In this annoying Slate piece that came out yesterday — on a day we were supposed to be remembering our fallen soldiers, no less — Christopher Hitchens assaults us with his huge pet peeve about waiters pouring wine for him, unbidden. What audacity must one’s server have to top your glass off in a Machiavellian scheme to get you to buy more wine? And boy, does he go on about it, for nearly a thousand words, coming up with non-reason after non-reason concerning “snobbery and insecurity” and other imaginary foes.
There’s an extent to which this piece is tongue-in-cheek, and Hitchens ultimately determines that you can simply ask your waiter or waitress not to pour your wine for you (this is, of course, if the bottle is even stored at your table; in really fancy places, or where they’re pretending to be really fancy, your 750ml is chilling/staying warm with its half-drunk buddies in Pernod purgatory or something).
Interestingly enough (or not really because it’s so obvious), Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle and Helena Echlin of Chow’s “Table Manners” both came to the same conclusion late last year, when this issue was on everybody’s mind for some reason. Perhaps holiday-induced-but-lifelong control issues surfacing in the most effete, bourgeois manner possible?
At any rate, all three disregard the obvious, if lopsided, advantage to this practice: the fast-drinking lush gets a disproportionately large share of the vino without having to betray any boorishness by constantly refilling his or her own glass! Woe to the light — or worse, slow — drinker in this scenario, but so goes evolution: the meek shall not inherit the wine. Consider this the…glass half full perspective.
[Photo: “I want two glasses half full” via spiky_simon/flickr]