Has this ever happened to you? You’re out at a restaurant, maybe with a friends, maybe by yourself, maybe with a date. You look around and see other people in similar group settings. But there’s one that stands out. In one booth, you notice a couple. But unlike the other couples in the restaurant, they haven’t sat on opposite sides of the table. No. As if someone told them the seats on the left side are coated in anthrax, they’ve both opted to sit on the same side.
Every time I see this, it confuses me. It’s not more comfortable than sitting on opposite sides, so there has to be some other kind of value added. I’ve thought of a few possible explanations for why they do it, none of which are incredibly positive:
They’re Trying To Impress the Staff
It’s possible their couples therapist told them they won’t truly be happy until a busboy at TGI Friday’s really believes they are. Or maybe they think there’s some kind of giveaway from the restaurant. Like a manager’s going to come out of the back: “Excuse me, every night we offer free dessert to whatever couple is most in love. Based on your booth positioning I think it’s safe to say we have a winner. In fact your love is so apparent we’ve decided to end the promotion, as no one can stop you. Congratulations on retiring ‘Pastries for Paramours.'”
They Want to Shame Other Couples
“Oh, so it’s your big date night out, huh? You hired a sitter? And you’re going to eat dinner together and reclaim your love, prove to each other that you can’t help but fall in love with each other every day, as if it was the first? Well, feast your eyes on THIS: we’re doing the same thing, but on the SAME SIDE OF THE BOOTH. How’s that grab ya? Suddenly your “undying love” doesn’t look so undying now does it, staring at each other from across the wide chasm that is a restaurant table? Go ahead and draw up the divorce papers, chumps. We win the award for Strongest Love in This Maggianos.”
The Server is an Ass Who Made Them Do It
“Would you two mind sitting on the same side? I have a very specific type of OCD, I need one couple per night to be uncomfortable without enough room to enjoy their meal. Thanks, I appreciate it, feel free to forego the tip for making this happen.”
They’re Undercover Spies, Trying Extra Hard to Look Like They’re in Love
Don’t let their gaudy public displays of affection fool you. Just because they can’t keep their hands off each other doesn’t mean they aren’t there to fulfill their mission of killing someone. Hell, maybe it’s you. I know that’s a tough pill to swallow, but why’d you have to go and get involved with that stupid terrorist sleeper cell anyway? “It’ll be a fun way to spend the summer,” you told yourself. Well it’s not going to be too fun they get up out of the same side of that booth and use the pizza slicer to vivisect your aorta.
One Side Has a Booth, the Other Has Chairs, and They Couldn’t Decide Who Would Get the Booth
This weird “same side” compromise after they couldn’t decide who gets the booth and who gets the stern, unfeeling rigidity of the wooden chair. So rather than one of them having back problems, they decide to both look stupid.
They Hate Each Other and Want to Just Stare Straight Ahead While They Eat
Relationships aren’t easy, but making them work over the long haul includes some basics: open lines of communication, giving the other person space when it’s called for, and avoiding direct eye contact with each other while consuming food.
Perhaps one side of the pairing doesn’t feel as stable in the relationship and is worried their better half may stray. But even if that’s the case, what do you think he or she’s going to do, run off with the server? Like a cocky waiter’s going to saunter up to your wife and say, “Here’s your raspberry iced tea sir. And as for you ma’am, why don’t you ditch the zero and get with this hero? Yeah you’re with him now but is you happy? He can’t provide for you like I can. Stick with me and you’ll never pay for a Diet Coke refill again.”
Take comfort in the fact that if your significant other leaves you for your restaurant server, they were probably never yours to begin with. No booth seating arrangement is going to fix that. Better to just chalk it up as a lesson learned and keep your distance from your next partner on the other side of the booth.