Friday, May 11, 2012

Grumpy Geezer Gripes



Is it just old geezer me but do ordinary everyday table manners seem to have collapsed on the side of the road somewhere and died?

Or am I such an old fuddy duddy that I am attaching significance to something that is no longer of any importance to anyone but me?

Did high speed multi-tasking living just throw common courtesy under a bus?

And no, I'm not talking out of control children spitting up on strangers' tables in high class restaurants.

I'm talking about my generation.

For instance:

Talking with your mouth full. Yeah, I see that all the time amongst my friends. Hello? I do not want to see the semi-masticated contents of your mouth. Ever.

Eating your dinner once it is put in front of you without waiting for anyone else. So you are finished way ahead of everyone else and usually drumming your fingers on the table or, even worse, fishing off someone else's half-finished plate.

And if you're hosting a meal at your place, jumping up and answering your phone (while still chowing down) while your guests try and make small talk over the din.

Hitting your teeth with your cutlery while shovelling in. To me this is like chalk on blackboard.

Not using cutlery. Yeah, total finger eating which necessitates lots of used napkins piled up around the table. Not to mention the slurps and sucking sounds. And mixed drool on chin.

Hoovering through the well laid out platters on the host`s sideboard two or three times while assuring us all “you eat like a bird, whither this weight gain?”

Texting while having a meal with friends. Usually with hands under the table thinking you are being surreptitious and clever. No, you're not.

I was always under the impression that table manners were all about respect. For myself and others. And as there is so little respect in any walk of life - politics, religion - or to put them more succintly, the theomegacorporatocracy - couldn't we all just start off with respect around the table again?

19 comments:

  1. Oh good. I am not the only one. I also hate when invited for a visit and the TV is left on across the room.

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  2. Hmm, I'm definitely not as fastidious as you. Talking with your mouth full, starting your meal straightaway, answering the phone, finger eating - not too bothered. Hitting teeth with cutlery, hoovering through the platters, texting - very bothered, particularly the last. Excuse me, could you engage with the assembled company and not with your anonymous little gadget?

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  3. I don't know what sort of people you hang out with but they sure don't sound like polite company and not the kind of people I would want to hang around with. They sound like barbarians who never had manners to start with. Ask yourself if they did. They probably never were gentlemen and ladies. It sounds like it's time to find new company. Or to exclude these people from. xox

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  4. Did this post ever resonate with me! Call me a fussbudget (or worse) but an absence of table manners causes me to question the civility of the offender and to see them as somewhat selfish.

    Someone who has recently dropped in status in my life is outrageously guilty of all of the above, except that instead of hitting his teeth with his cutlery, he makes "uhm uhm uhm" sounds in the back of his throat while he chews. He shovels the food in as if there was a time limit on how long his plate could stay on the table. He talks with his mouth stuffed to capacity. When I give him a gentle reminder and say, "Sorry, I can't understand you," he gives me a blank look. This is a man who was raised in a fairly well-to-do family and has a degree in engineering. Maybe I'm a grumpy old curmudgeon, but, honestly, this was a big factor in my needing to put space between us.

    Yes, to me, it is indeed the little things that matter. Hurumph.

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  5. I was raised to have good manners at the table and other place .Still I see no reason for the waiter in this classy diner where I take my wife to sneer when I tell him to bring us a bottle of their best plonk.

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  6. We live in an age of fast everything and instant everything including, instant nirvana. Respect? Who has the time for it? Social niceties? Are you living in the middle ages?

    And you have left out language. Four letter words, and rude gestures have replaced good language and repartee.

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  7. Oh right GM, forgot the old eternal teevee in the corner killing any conversation in the room!
    XO
    WWW

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  8. Nick:
    Oh my, far more tolerant than cranky old me!
    XO
    WWW

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  9. Irene:
    I imagined they were raised in homes that had "everyone for themselves and a boarding house reach an asset!" engraved as a motto over the table.
    And can't really be blamed. I guess.
    My parents were fastidious, as was I with my kids and grandkid.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. Sharon:
    There is one guy I know who eats like an animal in a corner of the room. It is incredibly disturbing. He can't even be with others. Or others have now abandoned him. I know I for one can't eat in the same room with him. Or probably he with me.
    I love the conviviality of friends and a good table.
    And when that is absent or a few can't share in the bonhomie, it is not worth the aggravation.
    I totally get what you had to do.
    XO
    WWW

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  11. GFB:
    Does your wife sneer anywhere else? :)
    XO
    WWW

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  12. Ramana:
    I feel close to killing for a good conversation some days. My next post will on that very topic!
    XO
    WWW

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  13. Ooh, I am tolerant, aren't I? Not so tolerant on other things though. Like people who love the sound of their own voice and people who look down on anyone not of their rarified background.

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  14. Nick:
    Thanks so much for being human after all!!
    XO
    WWW

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  15. I don't often eat with anyone other than Himself, so can't add much here.

    My own wee quibble, and I have noticed it much more in the US than the UK, is how cutlery is left after finishing eating. I was always taught to leave knife & fork neatly together "at the 5 o'clock position", which makes it easy for servers/waiters to pick up the empty plate, as well as looking neat. This piece of etiquette seems to have fallen by the wayside. Not sure it makes a lot of difference in the great scheme of things though.

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  16. I do feel you should choose your friends more carefully, WWW. I, too, abhor the very faults you described. And, I agree with Twilight. The American habit of leaving ones cutlery higgledy-piggledy all over the plate drives me to distraction (though I have drive to my distraction discreetly, so my American "better-'alf" don't catch on!).

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  17. Yes, T, I was taught the same thing. It enhances the experience so well and keeps the servers from saying "are you finished?" around the whole table.
    Also I was taught to never cut a bread roll but to break it gently. That makes sense for safety reasons too, doesn't it?
    XO
    WWW

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  18. RJA:
    Distraction is not the best neighbourhood to find yourself in!
    I remember being appalled at my first lunch here (Swiss Chalet - a Canadian roasted chicken chain) and being appalled at everyone picking up the chicken and chowing down.
    All these years later I`m still in shock. I wrote reams about the barbaric behaviour of the natives to my mother.
    XO
    WWW

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  19. "...1. Talking with your mouth full
    2. Starting to eat without waiting for others
    3. Answering the phone while others are talking
    4. Hitting your teeth with your cutlery
    5. Not using cutlery
    6. Hoovering through the laid-out dishes
    7. Texting during the meal ..."

    1. I was always taught to not talk with your mouth full. I strive not to do so and get annoyed at myself on the few occasions I have needed to do so.

    2. Starting to eat without waiting for others is something you do only when invited to do so - e.g. slow service in a restaurant, or, when the situation necessitates it - e.g. on the 'fire line' meal protocol goes out the window due to the urgency of the situation.

    3. If you haven't turned your phone off and it rings it is better to answer it and say you are busy right now and I'll call you back as soon as i'm free. if it keeps ringing - Turn it off!

    4. Hitting your teeth with your cutlery ... ????? Never really known this to occur, at least not with the people I've eaten with.

    5. Some meals/dishes you do not use cutlery - Arab cuisine are meals commonly taken without utensils, many Indian(Asian) dishes and South American dishes are eaten by hand.

    6."... Hoovering through the laid-out dishes ..." Not familiar with this expression. In Australia it is referred to as 'grazing the table' - common in buffet layouts and Bistros.

    7. "... Texting during the meal ..." - see 3, above.

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