Table Manners

20 Aug

Celebrity interviews seem to always include a question about celebrity itself.  This question is answered more often than not with the wholesale disingenuous; “Well, it does get me a good table in a restaurant.”  No doubt this reply has become shorthand for; “I am hesitant to admit what we all know, which is in fact that I am worthy of special treatment.”  Okay, that’s fine.  I have no issue, per se, with self-delusion.

What does baffle me, is what in the world a “good table” is?  For me it means; clean, not directly under the air conditioning or speaker system, non-teetering and the right size for the party.  But I think it means something entirely different in this context.  Recently I watched a (current) movie in which a diva character pitched a fit about not being at a “good table.”  I’ve even had dining companions make reference to “getting a good table.”  Clearly, once again, I am socially clueless.

I am almost certain that there are few if any tables actually by the kitchen door.  (I’m thinking of the night club scenes in On The Town and certain Carol Burnett sketches.)  So what then is the criteria for a “good table” and what exactly does it have to do with the dining experience?  I suspect perhaps it has something to do with visibility?  But this is where it gets tricky.  To be seen or not to be seen, that is the question.

If you consider yourself a celebrity, is being seen a plus?  Can’t being too visible threaten one’s air of elusiveness?   Doesn’t being front and center in a venue filled with one’s lessers merely tempt intrusion and hangers on?  Or is a “good table” one in fact that allows a peaceful dinner, similar to those had by mortals?  If so, wouldn’t the party be better served in private (a la Nicky Arnstein?)

Perhaps it means nothing.  A temporary and disposable bon mot meant to fill a void.  If you look at a paper moon long enough…

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Posted by on August 20, 2011 in Cultural Critique


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