I'm having a discussion about this on OKC right now. I had a first date a few weeks back (date #2) where I decided within five minutes that there probably wouldn't be a second date, in large part because he disregarded the open seat across the (very small) table from me and sat on the bench next to me. What are your feelings about this?
Assume this is a first date, so there's no physical affection involved. Is it okay for a guy to sit on the same side of the table as you? Is it weird? Does it make no difference at all? Is it only a problem in situations like mine, where the space is small and he's in someone else's way?
My roommate, for the record, agrees with me. I was halfway through telling her about this guy and she went "Did he sit next to you? Nooooo."
ETA: The reason I ask is I'm talking to a guy who says he was once told by a "speech and body language teacher" in 9th grade that he should always sit next to a girl on a date because "it promotes less competition and more of a shared viewpoint mentality. It also eliminates the uncertainties of how much eye contact that person likes/hates as well as any subconscious eating/sharing issues." And I want to make sure I'm not the ridiculous one here.