Whitley and I still read the papers ON PAPER, and we love the columns in the weekend Financial Times. One of my favorites is David Tang’s "Agony Uncle" column (in the UK, an "agony aunt" is someone who solves personal problems that readers send in, like Ann Landers and "Dear Abby" used to do).
In the August 13-14 edition of the paper, someone asks him what to do when she catches someone switching place cards at a dinner party. In his reply, he mentions a time when he personally did this sort of thing in a restaurant. He was the last to arrive at a large table and as he entered, he notice that the only empty place (obviously his) was between two "crashing bores." He quickly backed out, and tipped the waiter to go over and quietly remove his place setting (AND his chair), while he escaped through the kitchen.
This reminded me of an incident in my own life. When we lived in San Antonio, Whitley and I used to take an elderly lady out to dinner once a week. She was a very old friend of his family, and, like him, ‘old Texas,’ her ancestors having come in with Stephen F. Austin. The problem was that after she’d had a couple of drinks, she would start groping my husband under the table and whispering sexual innuendos into his ear, which embarrassed him considerably. I tried to find a restaurant without a bar, but she refused to go to those.
Then one evening I hit upon the solution: After she had been served her first drink, I excused myself from the table to go to the ladies room, but I actually went up to our waitress, slipped her a very nice tip and said, "When the woman at our table asks for another drink, say ‘Yes,’ but don’t ever bring it." This worked wonderfully. Our elderly friend complained loudly when her second drink never came, but she kept her hands (and suggestions) to herself.
By the way, this same lady was later thrown out of a restaurant for flirting too aggressively at the bar and also, when she house sit for us once, left behind a penis-shaped vibrator and also gave all my husband’s expensive scotch to a gigolo she picked up somewhere. I actually have to congratulate her–I only hope I’M that sexually active in my 80s!