Social norms have always been the backbone of our actions in life. However, breaking a norm seemed to be one of the most intriguing things to do. We have always gone to restaurants and maintained the etiquette. Hence, I picked to defy a norm related to the table manners in restaurants. We always go to the restaurants, have a seat on the chairs and get hold of the spoons and forks to have the food. For a change, to add a pinch of salt to the mundane ambiance of the restaurant that screams for maintenance of etiquette, I decided to go to a restaurant and try out a different way of eating.
I decided to go to a restaurant and sit on my haunches on the chair. Then, I would also not use any spoon or fork to eat the food. This is drastically against the table manners that we have all learnt since childhood. I believed that such an action would be a vehement challenge to the calmness of the people around, since there would be other people at the restaurant. I wanted to see how they reacted. Also, there are no ‘rules’ regarding ways of eating at any restaurant. Hence, I wished to find out the reaction of the restaurant employees as they would see my sitting oddly and eating with my bare hands, in stark contrast to the other people present in the ambiance. For me this is kind of a social experiment to gauge the reactions of people when they get to see something that they are not used to seeing.
So, I took the initiative and reached this restaurant to carry out my experiment. I went in and ordered the food. As the waiter was on his way with the food, I sat on my haunches to his sheer astonishment. He looked at me in awe while serving the food. He must have thought that I am out of my mind for sitting like that. He asked me if everything was alright. I was prompt in my reply saying that everything was fine.
The people around started to look at me as they noticed I was the odd one out. I knew for some reason that my endeavor would pay off as more was yet to come for the people around. Soon, I started to eat the dishes with my hands. To add to the thing, I started making sound while chewing the food.
Immediately, the people around started looking at me disgust. They must have thought that I am an uncouth, indecent fellow. I could hear the people around talking among them critiquing me and my actions. However, I showed that I was not bothered about the reactions of the people at all, and continued with my actions.
I noticed the smirks on their faces. They were appalled by my mannerisms. It was shocking to comprehend how the social norms define people’s attitudes toward other people. I was in no way perturbing any other person in the restaurant. Nevertheless, the people present were bothered so much about me. Someone even called the waiter and asked him to show me the way out. The waiter came up to me with the request to sit properly, to which I objected. I finished with my lunch and left the place.
I was a bit taken aback by the vehement reaction by the people. I was not disturbing anyone there, and it is queer how my posture and way of eating bothered so many people. I believe people live in this realm that is entirely governed by social norms, and anything that is an anomaly shocks them. Others might have felt awkward seeing me defy the social norms, and acting in the way I liked. For them, my mannerisms must have come across as unacceptable and improper. Thus, it becomes evident how we live in the warp of norms that govern us, and impede the way of freedom of actions.
“Social Norms.” plato.stanford.edu. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1 March 2011. Web.