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Please don't comb your hair, apply make-up, blow your nose. or pick your teeth at the table. Especially at a restaurant! Thanks.

Yes, seen it all, and not afraid to say I think people should excuse themselves from the table before doing any of the above. What do you think?

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  1. I agree with you on most things. But sometimes you do not have choice a but to blow your nose. Especially if you just sneezed. And I can't imagine being able to pre plan that one if it happens as it is really getting into allergy season. Sorry, but that is just MHO.

    1 Reply
    1. re: boyzoma

      It depends on which you find worse - blowing their nose, incessant sniffing, or making themselves into a tissue walrus.

      Expecting people with allergies to not eat in public is a bit much.

    2. Picking teeth is one thing. That doesn't bother me but, it's quite another to remove dentures when food gets caught underneath. It's not a pleasant sight.

      7 Replies
      1. re: mucho gordo

        Ah, I'm anti-picker. Never done at the table in my family. Matter of fact, I recall an early dinner out with my then-boyfriend-now-husband and his family. The plates were cleared and dad distributed toothpicks and the whole family set to it.

        I caught the young Duke's eye and he slowly lowered his pick.

        1. re: DuchessNukem

          If done discreetly, it really shouldn't be an embarrassment. Not doing it, however, and depending upon what's caught, eating can be rather painful.

          1. re: DuchessNukem

            Oh, his pick. At first I read it wrong.

            1. re: Veggo

              *snort*

              1. re: Veggo

                <G>Only you would come up with that.

              2. re: DuchessNukem

                But you were in HIS family's home, and if it's acceptable for it to be dine in his home, why would you "catch his eye" to get him to stop? It's probably been done in his family's home for longer than you've been around.
                Why would you think that it's already for you to suddenly berate him for it?

                1. re: Midknight

                  Oh, I am sorry, I must not have been clear when I wrote "an early dinner out" -- we were out at a restaurant during the incident described.

                  I would personally not describe an exchanged look as "berating" but perhaps you are sensitive to such. Not a problem.

                  The family certainly did continue to pick at home and away for years until all the children were grown. I never said a word to anyone but my husband; I got up and handled clearing table and dishes. Oddly, none of the four grown kids pick their teeth at public gatherings anymore.

            2. Such concerns have apparently been around since ancient times (King Tut apparently had a stipend paid to a personal nose-picker, according to some history web sites).

              But from medieval Europe, here are some instructions:

              http://medievalreader.wordpress.com/2...

              including telling you:
              "Do not claw you head or back as though you seek a flea. Not strike nor prick your hair to remove a louse ... Don’t pike your nose, not let clear pearls drip, Neither sniff nor blow your nose so that you sovereign hears it"
              don't stuff your hands into your pants to scratch, pick your ears, squirt with your mouth, lick your dish, and so on.

              They didn't say what would happen if you did, but I think the sovereign would not be pleased and would keep this in mind next head-chopping time.

              1. I am constantly amazed by threads like these.

                Blowing your nose-it happens. The rest-seriously?

                I am officially old if this is common enough problem it has to be called out.

                Now I am going to go shake my cane at those hooligans trespassing on my lawn!

                1. Since suffering a severe auto-immune response two years ago,
                  I have found my nose begins to "run" to some extent almost
                  whenever I eat. I try to be as discreet as possible in dealing
                  with it, but if I excused myself from the table every time I had
                  to blow my nose, I would never finish a meal!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ferventfoodie

                    My nose inevitably runs when I eat spicy food. I blow it as discreetly as possible. It would not be possible to take care of it by leaving the table, since as long as the food is spicy, and for a little while after I've finished it, I'd be sniffling continually, which is surely more objectionable than blowing a few times at intervals.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Me, too, and I love spicy food. Rather than blowing my nose, though, I try to dab at it discreetly. As much as I eat spicy stuff, I probably have Roto-Rootered sinuses!

                      1. re: greygarious

                        'I blow it as discreetly as possible.' that is the key which I think most numb nuts don't think about..thank you G for that and others too!

                        We just had lunch at Lotus of Siam, a famous Thai resto in Vegas and I have a major adversion to others blowing their nose with such honk and fervor..

                        It's so gross to hear and this chick was blowing her nose so loud and she was leaving the wadded up kleenexs with her mucus filled tissues on the table that she was building a pyramid..

                        I was giving her major stink eye and under my breath calling her a losebag and my DH wanted to go by when leaving and 'Crop Dust' really loud by their table when we left...that would of been funny!

                    2. I generally agree that personal grooming and taking care of hygiene should not happen at a table (not mentioned, but should be included: clipping or filing nails...eew!).

                      I am another allergy sufferer and there are times where I must wipe my nose with a kleenex if something hits me suddenly. I don't think that, or a discreet and quiet blowing of the nose should be problematic. But a loud, honking blow needs to happen away from the table and away from people who are eating.

