Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Emily Post - Table Manners

Manners can be learned in many different ways, or sometimes never learned at all. At this point in my life, I am still acquiring new behaviors that are the “norm” in “polite company.” Still, such behaviors are not practiced by everyone, and they are not even practiced by all adult “neuro-typicals.”

Between my mother and her sister, I acquired the rudiments of dinner and table manners (and would remember to use them) by my early twenties:

- Put your napkin on your lap when you sit down

- Fork goes on the left, knife on the right

- Eat to left (your bread plate is to the left of your dinner plate), drink to the right (your water glass is to the right)

- Use silverware beginning on the outside and moving inward toward your plate

- Small fork is for salad, larger one is for dinner

- Do not start eating until everyone at the table has been served

- Keep your left hand on your lap and eat with your right (although Europeans eat differently)... and try and chew with your mouth closed

I remind both my children of these conventions frequently, and my son’s most recent refresher was as he was getting ready for his prom. After the basic reminders listed above, I finished with the instruction that not many people need to get, “Use your napkin -- keep the food off your face.” I have to assume that table manners are less important in the college cafeteria (except for that last bit of advice).

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