Do you need to layer on the extra deodorant before a big meal with the boss and your new clients? Does the thought of ordering wine from a list of 200 incite terror in your soul? Fret not fellow intimidated diner, faking your way through that Michelin starred extravaganza of a meal is only a matter of the mind.
1. Don’t make the first move.
Like a 3-year-old in a recital performance, look to your companions for cues. Unless they start snorting coke from the butter knife, it’s probably safe to use some quiet observation to get through the meal. Just make those movements stealthy so your dining cohorts can’t tell you’re mirroring their every move. Monkey see, monkey do.
2. Do the sniff and swirl.
When you get your wine, look intently at the glass (as if you’re trying to seduce it), inhale deeply with your nose in the glass and swirl gently. When attempting the “sniff” part of the equation, try to inhale the aroma rather than the actual wine. Wine snorting has fallen out of style in the last few years. If you want a quick tutorial, rent “Sideways.”
3. Beef, it’s what’s for dinner.
Afraid of the sweetbreads (and not the ones that are actually sweet bread)? Not quite ready to make the jump to monkfish liver? When in doubt, a steak is always a safe bet. Just don’t order it well done. Medium well and well are equivalent to asking for charred or really charred and it’s also a good way to get a hearty guffaw out of your fellow diners. One last steak note… steak sauce? Worst. Idea. Ever.
4. Mute ordering.
Menu in a foreign language? Not sure how to pronounce ‘au poivre’ when ordering? Utilize the subtle nod and the confident point when your waiter comes around. Instead of looking like an ignorant redneck by ordering the “chimichanga” skirt steak instead of the chimichurri skirt steak, just use your toddler level communication skills and point.
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