                      I believe that it is considered acceptable for a woman to reapply lipstick at the table as long as it isn't a big production. Of course, that could be dated information.

                      1. As a wine lover and food lover in general too much cologne or perfume on a another guest seated near me has ruined meals for me.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Chinon00

                          I'm w/ y'all on the nose blowing. Just think, if the OP didn't want us to blow our nose - should we just sit there and let it run down our face? Now that's EW!

                          Ditto on the cologne/perfume. That'll make your nose run. LOL!

                          1. re: chloebell

                            Maybe they'll give us little buckets to hang off our drippy noses just before they hand us the spoons with the Amuse Bouche on them.

                            (I don't know how to spell AB, but I know drippy noses.)

                          2. re: Chinon00

                            Yeah, I'd rather have the folks at the table next to me pick their asses and scratch their crotches, than have them wear perfume or talk loudly on their phones. The former affect only them, the latter cross into my sensory experience.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Until they reach for the bread basket.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Yep agree with this. When my Mum stays, I have to remind her not to apply perfume until after breakfast otherwise I totally lose my appetite.

                              2. re: Chinon00

                                It is indeed for this very reason that servers in fine restaurants are generally forbidden to use any fragranced cosmetics. I personally enjoy wearing a bit of cologne, but if I'm going to dinner I will always use a very light cologne, use it very sparingly, and apply it a few hours before going out.

                              3. The nose blowing only belongs with the others if it's loud and demonstrative. Some people suffer from gustatory rhinitis while eating warm/hot food, and discreet noseblowing is better than chronic sniffing...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Karl S

                                  Ah, "gustatory rhinitis"--I've always just said that hot food makes my nose "run"! I try to be discreet and just dab with a tissue, never a big honking noise.

                                  1. re: pine time

                                    I don't really get a runny nose from spicy food - unless we are talking 5 alarm hot. I think if your nose gets like that - from spicy food, allegies, or whatever, you should excuse yourself to deal. You will take care of it better, and frankly we will enjoy our meal better. This is not rigid proper behavior to dismiss, this is about a meal and being fair to people who want to enjoy it.

                                    1. re: SamuelAt

                                      At least with my nose, once it starts to spice run, it's not going to stop.

                                      When your head is down over a spicy bowl of ramen, the steam and essence of gochugaru only help the requisite slurping.

                                2. A discreet and ladylike reapplication of lipstick is acceptable - anything more belongs away from the table if at all possible

                                  1. when i eat something spicy, my nose runs..... what to do?

                                    also, when my dc leaves me at the table to use the facilities, i, on occasion, discreetly reapply lipstick. i think that is acceptable.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: eLizard

                                      Same here on the reaction to spicy food. Also, allergy season (Spring & Fall here in PA) are tough. Leaving the table every time I have to blow would be as disruptive as the act itself. If course if I feel the need for a real "honk", I go to the ladies' room.

                                      My husband, God love him, is sometimes the victim of sneezing fits. We have never been able to figure out what triggers them, but they come on unexpectedly, can be loud, and are quite annoying. When this happens in a restaurant, he excuses himself from the table & goes somewhere else until the sneezing subside.

                                      Agree with the no make-up or hair combing at the table, although I've been known to sneak a little chapstick behind a discreet napkin cover.

                                    2. Regarding makeup, from Emily Post:

                                      "It’s okay to quickly apply lipstick at the table if you’re with close friends or relatives in a non-business situation, and at a non-deluxe restaurant. In general, personal grooming should be done in private for the simple reason that it can be annoying and it’s tacky. But putting on lipstick without using a mirror and without fanfare is one grooming ritual that can sometimes be performed in front of others. Still, think first! When in doubt, don’t do it, such as when you’re at a business meal or with people you don’t know very well."

                                      No one should set up a mirror and powder, pouf, and paint, but a quick slick of lipstick or looking at a compact, if done discreetly and according to the above, shouldn't offend anyone.

                                      Hair combing, however, is a disgusting thought.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: NonnieMuss

                                        "Hair combing, however, is a disgusting thought."

                                        Not nearly as disgusting as subjecting others to your "fragrance".

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          i have pretty strong adverse reactions to most alcohol-based perfumes. recntly, i was sick nearly a week from just two hours sitting next to a girl in a club who was drenched in something foul. older women especially seem to have lost the clue that they are wearing too much.

                                          i have also seen people flossing at the table which is utterly repellant.

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            Should I take that personally? :-)

                                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                                              Never.

                                          2. re: NonnieMuss

                                            this is EXACTLY what i was thinking about. i remember this advice specifically.

