Dear RuBo: My Name Is Not Fucking “Sweetie”

In the New York Times, Florence Fabricant gives advice on the fine points of entertaining at home and eating in restaurants. Here, Ruth Bourdain takes those questions and gives her own fucking answers.

One of my pet peeves is being called "sweetie" by a server who is near my age or younger. I find it rude. I make exceptions if the server is clearly a grandmother-type. I also let it slide if it's a one-time infraction, but at a recent birthday dinner for a family member (no children present), the server uttered "sweetie" so often that I actually found myself ready to bite back with a rude comment that probably would have hurt her feelings. I bit my tongue and never said anything. Is there a polite way to deter this behavior?

Are you absolutely, totally, and completely positive your server was not uttering the word "sweetbreads"? Unlike "sweetie," calling someone "sweetbreads" is a term of affection in my book. The same goes for "tripe face," "beef cheeks," and "my little pork belly." It's offal cute.

On the other hand, if she really was calling you "sweetie"—and you are a grown woman—you are perfectly within your rights to tell her to knock it off. In fact, I think it's your responsibility. Something along the lines of "STOP FUCKING CALLING ME 'SWEETIE' YOU GODDAMNED MORON!" can be very effective.

Now, if that doesn't work, and the charm-bot persists in her zeal to suffocate you with sweetness like some kind of saccharine hospitality iteration of HAL 9000, you need to turn the situation to your psychological advantage by quickly improvising a drinking game on the spot: One drink for every utterance of "sweetie"; two if she calls you "sweetie pie"; and three if she calls you "sweetie pie honey bunch." Trust me, you'll forget about her (and just about everything) in no time.

This weekend, a friend and I hemmed and hawed over where to go for brunch. Hungry and frustrated with our own indecisiveness, we abruptly decided to eat at one of our favorite diners. Shortly after sitting down and ordering water, we realized we really, really wanted the Florentine eggs Benedict from another restaurant. We didn't know how to make a graceful exit! We considered faking an urgent phone call ("Say WHAT!? We'll be right there!") but in the end, I told them we no longer felt like breakfast food and left the waiter a few dollars for water well-poured. Was this the best way to handle the situation? I don't want the waitstaff to feel snubbed because I still like to go there regularly.

I have to tell you that you completely lost me at ordering eggs Benedict in a diner. What the fuck? Who does that? Stick to the basics: pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, etc. Color me perplexed.

Leaving that questionable matter aside, of course you are not required to stay in a restaurant if you have changed your mind, particularly if you haven't even ordered. But, getting up and leaving is a tricky matter, especially if you are a regular.

I like your idea of coming up with a ruse to get your ass out of the eatery, and a fake phone call can be very effective. What you never want to do is plan an escape from a windowless restaurant bathroom. Unfortunately, I once spent the better part of a year in the bathroom at Per Se chipping away at the wall to tunnel my way out to quench an incredible craving for a Gray's Papaya hot dog. This is not recommended.

Is it customary at an Italian restaurant to order from both the primi and secondi sections of the menu?

Absolutely fucking not.

However, when it comes to the wine list, one should always order at least two to three drinks from each of the following sections: aperitivo, vino (rosso and bianco), birra, and digestivo. Hic.

Want to know how FloFab answered the questions? Differently. Ruth Bourdain is a fictional mash-up of Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain. Got an etiquette dilemma for RuBo? Email ruth.bourdain@chow.com.