I may need a little updating in the etiquette department. When I was a lad I learned that when people are dining together, particularly couples, and when I was a lad most (at least obvious) couples dining together were opposite sex couples, (we'll get to same sex couples in a moment so don't go all PC on me yet) that the woman should be seated in the seat with the best view, like, looking at the sunset, or out the window, and the gentleman should be seated where he might best direct his attention to his dining partner. Apparently these days, no one has heard of this, even people older than myself who might be expected to have had some sort of etiquette instruction in school.
75% of the time I pull a chair out for a woman, she heads to the other seat. Now, some of the time this might be some lingering feminism - "I don't need any man to pull out a chair for me", but I don't think so. It may be that I have a warped perspective on what constitutes the better view. But mostly it's just obliviousness.
So, do me this favor- when you go to a restaurant, let the hosts do their job. Let them lead you to a table, and don't negotiate with them about where to sit unless there is some obvious problem like sitting next to a person who has doused themselves in a gallon of cologne, or at a table next to one of your sworn enemies. They really have your best interests in mind. They want to take you to a place which will be comfortable for you and your companions, where you will be able to get great service and thoroughly enjoy your meal.
Obviously etiquette changes. When dealing with couples of any sort I typically pull out the chair for both of them, starting with the woman. When she rushes around to the other seat, I move around and push the chair in for the gentleman. When dealing with same sex couples I pull out the chair for the person closest to the table, although I wouldn't be surprised to see a little sexism creeping in and finding myself trying to identify the more femme of the duo. I'm seeing the gesture, whether made for a man or woman as just being inviting. A way of saying, I'm glad you are here, I'm at your service, what I can I do to ensure you have a good time. Perhaps this behavior just isn't appropriate any longer. I don't know.
While I understand the snob appeal of the "power table" or the snub of being seated in "Siberia" this just doesn't apply in most cases. Certainly not here, in the sticks. That's what it's called, not just by my mother-in-law. There is a local bumper sticker, promoting the high school football team that reads, XXXXXXXX Football, Welcome to the Sticks. There is no scene, no see and be seen. People certainly do greet each other and spend time visiting at other tables, but I can't imagine anyone feeling slighted that so and so got a "better" table.
This seems a little conflicted, because I'm bemoaning the lack of etiquette knowledge of my patrons while reveling in the absence of one of the grosser institutions of "proper behavior". This is what happens when you put a hippie raised, spent enough time south of the Mason-Dixon line to feel courtly, spent enough time in Manhattan to be provincial and snobby in charge of a restaurant in Northern California. The poor guy gets confused. How they hell should he behave these days?