                                          3. What about changing one's socks?

                                            1. More things that bothered Victorians:

                                              - Let food fall upon one’s clothes;
                                              - Grasp for food across the table;
                                              - Gulp one’s meal or tea down lustily;
                                              - Pick that same meal from one’s teeth moments later;
                                              - Smack one’s lips after finishing that meal (including any bits caught within one’s teeth);
                                              - ‘Loll’ at the table; and
                                              - Misunderstand the various utensils at the table, including butter knives, salt-spoons, sugar tongs, and napkins.

                                              http://forgottennewengland.com/2011/1...

                                              "Some claim that table manners make a pleasant dining experience possible for all. Others argue that they serve as a method by which the upper classes of society can identify and further ostracize the ‘uncultivated’."

                                              1. Agree with all but the nose-blowing. But please use a tissue, not the napkin, as I have seen some people do.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                  Agree. Sometimes it is necessary to blow ones nose at the table, obviouly as discreetly as possible. If one has a cold or allergies, it is unreasonable to have to get up every time you need to wipe away a drip.

                                                2. My name is LABuckeye Fan. I'm a nose blower on a tissue if necessary, so I won't drip into my pho.

                                                  I reapply lipstick at the table, but don't pluck my eyebrows or brush my hair.

                                                  I wear perfume. Because I like it. Don't think it's overwhelming, but I like perfume.

                                                  So there.

                                                  60 Replies
                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                    Dear LA Buckeye Fan -

                                                    I have a migraine today because someone who wears perfume, presumably because she likes it, was seated near me in a restaurant.

                                                    I don't know why people like you feel entitled to stink up everyone else's environment.

                                                    So there.

                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                      I'm with Jay on this one. Freshly bathed/showered women don't need it,

                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                        Me too. Perfume was used to cover up the body odors of people at a time when they didn't bathe regularly. Some even thought bathing spread disease. When someone is doused with perfume, makes me wonder what she is trying to cover up. There are times when I almost can't breathe the smell is so strong. I love the smell of my wife's skin. Needs no perfume.

                                                        1. re: Bkeats

                                                          As you know, 'hounds have a powerful sense of smell. It is often a blessing, but sometimes others can turn it into a curse.

                                                          1. re: Bkeats

                                                            "Perfume was used to cover up the body odors of people at a time when they didn't bathe regularly"

                                                            What do you mean "was?"

                                                            Whenever I've encountered a particularly aggressive perfume/cologne in a restaurant, it's inevitably in a desperate struggle with foul b.o. And losing badly. Once, I was seated across from a couple who were not only excessively perfumed AND reeking of body odor, but their heavy wool clothing badly needed to be laundered. It was a rich tapestry of funk. I was awe-inspired by it's scope.

                                                          2. re: grampart

                                                            I'm glad you're making this decision for all bathed/showered women. Do you tell them what they can or cannot wear, too?

                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                              <Freshly bathed/showered women don't need it>

                                                              Really? Says whom?

                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                Says me. So there!

                                                            2. re: Jay F

                                                              Understood. Sorry for your migraine.

                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                Move, then. Problem solved.

                                                                So easy.

                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                  There was nowhere to move to. It was that crowded.

                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                    That's life.

                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                      Thanks. You really add a lot to the conversation. I can't decide which I like more, the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience you bring to a situation, or the gracious, helpful manner in which you deliver them.

                                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                                  I wore perfume daily many years ago. I can't for the life of me figure out why. It disgusts me now. It doesn't smell pleasant at all and I try to avoid anyone who is wearing it.

                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                    I went out for dinner Saturday night, and the restaurant was "fragranced." It wasn't an unpleasant smell--nothing Glade-y or that kind of thing. Also, the waitress was wearing the smallest amount of Fendi, which is one of my favorite perfumes for women when worn lightly (which most women don't do).

                                                                    So the place smelled nice. The food was excellent. But I was so zoned out by the end of the meal I could hardly walk straight. I had such a headache, I went home and went straight to bed.

                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                      I actually worked in a place that prohibited its employees to wear anything scented. That was nice.

                                                                      Hope you feel better soon.

                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        I'm better now. Thanks, Sandy.

                                                                        Given the scentedness of the place the minute we walked in, I'm guessing they insist their employees scent themselves up.

                                                                    2. re: sandylc

                                                                      Some of the cafes in Amsterdam have a nice aroma to them ;)

                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        i'm a perfume wearer. do you think it's safe to assume that since no one has asked me to tone it down that i'm spritzed appropriately? i'm getting paranoid now that i'm causing migraines!

                                                                        1. re: eLizard

                                                                          If you're sitting within three feet of another person, assume s/he can smell your perfume. Not everyone is going to have a negative reaction, i.e., headache, sneezing, but someone may (sneezing will be obvious, of course).

                                                                          Look for someone glaring at you next time as you are seated next to them, or they next to you, in a restaurant or theatre. That could be someone who's just hating the cloud of smell you've just visited upon them.

