For us superstition aficionados, Friday the 13th is to us what New Year’s Eve is to a seasoned drunk – we’ll take a powder and leave this day to the amateurs. But when Friday the 13th comes up two months in a row, I guess I can’t completely ignore it.
I am mainly annoyed with Friday the 13th because unlike a lot of superstitions, there is no reason to be wary of it other than “it’s unlucky.” Pretty vague, pretty lame. Let’s just talk about the number thirteen then, shall we?
ETIQUETTE: (from A Book About the Table, John Cordy Jeaffreson, published by Hurst & Blackett, 1875) It’s not a good idea to plan a dinner party for fourteen people, because somebody might cancel at the last minute. Thirteen people may dine together if there is a severely pregnant woman at the table (because basically, there are fourteen people at the table). French believe that thirteen people can sit at the table if one person does not eat or drink. If nobody is willing to do this, you should hire a professional quatorzième (a “fourteenth”), who will join you in the meal. In the 18th and 19th centuries, you could find a professional quatorzième at most dining establishments, and being a professional quatorzième was a pretty nice job to have if you were good at eating.
SUPERSTITION: The seating of thirteen people at the table is sometimes thought to be unlucky only for the first person who leaves the table. This is easily remedied by all guests getting up from the table at the same time.
Photo by Leo Reynolds on Flickr