This is a sore issue between me and my extremely uptight, ultra-White family. The “table manners” game. They’ve always insisted that my table manners are atrocious. I think that’s ridiculous. No one else has ever remarked on them except for one Black girlfriend, who was one of the most uptight people I’ve ever met. I actually don’t like slobs either, and I am White, culturally and obviously, but I think that at some point you are just too White.
- Putting my left wrist on the table while I eat with my right hand. I really hate the eating with one hand thing and keeping the other forearm off the table in your lap. I feel like my left arm just got chopped off!
- Finishing every last bit of food on my plate.
- Eating soup. Something asinine about eating soup that I can’t quite remember. Could it be leaning over the bowl? You’re not supposed to lean over the bowl?
- Using my left fingers as a “pusher” to help ease recalcitrant food onto my utensil. I guess I could use a piece of bread to do this, but I’m usually too lazy. Anyway, my uncle, a wealthy business owner who spent all his life having business meals, uses his fingers to push too.
- Eating with my mouth open. This accusation really pisses me off, because even I don’t think I do that! Like I said above, I’m into manners too.
Can’t think of anymore right now.
My father being dead is not a good thing, but I am glad I don’t have to listen to his table manners crap anymore.
The only one I looked up about was the “always leave a bit of food on your table.” The version I learned was the White genteel version that says you leave some food on your plate to show you’re not a pig. Also, trying to get the last scraps does tend to involve some of those “pushing” violations.
According to this article, that rule is all but dead. It’s a rule from the older generation, and at the moment in the US and around the world for that matter, it’s either out or on its way out. Around the world, manners seem to be moving in the Japanese direction: eat it all up to show how appreciative you are. The only problems are in a few countries where, if you lap it all up, the host thinks you didn’t get enough to eat, so they demand that you have seconds. In other places and in some US groups, it’s considered rude to leave any food on your plate!
If there’s one thing that sucks about being White, it’s this table manners crap. There’s no way on Earth that other cultures are as nutty about this stuff as we are.