                                                                          I have a harder time in a theatre--obviously a full theatre is the worst--so I just don't go anymore. The last time I went to a concert, this woman was sitting next to me wearing the most unbearably sour stench of a perfume. I had to move.

                                                                          I haven't gone back, and this was probably seven years ago.

                                                                          But I like to eat out, and to the degree possible, I work not to let the stenchasauruses ruin it for me. I go early or late a lot to restaurants, for one thing. I tend not to go to ones that have tablesthisclosetogether.

                                                                          In any case, thank you for asking.

                                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                                            The thing about heavy applications of cologne or perfume is that once the person is doused, it's hard to tone it down. Scents can even maximize with body heat in a crowded theater. So when you hear people coughing or wheezing or see them grabbing a tissue it just might NOT be a cold...

                                                                            I tell my kids, if you head to a theater or indoor crowded spaces reconsider the body magic....save it for well ventilated spaces.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              "Kids," particularly boy kids, wear this just awful stuff now called Axe. It literally takes my breath away. I think there's something in it that repels people over 18.

                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                Um, MEN wear that line too. All my "kids" are over 18 and they don't wear Axe...but I hear ya.

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  When I was in high school, my shop "partner" was addicted to an abomination called English Leather. Very nasty, Horse Sweat would have been a better name. Thankfully, I only had that class twice a week. Another scent from Hell was Canoe and the female counterpart Ambush.

                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                    gramp, I recall the English Leather and a few other drug store scents from days now past. The girls in home ec could match the guys drop for drop.

                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                      English Leather was my first cologne. I didn't know any better. I wore it for one Christmas season, then tossed it.

                                                                                      Someone gave me a bottle of Brut some years later. I wore it once. Talk about nasty. It was the Axe of its era.

                                                                                      Then I discovered Eau Sauvage, which I wore until I became a chef (couldn't stink up the kitchen).

                                                                                      A few years later, perfume and cologne made me sick.

                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                        I fell in love with the scent of Bay Rum probably on my first trip to a barber shop a long, long time ago. It was never cheap and it wasn't until I was into my teens that I bought my first bottle. Over the years, I've tried some cheaper versions (Ogallala most recently), but always come back to the good stuff. I've never had anyone tell me they didn't like it and, believe me, I dated women who wouldn't have hesitated, but have received many favorable comments. I'm sure there are some who will disagree but, for me, it's the perfect scent.

                                                                                         
                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                          "[B]ut, for me, it's the perfect scent"

                                                                                          That was the basic point I made above. I mean, the perfect scent for me is probably smoke from the offset or maybe gin on my breath, but the bottom line is, no what to wear and how not to over do

                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                            We had a guy had work, I'll call John Aftershave, that you could smell before he got to you. I once paced it off and he could be smelled 50 feet away, and this is a large retail environment, nobody wanted to work near him. I'm sure LA Buckeye Fan smells wonderful, and I would love to sit next to her, but I don't get migraines. There is a lady at work I go out of the way to get a sniff as she smells so good.

                                                                                          2. re: grampart

                                                                                            OT, but fun: A friend of mine started wearing Bay Rum as cologne. It had a strange interaction with her body chemistry and made her smell like hot dogs. Weirdest thing. We worked together and for three days I kept asking "Does everyone else smell hot dogs? Where's that hot dog smell coming from?" We eventually discovered it was her. The Bay Rum went in the trash. She was mortified.

                                                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                              She should have purchased the good stuff from St. Thomas. That version put out by Nathan's is a great buy, but as you discovered, not the real thing.

                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                Nope, this was the real stuff - we worked at a fancy-shmancy catalogue that sold it. It was just her too - a lot of people there wore it and it was delightful. But on her? Hot dogs.

                                                                                                1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                  I know for sure the same scent on different women can be like night and day. I dated a NOLA girl when I lived in Biloxi who wore Jungle Gardenia. Her aroma was intoxicating and so was she. A couple years later in NJ another girl asked what scent I DID like after gently informing her the one she wore gave me a headache. She gave me a funny look when I said Jungle Gardenia, but was wearing it on our very next date. MIGRAINE time!! I found the same to be true of patchouli. Different strokes for different folks.

                                                                                    2. re: Jay F

                                                                                      With my kid, I nixed the Axe.

                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                        It was like that with me and English Leather. My father said either it went or I went.

                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                          Recently read that some school systems have axed Axe.

                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                            Don't Axe, don't tell.

                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                              Reminds me of the time when I was oh so much younger and a girlfriend gave me a bottle of a fancy cologne that she wanted me to try. So one morning after a shower I spritzed myself with one spray and all I could smell the entire day was myself. When I went up in the elevator to my desk in the morning, all I could think was that everyone was smelling the fragrance and trying to figure out who had marinated her/himself. That's the last time I tried the stuff. I could hardly breathe and i was source of my own problem. Funny thing is that bottle is still in the drawer in my bathroom. I'm sure the psycho pop analysts will have fun with that factoid.

