It seems like restaurant behavior was a big issue for young women in the 1950s. At least that’s what can be gathered from the October 1950 issue of Woman’s Own.
The guide is even titled “How to Behave in a Restaurant,” and one of the tips it talks about says, “The man always does the ordering, never ask the waiter yourself for anything.”
I wonder if all hell broke loose if a woman accidentally told a waiter what she wanted.
The guide said that certain foods, like celery could “quite correctly be eaten with the hands,” but pears and apples should be approached with caution, because “fruit causes some embarrassment.”
“On the Continent, fruit is always eaten with a knife and fork but in this country it is sometimes correct to cut the apple or pear into sections and eat it with your fingers or just the fork.”
I’ve eaten pears and apples with a fork before, but I’ve never eaten them with a fork AND a knife.
Cherries were supposed to be put into your mouth whole, and then the pits needed to be carefully placed on a spoon.
How can you even remember all of these rules when you’re on a date?
Oh but wait, there’s more! Fish was apparently not the best thing you could have on your date because it was “difficult to manage, and when the meal was over women were reminded that it was “bad taste” to leave lipstick marks on a glass.
Don’t even get me started on soup. Tipping your soup bowl away from you was a sign of good manners, as opposed to lifting it towards you, which was the “height of bad manners.”
How did women even enjoy their dates back then? It seems like there was a rule for everything.
The guide also said, “It is bad manners to put your elbows on the table. It is also very bad manners to powder your nose or put on lipstick at the table, and unforgivable to comb your hair at the meal.”
And remember how you were supposed to eat your pears and apples with a fork and knife? Well, if you happened to drop your knife on the floor you in no way shape or form “…start frantically hunting to retrieve it, ask the waiter to bring you a clean one.”
Thankfully, dates are a much more relaxed thing these days.