I get it. The summer heat is brutal. You want to wear less. Go ahead: Trot out your sandals (or even the mandals). You do realize, though, that showing off your hairy knuckles may cause some folks to run for cover (see this recent Slate article and the nearly annual Details column on the subject). Hey, it’s your body, right?
Not so fast. If you’re a server at a public restaurant, different standards apply. It’s no longer a personal thing; your choices are business decisions. You actually do have to consider what other people will think - especially if you hope to get a decent tip. Your boss may even tell you how to dress. That’s his or her right.
So why then do we continue to see so many egregious examples of unappetizing (and borderline repulsive) fashion when we sit down to eat and drink?
I believe that rules of hygiene and etiquette have not been clearly stated, or even discussed (it was years before someone told me that blowing my nose at the table was rude). So below I’ve rounded up the six style and grooming choices that, right or wrong, are most likely to offend customers. If you’re a waiter or busboy (and I’ve been both), you’d be wise to consider these quasi-taboos.
And if you’re just a fellow diner, you might want to give these a read, too. Dissenters, of course, are free to ignore the suggested don’ts. Just don’t sit near me.
I think sandals and flip-flops are terrific for the beach and great at home, but not appropriate at a restaurant. It’s not just the bony protuberances and mashed toes - there’s a sense that you’re walking dangerously close to the filth on the streets and then sharing whatever you’ve picked up with the entire dining room.
That said: When a waiter cuts himself there aren’t many other hygienic options. I’d suggest investing in transparent Band-Aids or Neosporin. What we, the diners, don’t know won’t hurt us.
Too Much Cologne or Perfume
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