                                                                              2. re: Jay F

                                                                                I've given myself a migraine with my own fragrance when I inadvertently put on too much or it's too hot outside! I sympathize/empathize with you.

                                                                              3. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                "Overwhelming" is determined by the smeller, not the wearer. And just as you can't really smell your own body or foot odor, similarly you can't really smell your own perfume.

                                                                                1. re: DagingKuda

                                                                                  Well played.

                                                                                  From where I pontificate, there is no understandable reason why anyone who would go out for fancy food, would perfume at all. I can't even tolerate the smell of insufficiently rinsed laundry detergent, so I realize my views may be a bit extreme. Nonetheless, I cannot fathom the idea that someone would wanna be doused in scent, dulling their noses, when they eat. If I can smell it two tables away, surely it is fouling the taste of what they are eatin'.

                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                    There is a difference between dousing and wearing. I don't think my liking to wear perfume is to compensate for my hygiene. But if you do, so be it. I don't like a strong smell of garlic, but have never posted that people who like scampi shouldn't be able to order it in any restaurant I dine.

                                                                                    1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                      <There is a difference between dousing and wearing.>

                                                                                      To be determined by the smeller, not the wearer.

                                                                                      1. re: Jay F

                                                                                        Ok. I'll wait outside the restaurant until every patron gives me the olfactory thumbs up. That or either you or I can hire a personal chef. The patrons at hometown buffet never seemed to mind.

                                                                                      2. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                        I agree with you.

                                                                                        Nobody can smell my perfume until they hug or kiss me. I bathe twice a day and I don't wear it to 'cover anything up'.
                                                                                        I wear a very scant amount, not sprayed, and it's more or less my signature scent I've been wearing for many years. It smells like fresh, clean skin.

                                                                                        I'm also very aware of women (and men too) who spray themselves like crazy, from their toes to the top of their head, and proceed to enter public eating places without any consideration for the patrons.

                                                                                        It's nauseating and my first inclination is to move as far away as possible. I've been to a few restaurants recently where the little sign outside the door states something like "if we can smell your deodorant, perfume or bath products we have no problem asking you to leave".

                                                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                                                          Thank you lantin dancer. With that, I'll show myself out. It's my week to bathe.

                                                                                        2. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                          MGZ never implied your hygiene was lacking.

                                                                                          The garlic analogy doesn't work. If you can't stand the smell of the garlic in other people's dishes, you should be avoiding restaurants which have those dishes on their menu. Your issue is with the restaurant, not the other diners.

                                                                                          1. re: LA Buckeye Fan

                                                                                            That's not really a fair analogy. If you go to a restaurant you have to expect that you're going to smell others food that is being cooked and served.

                                                                                            Wearing subtle amount of scent is one thing but I think that what most people are reacting to and commenting on in this thread are the people who wear exessive amounts of perfume. I think wearing perfume to the point of leaving a cloud of scent around you and in your wake is pretty rude honestly.

                                                                                          2. re: MGZ

                                                                                            unless i am hugging you, i shouldn't be able to smell your cologne/perfume.

                                                                                          3. re: DagingKuda

                                                                                            Anyone who can't smell their own body or foot odor needs a medical check-up.

                                                                                            I have an incredibly sensitive nose (which 9 out of 10 is a curse rather than a blessing), but I wear scented lotions and perfume. Not excessively.

                                                                                            People who have a problem with that will just hafta deal or move to a remote island, where they can live their lives all by themselves hating the rest of the civilized world.

                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                              So, despite your "incredibly sensitive nose", you've never been around someone and wondered how they couldn't realize that they smell ? Not in an elevator, not in a plane, not in a subway ?

                                                                                              It's not an issue of a medical condition. People just get used to their own smell. Since they're around it non-stop and the smell increases gradually, they acclimate to it, and don't realize what it smells like to others. But when someone else is suddenly exposed to them, that other person can smell it right away. (A food equivalent would be the use of hot sauce. People get used to their level of spiciness and may not realize how much they've increased their usage per serving over time.)

                                                                                              And the civilized world is composed of civilized people who adjust themselves so they all get along. Each person changes a little to accomodate many others in a civilized world, not vice versa.

                                                                                              1. re: DagingKuda

                                                                                                Oh, trust me. I've smelled some BAAAAD things. And you're right, I don't *get* how someone with severe halitosis, BO, or rotten cheese feet couldn't possibly have a clue.

                                                                                                I guess you're right.

                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  As someone who congenitally lacks a sense of smell, I can assure you that it is totally possible for someone not to know what they smell like. My husband is charged with telling me anytime my feet, breath or pits stink, and he's not allowed to be subtle about it. I have also told coworkers with whom I have a good relationship to let me know if they ever catch me smelling ripe.

