I’m starting with number 23 on the list of Things Not to Do When Dining Out, since I just observed this, and the obvious ones are at the top of the list, such as, ‘Don’t be an asshole,’ although that always begs repeating.

Last Friday night, I went out to dinner.  My brilliant scientist and I did not have a reservation, therefore the only table that was available was by the door, which we were quite satisfied with.  (Oh, yes, not having a reservation and complaining about the one available table, or that there is none on a Friday night, is also on the list).

The restaurant was divided into two dining areas.  The side we were sitting on was also the side that had the bar.  There were four booths along the side, and another table next to us. On the other side of the restaurant, that you had to walk past the hostess stand to enter, was larger and sat more tables.

As we were enjoying our meal, a couple was leaving from the other side.  The hostess gave the automated, “Have a good night,” as the couple passed her by.

The woman stopped to say, “It was really loud over there.”

A few more words were exchanged and I heard the hostess give the explanation that on a Friday night, it is busier, and the beginning of the week it is not as crowded.  I rolled my eyes for her.

I took another sip of my wine to help me swallow the stupidity and recalled to my scientist how I never understood that complaint.

If you wanted a quiet meal to stare into each other’s eyes, or sit silently in your misery because you despise the person next to you, but you’re stuck with them forever, then you should have stayed at home.

It is a Friday night. Even if you somehow have managed only to dine out once in your life, you probably have some idea that Friday and Saturday nights are the busiest nights of the week.

It’s not like you went to a library to have dinner.  You shouldn’t expect it to be completely quiet because you know, you went out in public.

And it’s generally women who make this complaint.  Some men make the occasional request for a quiet table, just to do a banal proposal to their girlfriend, but I’ve usually heard women bitching about the noise, even if they enjoyed everything else, they still have to complain about something.

Maybe it is the one night you get to be alone with your partner.  You’re usually left dealing with screaming and crying kids all day, and Friday or Saturday night are the only nights when you can get a sitter.  You just want a pleasant, quiet evening.  I understand.  But it’s not my fault, or anyone else’s fault, you decided to reproduce more children than you can handle.

And the room was louder, I admit, but that’s because it contained more people.  I didn’t hear anyone screaming at the top of their lungs, or laughing too loud because they had one too many cocktails.  Even if there was someone who was approaching being belligerently drunk and yelling everything he’s saying because he’s an asshole, it’s not the restaurant’s fault.

The next time you want to complain about it being too loud on a Friday or Saturday night, I’m going to suggest you sit outside, even when there is no outdoor seating available and it is winter.  No one will be dining out there with you, so it will be perfectly quiet.

Or you can just keep your mouth shut about the noise level.