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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sexy Table Manners

Is it just me being picky or do people have really horrible table manners these days? Sometimes I have looked across at a person when they did things and said to myself, You have GOT to be kidding me!!! Why would someone choose to have such obviously horrible table manners when good table manners are sooooo sexy!!

Recently, I watched a 5 year old pulled cheese off of his pizza. He toyed with his long string, rolling it around his little fingers while he chewed away merrily. I was laughing as his mom said, Stop that. Don't play with your food. But she was amused too. He's knitting cheese, I said. Keep in mind that cute at 5 is not cute at 35.

I sat across from a guy who slurped his spaghetti, had grime under his nails and was thinking that I was super into him. What?? Must be something about an extra rush of oxygen to his brain from the slurping. Not cute!!

A college roommate who invited me out to dinner with her boyfriend--just the three of us! She didn't like him that much and I felt embarrassed that she used me as a shield. I was even more embarrassed as I watched her cut up her steak. She held part of it with her hand, tugging as she sawed away with her knife. Then she ate it with her fingers. Gross. Why was this guy still dating her?

I was faced with dodging a goodnight kiss after a date with a guy. It was easier to tell him that I was never really attracted to him than to tell him the complete truth. Yes, I wasn't attracted to him anymore, but it was a matter of degrees. Was it the curve in his back, telling me too much information and his penchant for complaining? Nay! The veritable straw had already broken the camel's back at dinner, everything else was dessert when too full with far too much icing made with rancid butter. He used his hands to eat when he could have used a fork. He shifted chunks of meat around in his taco salad with his whole hand. There were two good points: The date ended and at least he knew how to use a napkin.

I have had the pleasure of being seated across from a few guys who didn't realize that there is a proper way to hold a fork or a spoon. You hold it like a pencil--not a baseball bat! It was like eating with a 5 year old. I don't expect a small child to be able to eat properly because their motor skills are still developing, but I do expect that much from a grown man or woman!

This behavior should come with a warning label--don't do this at home or you might do this in a restaurant in front of someone you really like. A guy I dated actually thinks I don't want to date him anymore because he's an atheist and I am Christian. Um, well, that's part of it, but the other part is that he has rotten table manners. My cousin, finally couldn't take it anymore with one guy she had been dating for a year. She said, I can push, push, push with my knife, knife, knife. She finally push, push, pushed him out of her life, life, life and found someone who treats her like a queen and has good table manners.

I thought I could forgive some bad habits when I went out with a guy who I was really attracted to. I mean, we were eating finger food on our first date. He licked his fingers. Middle finger, index finger, thumb. He only did it once. I tried really hard to ignore it when we had sushi on our second date. Middle finger, index finger, thumb. Then I noticed he REALLY looked at each finger as he did this because he did it twice. But, gosh we had such intense chemistry! Surely I could work with this. Someday I would tell him. He didn't do it the next time I ate with him. That was good. But then when he had a burger and fries...yep, you guessed it. He looked intensely at his hand. Middle finger, index finger, thumb. Lick, lick, lick. Gross, gross, gross!! Get a napkin! Colin Cowie did a social experiment on some people and licked his fingers at dinner. The whole table assumed that if Colin Cowie did it that it must be OK, and soon they were all doing it. He later said, It is never OK to lick your fingers at the table. Maybe it's a slight dose of obsessive-compulsive disorder with that guy. We broke up for other reasons, but I'm glad I don't have to deal with his bad table manners. That's for mommy to teach, not a girlfriend.

Let's review--
A human licking fingers at the table? Not cute.
A gecko licking his fingers at the table? That's very cute.

As far as I'm concerned, I shouldn't have to sign up for a lifetime of watching some guy chew with his mouth open. Yep, I've seen that, too! Unfortunately, I was on a date! It was combined with slurping, putting his elbows on the table and licking his fingers. I was so horrified that I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I was lightly banging my head against the bathroom stall asking myself and God, How do I get home without holding his hand or kissing him?

I shouldn't have to watch someone lick their fingers, eat with their hands when it's not finger food, slurp spaghetti, talk with a mouth full of food, cut food up into tiny pieces like a mommy does for her 5 year old, etc. I shouldn't have to say anything to anyone, either. People don't do that on TV because it looks gross! So please don't do it in real life!

Mothers--Please teach your children good table manners so someone doesn't sit across from your kid someday and think Are you freaking serious??? I told that to the lady with the 5 year old. She started laughing again!!

I've written about some of these guys before. I'm so embarrassed for them that I've even left out their online psydonyms!!! I'm sure men have experienced equal horrors at the table with women. I would love to hear about it.


LadyElaine said...

believe it or not, D, people do what they know. Most people don't know how to exercise good table manners because a)they don't know what table manners are and b) no one ever taught them.