                                                                                                  One thing I don't do is try to ensure that I smell good by wearing perfume (I do, of course, wear unscented deodorant). Perfume scares me because I have no way of knowing if I'm wearing too much, and since I don't know what it smells like, I can't be sure it's something I would WANT to smell like. DH has given me a couple of small bottles as gifts, and I'll put it on for him occasionally, but I never wear it out of the house.

                                                                                                  1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                    Wow. How do you even taste anything if you can't smell anything?

                                                                                                    That sucks.... sorry!

                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      There's very limited research on anosmia, actually, but from what I've read (and of course my own experience), when you are without sense of smell for a long time (or born without one), your tastebuds compensate so you taste more or less normally. I don't have any especially weird tastes in food, nor am I exceptionally picky, and from what I can tell, I experience the same things that other people do when tasting food (e.g., when I describe the flavor of beets, I say they taste like sweet dirt. I know a TON of other people who describe them in exactly the same way.). Also, I can sometimes smell strong-smelling things when they are warm (like melting chocolate, sauteing garlic, etc.), so it's possible that I do have some olfactory function. I've asked a zillion doctors, and they all shrug and say "nothing you can do and no way to find out what caused it."

                                                                                                      There are certain things (like many herbs) whose flavors are entirely scent-based, though, and I do have a tough time distinguishing those from one another at times. For instance, if I were tasting tomato sauces, I could tell a plain one from one that had been seasoned with a lot of herbs, but I might not be able to tell which herbs had been used. Other than that, I don't feel particularly handicapped.

                                                                                                      1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                        Whew. That's nice to know. Chowhoundery ain't entirely lost on you, then :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                          A friend of mine can't smell anything, which leads to his being able to microwave yesterday's coffee and enjoy it each morning.

                                                                                                          He likes foods that are quite hot, and enjoys the texture of meat more than most foods. And chips of various flavors get through.

                                                                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                            Well, texture is a big part of enjoying food, so that's nice to have.

                                                                                                            When you say hot, do you mean temp hot or spicy hot?

                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                              Spicy hot.

                                                                                                  2. re: DagingKuda

                                                                                                    <But when someone else is suddenly exposed to them, that other person can smell it right away>

                                                                                                    What kind of people do you hang out with, DagingKuda?

                                                                                            2. Oh and ladies - your handbags should be on the floor on on an empty chair. Please don't put them on the table.

                                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                Oh, that reminds me.

                                                                                                Men...could you please keep yourself fit and clean smelling so your overweight, fat middle isn't touching the table when you sit? Otherwise It's gross and unappetizing.
                                                                                                Thank you.

                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                  You have a deal. Just please don't ask me to wear a shirt with a collar.

                                                                                                  As noted, lightheartedly, I have a sensitive nose and it leads me to approach different things different ways and makes my point of view a bit extreme. None of this is to say that I have never smelled a hint of perfume on a lady and not thought it was pleasing.

                                                                                                  I think the biggest problem is the fact that not all fragrances are designed for all people. Folks will buy a scent because some celebrity is behind it, not realizing that it creates a pretty bad conflict with their own natural body chemistry - like bleach and ammonia. Given the fact that you, lingua, and LA Buckeye are true 'hounds, I'm certain that you all get this notion and have found the right equilibrium. Forgive my hyperbole for what it was.

                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                    :)

                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                      <all fragrances are designed for all people>

                                                                                                      Bingo. You have 'hit the nail on the head' right square in the middle.
                                                                                                      We women are the targets of billions of dollars of advertising and merchandising and up selling, etc. When it comes to cosmetics we are willing participants to the slaughter. During WW2 women would forgo bread for their families in order to purchase another tube of lipstick.
                                                                                                      When it comes to fragrance....we are always (I'm putting myself in the category of women only) looking for the latest, celebrity-made, newest and most innovative scents. The more exotic, the better. Nevermind that it may NOT mingle well with our own natural body scent, it's just been written up as *the* scent that's on Oprah's list of favorites or *this celebrity*, the president's wife wears it blah blah blah.
                                                                                                      Oftentimes our closest friends won't give us the *real* truth...it stinks.
                                                                                                      You're right on this one. Good point.

                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                        ive been wearing the same perfume for over 15 years. 10 years ago i added a second fragrance to my repetoire. i don't want to smell like paris hilton (eww) or any other celebutard.

                                                                                                      2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                        You know, I more frequently notice men with overwhelming scents/aftershaves/whatever than I do women. Most women in my profession don't go in for overpowering perfumes.

                                                                                                        And don't get me started on my teen with Axe body spray - you do not want to be near that in any food setting (I threw the spray away and he is too cheap to buy more so problem solved).

                                                                                                        1. re: tcamp

                                                                                                          The worst is when you get back your change and the bills stink of the cologne some guy failed to wash off his fingers. Casinos (Vegas and Atlantic City, in particular) are probably the most likely places to experience this abomination, but sometimes, here in NJ, it'll even happen at a 7-11.

