I’m going to go waaaaay out on a limb here. Shoot me down in flames if you like.

Good manners are saying please and thank you and not putting your elbows on the table.

I don’t think putting your elbows on the table is bad manners any more. I remember being told not to put my elbows on the table when I was a kid, but I think times have changed.

We’ve moved on. We can now put our elbows on the table in even the finest restaurants, and nobody will stare. The maitre d’ won’t have us ejected. It’s not rude anymore.

Spitting and picking your nose at the table? Yeah, that would still be rude.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

12 replies on “Manners”

In our house it was:

1. Sit up straight, elbows off the table
2. Don’t talk while chewing
3. Don’t chew with your mouth open
4. Put your lips smoothly over your spoon – don’t click it with your teeth (cereal)

All of the above. Actually, they the only ones I generally adhere too these days, though we tend to lean towards the elbows being allowed on the table but only when there’s no food.

Spitting and picking your nose is OK. They are very mercenary these days. More interested in your 50 cents. But eating you nose pickings – now that’s something different. You are NOT allowed to eat brought in food in a restaurant under any circumstances!

Josh: thanks for the reminder!

A few more:

1. Saw meat with your knife (rather than tearing it)
2. Don’t use fork to shovel food into your mouth
3. Bring food up to your mouth, rather than your mouth down to the food

Should I mention that the same person who taught me also licked her plate afterwards?

All the above plus no singing, humming, tapping etc etc.
But that was in the days when food only came off the plate on knife and/or fork – elbows became OK at about the same time as tacos!

this is not to be silly, but in the days when smoking was still allowed in restaurants, we used to go to some of the very cheap and fast (but tasty) vietnamese restaurants in Springvale. Every now and then you could observe a patron stubbing out their
cigarette on the plate. Memorably, once someone stuck
his butt into a half finished fried egg.
Might have made for a good photo, come to think of it…

My husband had a corporate etiquette class a few years ago, and they were taught that elbows on the table is considered a warm and friendly thing to do while chatting before the food arrived, but once the food is there, elbows off.

It does not offend me to see elbows on the table as long as the person does not then lean on their hand. I’d much rather suffer an army of elbows on the table than watch people chew with their mouths open. I also find it more of an imposition to hear them speak loudly and take cellular calls while dining.

i dont no about everyone else but i find that leaving a small amount food on the plate is bad if dining out, because then the host/ess may think you do not like it. although, i have heard its better to leave some – i dont no why though..

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