Tonight we hosted a dinner party for our friends who have twin boys the same age as my eldest. In the chaos of getting the table set and cooking dinner for four adults and five children, I let my friend, TWAPilot, set the table for the adults. As I never entered the dining room until I sat to eat, I don't know how she positioned the drinks so that each adult could identify their seat.
(Note: I do not like to wash too many dishes. This means that I do not serve family style where the food is set on the table in serving dishes. In my house, you must get your food directly from the pot on the stove.)
The men, pushed by TWAPilot and me to load their plates and GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN, were the first to sit at the table. By the time that the women were in the dining room, the men were seated next to each other on one side of our oval table. We were directed to sit opposite them.
The first words I said were, "We're breaking all kinds of seating etiquette rules here."
The men rumbled a bit. Phill spoke up about how I was writing a book in which one chapter began with improper seating. Our poor guest just didn't get it.
TWAPilot was delayed in sitting (kid related), but when she brought her plate in the room she made a comment as well. "Now, Phill, aren't you supposed to be at the head of the table?"
More rumbling from the male side.
Although many rules were broken, our conversation never flagged or became split between the male and female side of the table. That happened after when the time arrived to clean the kitchen. I think the men's posteriors were glued to the chairs. Too much beer, perhaps?
(In case you want to read the whole seating problems of the novel. Those entries are here and here.)