                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                            nah. it's when your own clothing and hair stink of somebody else's cologne after that person has left your vicinity.

                                                                                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                              Like in a theater where the seats have no room side to side or front to back row.

                                                                                                              I also don't miss the years of family-friendly restaurants were bringing your diaper bag was common place. Need I say more.

                                                                                                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                Taking books out of the library is a risky proposition, because half of them stink of a previous reader's hand lotion.

                                                                                                                I like self-checkout at the grocery store for the same reason.

                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                  Library books? Hand lotion residue may be the least of the "dangers".

                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                    That's what my friend Patrick says. Please elaborate. Break me of this nasty habit.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                      I don't want to get into a detailed explanation, but let's just say books of an "erotic" nature would be the most "dangerous". There may also be "hand" lotion involved here. My advice in one word.....Kindle.

                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                        Oh, no.

                                                                                                                        Unfortunately, our library has very few books available for Kindle.

                                                                                                                        Fortunately, most books I read do not inspire lotional ministrations.

                                                                                                                        But you're very funny.

                                                                                                                    2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                      And that is why I absolutely can not bring myself to check out library books. Oookkk.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                        Don't check out vegetables either:

                                                                                                                        http://www.refrigeratorinfo.com/featu...

                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                          Oh dear Lord. I did not need to know that!!!

                                                                                                                        2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                          Or use a shopping cart.

                                                                                                                          http://www.snopes.com/medical/disease...

                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                            I did know about shopping carts...love those wipes they have at grocers now.

                                                                                                                            And let's not talk about those nasty bowling balls!!! :-)

                                                                                                                          2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                            Opportunities to strengthen our immune systems.

                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                  I had worn the same fragrance for well over a decade and received a few complements on it. Then, during a phone call from a gentlemen for another date, he requested I NOT use that fragrance. I readily agreed but was curious as to his request. He hesitantly said to me, "Do you remember that little black and white animal we saw when we pulled up to my home in the country last week-end?" Of course, I knew exactly to what he was referring! We had already been out on at least three dates by then! He proved to me that he either 1) was a real gentlemen, or 2) he really, really liked me. It turned out that it was both. (blushing rising in my cheeks now) But it got me thinking, and the next work day I asked my employer with whom I worked physically close to at times if he was bothered by my fragrance. I wasn't going to take it for granted any more that everyone liked it just because I'd received compliments on it in the past. Thankfully my employer was not bothered by it, and in fact said he found it pleasant. Whew!

                                                                                                              2. re: PhilipS

                                                                                                                this one i agree with. there's grossness on bags.... and i love my bags.

                                                                                                                1. re: eLizard

                                                                                                                  I was in a hospital the other week and needed to use the bathroom. All the public ones were unisex and I noticed a absence of hooks or a place for a bag other than the floor.

                                                                                                                  A lot of gent's cubicles don't have hooks if you want to remove your coat/jacket, so I guess the same might be true for the ladies.

                                                                                                              3. I was at conference several years ago. At lunch, I was seated with some peers from another institution but with whom I often worked. After we finished our lunch entrees and as the pre-keynote speaker began, one of the women started filing her finger nails at the table.

                                                                                                                It gets worse.

                                                                                                                Dessert and coffee brought out. She scarfed her dessert down. Then as the keynote started and we were all still eating our desserts, she slipped a foot out of a pump, pulled foot up and toward her, started filing toe nails.

                                                                                                                I did not finish my pie.

                                                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                  Well, at least she wasn't clipping them. Kinda hard to ignore that "SNIP" "SNIP" "SNIP."

                                                                                                                  And, yes, I've seen that in a restaurant. Toenails, people.

                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                    I have witnessed people clipping their nails in a restaurant on more than one occasion. It nearly made me throw up!

                                                                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                                                                      i was sitting behind a woman at a concert who was nibbling her toenails. yes. nibbling.

                                                                                                                      applause for being that limber, but i nearly barfed. we had to move seats.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                        I've come to expect that sort of behavior on mass transit, but not at a restaurant or concert.

                                                                                                                        1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                          Oh my. I cannot believe that a reasonably intelligent, socially well-adjusted adult would do that. Gross.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                            reasonably intelligent, socially well-adjusted

                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                            am not thinking she was either of those things.

                                                                                                                          2. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                            Oh dear god.

                                                                                                                        2. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                          And not one person said anything, right? I guarantee you, I would have had a comment that would make her think twice about doing such a thing ever again.

                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                            Yeah, after a drink or two, I'da taken off one of the ol' size thirteens and put my foot on her plate.

                                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                              I gave her a look (as did others), but the nature of our business relationship at the time made it difficult to do much more.

