While standing in line for counter service, I recently encountered the following restaurant-etiquette conundrum:
Just as the fresh-faced hipster in front of me reached the barista and began to place his order, another equally shiny youngster approached him. They exchanged a "Dude!" and a "Dude!" with an enthusiasm more consistent with guys who got arrested together on a bachelor weekend than with colleagues coauthoring a study on gene sequencing.
"What are you having, Dude?" the first asked, slapping the second on the back with a directional nudge that pushed him into the queue ahead of me.
"Man, hey, Dude," he replied elliptically. Then with an abrupt vocal spike, they greeted a third customer in unison: "Hey, Bro!"
"Dudes!" replied the newcomer.
"What're you drinking, Bro?" the original dude asked, inadvertently pushing me back deeper in the line.
To Dude No. 2's credit, he declined the offer to queue-cut and graciously moved to the end. Dude No. 3, a.k.a. "Bro," accepted the bump and placed his order along with Dude No. 1.
At that point, Barista No. 2 motioned to me, and I got my coffee and gluten-free coconut muffin post haste. No harm, no foul. But still, I couldn't help thinking: When you meet up with your dudes, your men and your bros--who may or may not actually know your real name--while standing in the coffee queue, do you join them, or do you move to the back of the line and catch up later...dude?