Attitudes While Eating

Damon Runyon

In contemplating restaurant eaters, I find that the most common is the apologetic type.

He says: “I’m not very hungry. I had a big lunch. I just want something light.”

If you are the host and are taking the grunt, or check, that is good news for you in these days when the genial bonifaces are charging for their vittles by the karat.

“Waiter, what could I have that’s light?” the guy asks. “No, not roast lamb. That’s heavy. In fact, I had roast lamb for lunch. Let me see. Well, all right, I’ll take the corned beef and cabbage. That’s light.”

The waiter starts away and the man calls him back, saying:

“You’d better bring me a cup of bean soup first and a glass of beer and I’ll have some boiled potatoes and a nice combination salad with my dinner. I’ll have my coffee with my dessert.”

Then he casually nibbles up a loaf of bread while waiting for his order, remarking:

“I ought to know better than eat a big lunch. It always spoils my dinner, but I had nothing for breakfast this morning except some fruit and coffee and a couple of eggs and felt empty by noon.”

When his dinner arrives he comments:

“The guy who runs this joint must be making a fortune. His portions are getting smaller and smaller. It’s just as well I’m not hungry.”

Then, as he plows through the viands with great vigor, he says apologetically:

“Do you know this tastes so good it gives me an appetite.”

The ladies are the greatest apologetic eaters. They generally alibi with the matter of poundage. A dame hefting a ton will say coyly:

“I have to watch my calories. But I’m on a binge tonight so I will have some of that delicious-looking chicken fricassee.”

The apologetic female eater manages to make it appear that she is doing the host a favor by eating a few pecks of provender though, as I say, with prices what they are now in the taverns, she would undoubtedly be doing the poor soul a favor by laying off the grub.

The indifferent eater is also male and female and a most insidious type. This is the eater who, when the waiter proffers a menu, pushes it aside and says languidly:

“Oh, just bring me anything. I’m not particular. Anything at all. What’s the rest of them having? Stew? Oh, all right. Just bring me some raw oysters, a porterhouse steak with a few sliced tomatoes, some French fried potatoes and a little stewed corn. Eating doesn’t really interest me.”

The dissatisfied eater is practically synonymous with the knocking eater. I mean, he is one and the same. He does not like the food, the service, the atmosphere or anything else about the establishment in which he is eating and expresses himself to that effect between bites that finally devastate an enormous amount of fodder. In other words, he knocks and eats and eats and knocks simultaneously.

Of all the many types of eaters I have studied and classified, I think I like the unashamed eater best. He is the one that tears into his chuck without embarrassment and eats until the cows come home without offering any apologies or kicking about anything whatever. He is concerned only with the business of satisfying the inner man. He eats what is set before him and eats all of it.

This type makes the best husband.

Occasionally you find an unashamed eater among the ladies but not often.

I like, too, the enthusiastic eater who boosts as he eats, saying he never tasted such marvelous meat and vegetables in his whole life though this one can become monotonous after awhile. Still, at his most boresome he is better than the eater who keeps boosting every place in town other than the one he is in at the moment.