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Do Mixed Seating Arrangements Ruin Couple Fun?

mixed seating at events, separate seating social events, White House Correspondents Dinner, date night, dinner parties

Do mixed seating invites send shivers down your spine?

The internet chatter and sound bites regarding the White House Correspondents’ dinner have been making their way around the TV and web circuits for the past couple of days now. And while I thought a lot of it was really funny and on target, for the most part, one of the things I took away from it had nothing to do with the White House, President Obama or the humor.

It was all about the seating.

Earlier in the day, Arianna Huffington posted on her Facebook page about the choice she made for her guests that night: mixed seating arrangements.

She wrote:

Just did the seating arrangements for our tables at the WHC dinner tonight. I never seat wives and husbands together….they can talk to other people and then exchange impression on the way home. So Daniel Day Lewis and Rebecca Miller, Eric Holder and Sharon Malone, Rand Paul and Kelley Paul, Stephen Moyer and Anna Paquin, we’re mixing it up tonight!

While the possibilities of ending up with good company at that dinner was quite high, I gotta admit, it made me a little uptight. I kept picturing that scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm when Larry is stuck at the end of the table with a dud while his wife lucked out at the opposite end in the cool kids’ corner of the party. Since then, I’ve been wondering about how most couples feel about mixed seating arrangements at less spectacular events.

Isn’t there a line in the vows that says something about rescuing your spouse in uncomfortable social situations?

Honestly, it’s not my favorite thing. I mean, isn’t there a line in the vows that says something about rescuing your spouse in uncomfortable social situations? In mixed seating, you can’t look over to the person you just met and ask him if those green beans are really as putrid as you think, or borrow an extra fork, or steal a bite from their plate during a lull in the conversation.

And then, of course, there is also the fact that if we are getting dressed up and actually going out without any kids, I want to enjoy couple/adult/ fun time with my husband. On top of that, my husband (like many other men) tends to rely on me for social engagement, initiating conversation, and following fine social graces, as in don’t drink from the finger bowl, or inhale your food in five seconds flat. These are just some of my reasons why I don’t enjoy mixed seating, but what about other people?

Arianna asked readers their thoughts. As many point out, the chance to mix it up and meet new people independently offers the chance for more mingling, and as some said, you can always dish about it all together on the way home:

“Love mixing it up, being “forced” to talk with new people is great – then you and your spouse can trade stories afterwards.”

“I think it always makes the party more interesting to mix it up!”

“No, we sit too much together during our family meal table, let’s sit besides other people to refresh our and our partner’s perspectives!”

Yet, others said, why even bother going out together if you won’t be together all night?

” I would not go. That makes for a fish out of water.”

“Your guests want to feel comfortable, not forced into conversations with strangers.”

“How can you not sit next to your spouse ?”

Like others, my husband and I don’t go on nearly enough date nights, so when we do go out, I enjoy us being together and making more shared memories rather than enjoying our own separate experiences at the same event and then just discussing. Of course, it wouldn’t stop me from attending an event but I’d, without a doubt, prefer a seat next to hubby. It’s one thing if you go to an event alone, but when you go as a couple, doesn’t it make more sense to sit together?

What do you think? Do you prefer mixed seating at events or would you rather be seated next to your spouse/partner?

Image: iStock

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