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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Practical aspects of dating and courtship - table manners and the man

In the Christian world, there is an amazing amount of emphasis placed on the spiritual aspect of a relationship. While that is all well and good, it's not enough to make a relationship successful. It's important to have someone who respects your spiritual life. But I have seen many a Christian couple deal with issues which no one seemed to think were as important as they are.

I'm talking about pet peeves...

You have a right to your pet peeves. Some of them are important things. Some of them you don't realize you have until you are in a relationship with someone and they hit your pet peeve on a regular basis.

So, how do you deal with that?

I'm working on this right now. I have been dating a man I really like in many ways. He is kind, loyal, interesting to talk to, he calls when he says he will call. He speaks a few languages. He is interested in cultural events - we've gone to museums, we enjoy many kinds of music.

BUT he has some issues with table manners.

I'm starting to realize that alot of men do not have very good table manners.  And here is a piece I wrote two years ago that pretty much sums up how I truly feel about table manners.  Sexy Table Manners

I'm calculating it this way.  If we go out 3 times a week, that's three meals during which I have to try to turn the other way and not look while he eats way too fast and shovels too much food onto his fork and into his mouth.  It's not pretty to watch.  Not at all.

He once spoke of an interview conducted over dinner.  He felt like he was truly qualified for the job.  The interview dinner was expensive.  At the end, he was mystified that he did not get the job.  I know why.  I'm pretty sure that he suffered the professional repercussions of his terrible table manners.  Even on our first date his table manners weren't that great, but they were better than his table manners on our last date.

The thing is, I think he KNOWS about it, but there is some inherent reward in not being bothered enough to do anything about it.  I don't know what that is.  Perhaps it is the secret joy of being naughty because his mother got on his case about his table manners growing up and still gets on his case about it.  How do I know?

He licked his knife in front of me...  The server came to take plates away.
Server:  Oh, you might want to keep your knife.
He took the knife off the plate, stuck the whole blade into his mouth to clean it off, pulled it out, and placed the knife on the table.  He then continued his conversation with me as if he had done nothing out of the ordinary.  He may have continued talking, but all I heard was
Blah, blah, blah.
Me:  I'm sorry, I'm completely distracted by you licking your knife.
He:  Well, it was dirty.  I didn't want to put it on the table.
Me:  Next time, just get another knife.  Or use a napkin.
He: My mother always gets on me about stuff like that.
He then stuck a fork into his mouth to clean it off.  Then he took out of his mouth and used it as a back scratcher.

I had a few options at that point.  A.  Show complete and utter disgust.  B.  Redirect the conversation.

I redirected the conversation.
Me:  You don't like anyone to tell you what to do, do you?
He:  No, actually I don't.  I used to be worse about it and tell people off.  I've mellowed considerably.

So now I'm trying to figure out how to tell him that this is something important to me and that I really need him to consider what I am seeing across the table and to be more sensitive about it.  And that I really feel attracted to a man who is considerate in that way.

The truth about relationships is that we sometimes have habits which are offensive to others that perhaps have nothing to do with spirituality - unless the spiritual condition is selfishness.

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment! (Thanks also for lurking. I don't allow anonymous comments. SavvySingleChristian@yahoo.com)


blessedbabe said...

Well...not to be a downer or anything, but he just kind of compared you to his mother, so that's not a good thing. I don't think he'll listen to you when you make a comment right then and there.

I would suggest...and this is just a suggestion...cheer him on the other things you like first, such as how he's good when he "gently" strums his guitar, or how "skillfully" he fixes things like he can be so thorough and gentle with them. If he can put some effort into what he likes, he could put some effort into eating slowly and not licking his knife all the time.

Ego is important to men and I personally think that God made us to be good at cheering them on.

Cheers to you though for sticking around and not considering this a deal breaker!

SavvyD said...

something to think about, though I don't take it overly seriously that his mother came up when I said his eating habits were shocking. I'll take bad eating habits over finding out that the man I'm married to is a serial killer. YIKES it has happened.

Jenny said...

Yeah, you're right. He's aware of it, and it's part of his adolescence rebellion that he's not over with yet. And like men who don't shower regularly, your date is unable to comprehend why his behavior grosses you (and Mommy) out. He's not even one of millions of men who are looking for a woman to groom them into respectable civilized people. You could give him a sample of what you're seeing, but, unfortunately, men hold to a double standard. Your bad table manners, even in jest, would be seen as grounds for a permanent breakup. I suggest that you nicely tell him that this is a deal-breaker - no kidding - and be ready to walk out on him.

OI said...

Backscratcher? Wow!

My mom used to date this guy, he was disgusting. I think at the time my mom was going through a desperate phase...but this guy she was dating, would lick his plate after a meal. I kid you not. He picked up the plate, and then start licking it.