The evolutionary basis of restaurant seating

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You read it here first.

After years of dedicated research, I can now announce some preliminary results, and offer a hypothesis for others to review and test.

The observation

That when groups of two or more species homosapien of mixed gender (i.e. the group is mixed, not the individuals) visit restaurants, the female of the species will largely dictate the seating arrangement, and more specifically, select seating such that their dorsal region is murally oriented (i.e. back to the wall). If a segment of wall is unavailable, then the female will select an arrangement which minimises the ratio of floor space behind her to that in front of her. An extremely high priority is sitting side on to the front window, for this arrangement has the effect of including the extra-restaurantal space in the ritual, while satisfying the above-mentioned constraints on configuration. While all this goes on, the male of the species stands around scratching his balls.

OK, the above is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s none-the-less a real phenomenon in my experience, except for the scratching bit. While out for breakfast with Mrs. rb yesterday, the above observations re-inforced my own experience.

Of 5-6 couples in our section of the place, all were consistent with the hypothesis, as were a succession of new groups – except for perhaps one. Rather than see that one as a failure of the hypothesis, I choose to treat it as a rogue data point, and raise the possibility that the members of that group have both undergone gender re-assignment.

Even a couple of the big tables, which seated 8-10 people, were consistent. Clearly not all of the female of the species within the group would typically take the muro-lateral position, but at least the majority of females in the group seemed to.

The hypothesis

In short, I believe that thisbehaviour is a vestigial evolutionary trait. The female of the species homosapiens, in feeding or social situations, adopts a dorsal muro-lateral position because:

1. it guards against uninvited mating activity, and/or,

2. it allows simultaneous monitoring of the immediate environment to safeguard juveniles of the species.

I have now analysed some preliminary data, and extracted a hypothesis. What is now required is further research, in order to control for some of the variables, which include:

  • age groups (initial observations were age-independent)
  • nature of establishment, and whether it needs to be commercial at all, or just simply away from the home or other controlled environment
  • whether eating is required, due to its being an attention-intensive activity
  • size and composition of the group, and,
  • whether any other species displays this behaviour.
The best way to carry out this research would appear to be on a distributed basis. I therefore call on readers, when attending any premises in which many strangers are gathered at separate tables, to document the dorsal muro-lateral configuration gender asymmetry, and report back.


2 thoughts on “The evolutionary basis of restaurant seating

    Blamer .. said:
    August 11, 2011 at 1:03 am

    Brilliant! Perfect?

    Thomas Hughes said:
    September 8, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Very good….Pretty much sums up my family!

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