The issue is here is not whether or not the guy has table manners. The issue is that you expect a man to behave with a certain level of propriety while consuming food. The question is whether or not a person is teachable and understands your real feelings behind such an expectation.

That being said, you may want to consider what's more important---A man who may be sorely lacking in dining/eating etiquette but treats you and everyone else around you with dignity and respect, or the guy who has wonderful table manners but has a smarmy character. I am not saying that this is your only option. However, please do remember that most people should not be faulted for expectations that you have neither communicated or expressed in any way to them in the first place.

Robyn said...


SavvyD said...

Well, LadyElaine, tis true. This was more to make it funny--thanks Robyn!! There is something to be said for upbringing and manners matching for dating purposes. My Dad picks on me for using the wrong fork. Sometimes the table manners go with a smarmy guy, so in that case all's well that ends well! But the real question is, how does and should a person change their personal habits just to be with someone? I'm more of the opinion that it's rather futile to try to change someone.

MIUMIU said...

Nice to meet you, empathize with your blog.
Linking to your blog, please.

Miss Etiquette said...

Girl, I know just what you mean. I cannot stand bad table manners. I don't think there is a bigger turn-off for me. A guy can have it all together and once I discover he has bad manners, it's over for me. I just can't deal with it. It actually makes me sick to watch people with bad table manners eat. The slurping, the finger licking, the smacking, the open-mouthed chewing, I just can't stand it. I'm allergic to bad table manners.

RAMZPAUL said...

For some odd reason I don't mind the slurping, the finger licking and the smacking from a cute girl. But I have always been somewhat of a freak.

MarkyMark said...


Maybe guys aren't practicing table manners because that would be seen as gentlemanly; with women, gentleman=nice guy=weak & spineless. If women REALLY preferred gentlemen, this would be reflected in their choices of men; IOW, if being gentlemanly (e.g. exercising table manners), men would be falling all over themselves to become gentlemen! Ah, but that's not edgy & exciting for the young woman of today, is it?


Anonymous said...

Funny blog I loved it! Especially the licky gekko.

Food manners I can forgive if I really like the person. A man I'm attracted to can lick middle index thumb fingers as many times as he wants. Probably wouldn't notice or care.

If I don't like them then everything they do will irritate me.

SavvyD said...

Marky--I had lunch with some guys this last Sunday. I wouldn't describe any of them as "edgy" but they all had bad table manners--talking with their mouths full and pieces falling out. There is a difference between "edgy" and "gross" I've dumped many a man who "edgy" and blogged about them extensively.

Do you really blame your impeccable table manners for not being able to get a date? Even I slip. I accidentally grabbed the wrong bread.

MarkyMark said...


My point is that having manners is part of the package of being a gentleman; it's not all there is to being a gentleman, but it's a part of it. That said, with the modern woman, gentlman=nice=weak. That's false, of course, but modern women do not see it that way.

As for getting a date, I'm beyond giving a hoot about that. I do my thing; I do it my way; why would I give that up just to have a female in my life? Uh, that dog don't hunt. I'll stay happy, single, and free, thank you very much...


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

These words -- don't do this at home or you might do this in a restaurant in front of someone you really like -- reminded me of a story related to me by one of my students many years ago. It was not about table manners per se but about habitualized actions. This student of mine was a diplomat and had been invited to dinner at the White House. His wife, who was a mother of five little ones and a homemaker, came along. She sat cattycorner from Nancy Reagan, who was sitting in the position where this woman's toddler son sat. Without thinking, the mother reached over, took Nancy Reagan's plate, cut up her steak into small pieces, and then put the plate back in front of her!

SavvyD said...

Elizabeth!! Are you KIDDING me? that's actually cute/funny. What isn't is when someone does that on a date. We are supposed to cut each piece that we are about to eat individually.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Yeah? Well, according to my student, Nancy Reagan was not entirely enthusiastic about what happened! It was apparently a rather embarrassing situation!

SavvyD said...

Let me qualify--it's cute/funny in retrospect. i would have been horrified if someone did that for me.

Christopher said...

My parents always raised me to have good table manners. This was and is a must. I can not stand to sit at the table and watch someone talk with food in their mouth, slouch at the table, slurp, burp, belch or fart. The list of unacceptable behavior is almost endless for me.

But, with that said, I couldn't care less what a woman thinks of my manners, be they at the table or elsewhere. You dear ladies have priced yourselves out of the market for most men, so don't expect to see a mad rush of men to a school for proper etiquette. For most, pleasing a woman has become a pointless and expensive endeavor. So, I'll grant you, many men are turning into pigs.

You didn't want the whole package we used to offer, so don't be surprised to see men becoming more barbarian-like over time.

ah, the fruits of feminism.....Hope you like what you have ladies.

Christopher in Oregon

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