                                                                                                                          2. What about teeth sucking? UGH!!! DRIVES ME NUTS. blowing your nose at the table is gross. No two ways about it.

                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                                                                                              Tooth sucking at table calls for a public flogging.

                                                                                                                              Nose blowing doesn't bother me. I have a friend who spends the entire meal doing it because of an allergy. I guess I've become immune to it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                I think if it's someone you know well and if it's an allergy it makes it less gross. At least it's not a cold or a stranger.

                                                                                                                                1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                                                                                                  The only really annoying part of it, Lulu, is that he constantly mentions this mutual acquaintance of ours, who, if he were eating with her, he would not be allowed to blow his nose.

                                                                                                                                  Just blow it. Don't talk about it.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                    So what does he do when he is out with her? He gets up from the table?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                                                                                                      Actually, he stopped eating out with her.

                                                                                                                            2. But flossing is OK, right? (grin)

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: mwhitmore

                                                                                                                                Only with your own hair.

                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                  giggle..

                                                                                                                              2. i'd be fine with someone picking his/her teeth at a chinese restaurant (discreetly, with one hand covering the act). chinese restaurants routinely provide toothpicks at the table.

                                                                                                                                i don't think any chinese living in china / (or asia for that matter) will object to the above.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: akated

                                                                                                                                  I'm not Chinese, and picking doesn't bother me a bit, either, particularly if someone's going to try to suck little niblets out from between his teeth until he gets to his floss.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                    So was your flogging comment a joke?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LuluTheMagnificent

                                                                                                                                      Tooth *sucking* is what calls for flogging, not tooth picking. Picking doesn't bother me a bit.

                                                                                                                                2. I think everything else is going to fall on a range of people's "ick" meters and there is no one size fits all. Personally, hair combing/brushing is the only one that bothers me because of the increased likelihood of shedding in directions the person can't always control.

                                                                                                                                  In Israel is the custom in restaurants to bring toothpicks to the table (sometimes along with handwipes) after a meal. It is very common for diners to pick their teeth at the table. Banning nose blowing from restaurants (as mentioned by a number of posters) is going to rule out a lot of diners or lead to sniffling.

                                                                                                                                  Being in public means being exposed to all sorts of people's behavior.

                                                                                                                                  1. Tending to a runny nose is just fine. Just don't honk that horn like a flock of geese flying overhead!

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                                                      I think a discreet turn of the head to address a runny nose can be necessary, but anything more, even with allergies, excuse yourself and deal with it. And grooming should be private.

                                                                                                                                    2. Ok, let's add reapplying your makeup as another "why are you doing that at the table" example.

                                                                                                                                      Why good lord why do woman do this?

                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        My mother insisted on applying her lipstick at the table at any place whose ladies room was located on another level. While she was discreet it drove my father insane!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                          My SIL still takes out her compact to blot the shine and reapply her lipstick after a meal. She's super speedy, her husband doesn't mind but I just wish she would reconsider :)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          A lady wouldn't. I think ALL grooming that is done in the preparation of making oneself presentable in public is demonstrating poor manners and a disrespect for her dining companions and herself. Restrooms are available to clip the chipped fingernail and tighten the chignon. And the excusing oneself from the table to do those functions should wait until the end of the meal -- providing the chignon isn't falling out into her soup.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                            Ha! Pinky107 you are consistent! I adore my SIL irregardless of her habits. If you think her makeup application bothers me to the degree you just described, you're mistaken. Do I wish she'd reconsider (as I said) sure but I'm not her keeper.

                                                                                                                                            Good thing she wasn't sitting with you at dinner, huh?!

                                                                                                                                        3. Wow, I am surprised that so many people don't have a problem with nose blowing. I ate at a casual noodle joint with long communal tables today. The guy sitting next to me blew his nose loudly several times during the meal and I was *this close* to saying something. It's gross behavior no matter how much anyone tries to justify it. My nose was running too but instead of honking I discreetly WIPED my nose. No, wiping may not quite get rid of all the snot but it deals with the immediate problem, you see. Then after you're done eating, go to the bathroom and fully evacuate your nasal cavities to your heart's content. I mean, for god's sake, have some decorum, you nose-blowers, and spare us the quiet diners. I suffer from severe allergies and PND and my nose runs from just looking at spicy foods. I just don't think it's ok to subject fellow diners to the disgusting sounds of nose-blowing. Belching and farting at the table are also not ok! Duh.

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                                                                            Agree on all counts!

                                                                                                                                          2. How about crying at a table? My partner and I walked into a bustling Gastropub the other night. The only space open? Two seats at a community table, next to a visibly upset woman, sobbing. She was with someone else and engrossed in a conversation.
                                                                                                                                            We were too unconfortable to sit next to her. I sound insensitive. Just wondering if this has happened to others.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: globocity

                                                                                                                                              Meh, sorry for her, but if it is too personal, she should go home. I would have sat down.