I don't understand the stool thing. Well, I understand it, but I don't understand why some women react (or should react) to it in the manner Adrian describes, nor do I understand why it's considered to be "formal" or funny. Could someone explain?
(FWIW, I prefer a basket-cloth combo to a stool)
Because you're sitting there perfectly comfortably with your purse wherever you put it and suddenly some server rushes up, plops a stool next to you, and ceremoniously places your purse on it, as if whatever you'd been forced to do with it before was doing both you and your purse the greatest dishonor imaginable. It just makes you smile.