We were going out to dinner at a rather posh restaurant, Maison Le Snoot, and I knew I was going to have to endure a personal inspection before we left. First, there would be the wifespeak question: “Is that what you’re wearing?” which, of course, is not a question at all. It translates to: “You cannot go out in that outfit to an upscale restaurant. They must have dress requirements.”
I decided to check that out when I called for the reservation. “Do you have a dress code?” I asked the reservation lady who happened to be Ms Snoot, the proprietor.
“Yes, Sir, but it’s quite liberal.”
“Well, do you check the color of socks, for instance? Are white socks permitted with a dark suit? I’ve been told that’s quite gauche.”
“We only check socks during the dinner hours and white socks are permitted if you have a doctor’s certificate indicating a medical necessity. Any other time, especially on Father’s Day, socks coloring and even being sockless is optional.”
My old tweed sports jacket with the yellow leatherette elbow patches would only be permitted if I didn’t take off my approved overcoat. (They would seat me near an air conditioner vent.) Sneakers are banned and patent leather shoes are preferred, but a good shine on leather Florsheims would be tolerated. Neckties are required, even under turtle neck sweaters, Ms. Snoot said.
Baseball caps are not permitted, Ms. Snoot said, unless the diner is an all-star major league player and then he’d have to wear his complete uniform without the cleated shoes, of course. His cap brim must be in the forward position at all times.
“I’m sure you don’t allow smoking,” I said, “but I’ve been chewing gum since I gave up the coffin nails. Is gum chewing allowed, Ms. Snoot?”
“Oh, certainly Sir. We have a gum chewing section. Just ask the Maitre de.”