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Does anyone else consider this rude?

It drives me crazy when people cut up all of the food on their plate before they begin to eat. Many members of my DH's family do this (but not DH, thank goodness), and it drives me nuts. I seem to remember my mother telling me this was considered poor manners. Am I crazy, or did mom know best?

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  1. I've seen it, too. As a child was told not to do it, but it's a for sure no harm no foul thing. Bottom line, who really gives a hoot?

    1. I really don't care what others do with their food as long as it isn't disgusting or gross, however I would never do it myself. I do recall somewhere back in my manners training that a person should only cut their next bite.

      That said, now that I sometimes have to cut food for my elderly mother, I will opt for expedience by cutting up 1/4-1/2 of her plate at a time rather than cutting a bite at a time for her. Hopefully it doesn't bother others.

      3 Replies
      1. re: jlhinwa

        I have had to do that too, for children or when my dad was ill. I was thinking more of adults with no physical limitations.

        1. re: jlhinwa

          This is definitely an exception to the etiquette "rule." There are plenty of times when someone at the table needs help cutting: a child, an elderly person, a teenage boy with a broken hand, etc.

          1. re: Isolda

            Agree with the elderly / handicapped / young child exception. My steak knives are straight edge and I keep them razor sharp. I would not put them in the hands of a very young child.

        2. Considering how few people follow even the simplest table manners (like not talking with food in one's mouth), I can't get upset by those infractions that are not visually or audibly disgusting.

          1. Apparently the family thinks it is ok. I don't find it particularly rude. If this is the worst problem you have you are lucky.

            1. I have a friend who does this too. I never once thought it rude or has it bothered me.

              1. I do it at home. I read alot or surf the web when eating alone so it makes it much easier to eat my meal.

                I don't know if I ever noticed anyone else doing it. It's not even on my radar to check.

                Jerseygirl111

                1 Reply
                1. re: Jerseygirl111

                  +1; I don't do it in public, but actually it's timely you posted this thread as last night I cut up my whole plate of food and thought back to lessons of "cut one bite at a time," but for me as I usually do work or other things while eating at home, it's just easier to cut it all up and only have to use one hand. I guess it wouldn't bother me if I saw someone do this in public but I don't really ever see them do it.

                2. I guess it is just one of my own issues then! Thanks for putting it into perspective :)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: justme123

                    No! We are totally on the same page. I don't have the eat manners but it was explained to me that this causes you to "wolf down" food too quickly.

                  2. I wouldn't do it with dining companions, just because Ms. Post advised against. But I sometimes do it home alone. P.S. Didn't answer your question, did I? It's a rule violation, but a rather arbitrary rule. Agree with 'no harm, no foul' comment. I don't find it offensive, there are plenty of things I do---don't get my started about nose noises!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: mwhitmore

                      I was made to read Ms. Post growing up. When I first read the O.P. my instinct was it was not proper. Thanks for confirming something I read many, many years ago.

                      I think its one of the more minor offenses and agree there are more serious offenses committed on a regular basis. I am researching etiquette schools as we speak for both my daughters. Every once in a while I come across an extremely well mannered teenager and they just stand out and make such a lasting impression.

                      1. re: Tom34

                        Agree, and so much of this is a cheerful attitude. As a teenager, I probably had few rules violations, but I was such a mope! Not sure how schools can teach this, but I hope they try.

                        1. re: mwhitmore

                          Cheerful attitude definitely but also reserved enough to create curiosity. I think a key is teaching a teenager that after a few minutes in the spot light, give the spotlight to the elder person asking the questions by asking about their lives and what their interests are and how they became successful.

                          1. re: Tom34

                            I learned all the the concrete rules growing up. Don't cut up all of your food at once, don't speak with your mouth full, etc.

                            After I grew up and left home, I learned not to speak more than three sentences before giving the floor to someone else, to show sincere interest in what others have to say, and not to criticize/complain, etc.

                            I wish I would have learned both types of lessons at home!

                            1. re: sandylc

                              Giving the floor really stands out. I have a relative who is a retired CEO of a fortune 500 company. He is highly intelligent and at 6'3" is very imposing. He could talk indefinitely about his own experiences and people would gladly listen but he very quickly turns the spotlight to others asking about their family's, their interests, schooling or careers. He really listens and often refers to details from a conversation he had with you 20 years ago. Very refreshing change from the more common old windbags.

                              1. re: Tom34

                                Sounds like a great guy.

                                I think the definition of good manners is making others feel comfortable.

                                1. re: sandylc

                                  Sandylc, you are so right. There are people out there who may be following the "correct" protocol, but if it is done for self-aggrandizement and makes others uncomfortable it is not true politeness. Real manners are about others, not yourself.

                                2. re: Tom34

                                  which is part of why he was the CEO of a fortune 500 company

                          2. re: Tom34

                            No sure where you live but it is a "right of passage" for 5th graders around here to attend Social Dance classs which focuses on manners as well a dancing.

                            http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regi...

                            My son has done it and next year will be attedning classes here. Funny how more receptive they are when its just not their parents "nagging" them, LOL

                            http://bostonschoolofetiquette.com/in...

                            1. re: foodieX2

                              Significantly south of your location but we do have etiquette schools nearby that we are looking into. That sounds like a great program.

                        2. I do it if I'm reading while I eat.

                          1. I thought you would get more support on this one. I don't necessarily find it rude, I find it more, let's say, unrefined. I was taught, and I taught my children, to cut one piece at a time. I place it in the same league as holding a fork like one might a knife that you would thrust with. Then again, people find it rude to end a sentence with a preposition.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bobbert

                              "Unrefined".......I agree, when you see / hear a young person today conducting themselves in a refined proper manner you recall that occasion 6 months later that's how rare it has unfortunately become.

