it’s the second most entertaining issue of the day (after the son/lover issue linked above).
A woman has a question about etiquette. Or does she?
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I are having a “debate,” and I hope you can help. When dining out in a restaurant, is it proper etiquette to ask for a taste from another person’s plate? — WHAT’S MINE IS MINE IN MAINE
Of course, she doesn’t clarify if the food-sharing is going on between herself and her husband, or if others are involved, but I can’t help but think that “etiquette” doesn’t really apply within a marriage. And I don’t think that to say that is the same as suggesting that married folk shouldn’t treat each other with as much respect and politeness as they would others. They should–but there’s also a level of comfort and intimacy there, or should be, since it’s, um, a marriage (sorry for the excessive commas…)
If this woman doesn’t want her husband to eat off her plate, she shouldn’t choose (or need) to recourse to dining etiquette. She should be able to say, “please don’t do that,” and he should respect her request. No mediation necessary! (Actually, I feel like you should be able to do that in any social situation….no need to say “You have broken rule 142.A.62 of dining out at a mid-scale chain restaurant on Tuesdays.” Personal preference can have just as much weight, and in many cases deserves as much respect, as etiquette.)
Abby, like me, made a speculative stab at what the real heart of the issue was:
DEAR W.M.I.M.: I have never heard of any rule of etiquette that forbids asking for a bite. If you’re afraid your husband will take too much, place a small portion on your bread plate and pass it to him.