Being a bad boy doesn’t give you license to behave like an uncivilized scrub. Whether you and your lady are at your place enjoying one of your culinary delights, or you happen to be a guest at a dinner party, or you’re out with your buddies at your favorite steak house, there are acceptable and unacceptable behaviors you simply ought to know about. So we scoured the Internet… we asked our moms… we chatted with lady friends, all to learn just what is or isn’t acceptable when dining. And we’ve posted it below for your reading pleasure.
Honestly, what would you guys do without us?
There’s only one place for the napkin. Your lap. If it’s a large napkin, you can fold it in half. Never tuck the napkin into your shirt like a bib, unless of course your date intends to spoon-feed you strained peas. Wait for the host to unfold his or her napkin before unfolding yours. At a banquet setting or restaurant, just place your napkin in your lap as soon as you’re seated.
If you excuse yourself from the table, loosely fold the napkin and place it to the left or right of your plate. Do not refold your napkin or wad it up on the table either. Now, there are those staunch stuffed-shirt types who will insist you should drape your napkin over the back of the chair. Whatever you do, don’t put the napkin in the seat of your chair. You don’t want to wipe your mouth with something your ass has been on.
Do not use your napkin to blow your nose, or clean your ears, or make naughty origami figures.
The table setting:
Have you ever sat at a table and wondered if that bread dish is yours or the guy next to you? Or grabbed someone else’s water glass and gleefully started sipping from it? Well taking a quick glance at where things are placed, and understanding basic table setting practices, can go a very long way to getting it right.
The dinner plate should be set center-aligned with its corresponding chair and one inch from the table’s edge. There may or may not be a soup/salad bowl atop the plate. Forks and napkin are to the left of the plate where knives and spoons to the right.
Your drinking glasses will be above the plate, off-center to the right. A bread plate will typically be to the left of your drinking glass.
Of course there’s no accounting for those who set their table differently. If it isn’t obvious, well… ask… or guess and make it into an adventure.
Whether serving food, or being served, it makes sense to avoid a head crash into a serving platter if you follow these simple rules.
- Food is always served from the left and plates are collected from the right.
- Food is always passed from left to right.
- If someone asks you to pass the salt or pepper, pass both together.
- Butter, spreads, dips, and other sauces should always be transferred to your plate before eating.
Whether you are with a group or with a date while dining at a restaurant, it’s important that some thought be put to ordering everything from the pre-dinner drinks, to meal courses, to wine. It’s also important to have made up your mind before the waiter starts taking your order. There is nothing more annoying than a person who keeps the waiter… well… waiting while trying to decide what to have. If you aren’t ready, let the server know you need more time.
The universal signal to let the waiter know you’re ready to order is to simply close your menu. If you sit there, with the menu open and are reading it as though it’s the next great novel, the waiter will never know you have actually made up your mind. One would think this sort of a “duh” but you’d be surprised at just how many people don’t get it. Don’t be one of those people.
If you intend to ask for separate checks, it’s always best to do so before ordering. If you wait until the end of your meal, your server will have to spend unnecessary time preparing the separate checks. Don’t be that guy who keeps everyone waiting.
Hosted dining can mean a couple things. You can be attending a dinner party at someone’s home, or you can be part of a large group at a restaurant where there is a definite host. In these cases, the host is also viewed as the “head of the table” with all the niceties that come with it.
- Seating: You should wait for your host to invite you to be seated at the table. If he or she doesn’t do that, wait until your host is seated before you take your seat at the table.
- It’s not okay to start eating or drinking before everyone is seated. Yes, others will do it. But don’t take their ignorance as a cue for you to do the same. The only exception to this is if there are ready-filled water glasses on the table. Everything else should wait until everyone is seated. Things like bread or other communal food is off limits until the host has indicated that it’s okay to help yourself.
- Conversation: Talking with food in your mouth is rude. Don’t do it. No one wants t see the contents of your pie-hole. So… if you are called upon to say something, right when you have a mouthful you should politely finish your bite before speaking. Or at minimum hold your napkin in front of your moth so no one has to see what’s going on in there. This should be a common sense thing but again, some people are just stupid.
- Finally, please-oh-please do not lick your utensils. I don’t care how good that gravy was… just don’t do it. Unless of course you happen to be dining with a bunch of baboons.
- When the meal is finished, make sure to graciously thank your host. A simple, “Bob, thanks for dinner, it was wonderful.” Should do nicely.
Eating with your hands
Is it ever okay to eat with your hands? Of course it is. But there are also times when it’s not. Consider pizza, fried chicken, a mean ole burger. How dorky will it look if you take a knife or fork to those? Just watch a European attempt to eat a double-cheese-burger with utensils and you’ll see what we mean by “dorky.” Then again, the best foods on the planet are meant to be eaten with your hands; burgers, ribs, every sandwich known to man. But… exercise some common sense here and if you can avoid using your hands, by all means do so. If you use your hands, please do not lick your fingers afterward.
Good manners go a very long way. Like we said, just because you’re a bad boy you are NOT allowed to behave in an uncivilized way. For more information about dining etiquette, peruse these other fine articles;
Now… chow down…