                              1. re: bobbert

                                Your second to last sentence reminds me if the people who gesture with their utensils, like pointing their knife at you while you talk. Ugh!

                              2. I am under the impression that cutting up your entire portion into small bites before eating is not the best etiquette in the world. But it isn't something that should make or break a relationship. I wouldn't mention it to your in laws. There are probably things that you do that they wish you didn't. Best to let it go.

                                1. Slicing up beautiful long pasta strands of fettuccine or spaghetti is a crime.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                    "Worse than a crime, it's a mistake.' Napoleon Bonaparte.

                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                      There is an exception to every rule. Normally you leave the strands long so you can twirl and therefore, eat them. But if you don't have mobility in your hands to twirl, then scooping up cut pieces of pasta is just as good. A little empathy goes a long way.

                                      1. re: pdxgastro

                                        @pdxgastro
                                        It would be kinder, when possible, to serve short pasta to persons without full use of their hands than to oblige them to eat cut up spaghetti, which is not easy to eat when reduce to short, slippery worms. At that point, best to put the pasta in broth to be eaten with a spoon. In both cases, the whole table is eating the same way, and the reduced-mobility person is not made to feel different.

                                        In any case, I think it's safe to assume that all etiquette pronouncements are tacitly prefaced by a disclaimer along the lines of "except when there are overriding health issues."

                                        1. re: mbfant

                                          Yes, some people have only one hand, or one (temporarily or permanently) functioning hand. I had a shoulder injury ("frozen shoulder") some years back and really couldn't use the matching hand. I used clean scissors to cut meats and vegetables, and also when cutting up herbs.

                                      2. re: Chinon00

                                        Well, now i have to agree with that one, but it's less awful to me than people who chew with their mouths open, and almost all my in-laws do that, I don't know how that didn't get passed along as verboten, since there were five kids in the family. Most of them would also suck air through their front teeth before, during, and after eating, which has built up in my mind as a real hot-button issue. The only time I ever saw any angst about cutting up food was when my FIL was near the end of his end-stage cancer, and his daughter began to cut up his meat for him before it was served one meal. MIL came as close as she ever did to snapping at her "Don't cut up his food!" meaning to leave him his dignity since he was able to do it himself. That's the only time i've ever seen it be an issue. Maybe it's happened and I didn't notice, because it's low on my "rudar". But I have to deliberately not notice when they cut up their pasta or I'd end up hanging from the ceiling by my teeth if I thought about it.

                                        See? Everybody's a little bit different.

                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                          "rudar" -- brava!

                                      3. speaking as the mother of someone with OCD... no, it's not rude if it allows the persona way to eat!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rmarisco

                                          And as the wife of a stroke survivor, I will say the same. Be glad they are able to eat at all! Better than a tube.

                                          1. re: coll

                                            A dear friend has terrible temors and asks for his food to arrive already cut up for him. Should he stop ordering a steak and enjoying a nice steakhouse..no!

                                            This friend would say to me, there's usually reasons for everything. Live and let live or just learn not to judge others. He's right.

                                        2. Not rude, just kind of crude. I have a man and his two grown sons for dinner once in awhile. The young ones do that but I think they were never taught otherwise. (No mom involved.)

                                          1. It is not what I was taught as good manners, at least not good manners for a caucasian American. Now before anyone gets upset, I am not trying to be racist, but other cultures have other expectations.

                                            I have friends of different cultural backgrounds who find it rather offensive to be served a big slab of meat (i.e. a steak or chop, or even a chicken breast) and then expect the person eating to cut it up at the table. One of them once told me that butchering should be done in the kitchen, not at the table, and to be forced to do such one small piece at a time while eating made them sick to their stomach.

                                            There are a variety of reasons to cut off a bite at a time having to do with keeping meat juicy, preserving the appearance of the dish, etc. But just like the 'rule' about breaking apart the bread and only buttering what you are about to place (as one whole piece) in your mouth rather than biting off a hunk and ripping it away from the larger piece with your teeth, this seems to be a rather minor point of etiquette.

                                            Still, if I were interviewing for a job and was taken to a restaurant, I would want to know that my potential boss could possibly be offended, and that calling him a 'bloodthirsty barbarian' for eating in this manner might not be the best career move I ever made.

                                            23 Replies
                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              KaimukiMan, I would be very interested to learn which cultures find it offensive to be served a large piece of meat on their plates. I've never heard this before and would welcome the opportunity to learn something new. You never know when knowing this kind of information could be useful (and perhaps important)!

                                              1. re: lisavf

                                                One of the last Gourmet printed episodes (or within the last year, anyway) had an article about a group of professional Chinese chefs from various parts of China visiting some USA professional chefs. It was fascinating. They were truly horrified at the huge portions of nearly-raw meat they were served, raw vegetables (salads) shocked them too, and I wish I could remember more of the article, I hope i still have it somewhere. Anyway, it was amazing to me, and a little bit embarrassing to think about everybody I know who's been to China and complained bitterly about the food and its preparation. I do remember a near-quote from one of the Chinese chefs, something like "I fear I will turn into a savage if I keep eating so many raw vegetables".

                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                  Here:

                                                  http://www.gourmet.com/magazine/2000s...

                                                  and as a bitly:

                                                  http://bit.ly/XMdtv2

                                                  1. re: Kris in Beijing

                                                    Thanks! Fascinating.

                                                  2. re: EWSflash

                                                    That article rings a bell for me. I will have to go digging in the basement.

                                                  3. re: lisavf

                                                    I don't know about offensive, but cultures where large hunks of meat is not served is pretty much any culture that does not have knives as a regular dining utensil. Without knives as a regular dining utensil, what are they supposed to do with a large hunk of meat at the table?

                                                    For example that would include chopstick users, people who eat by picking up small items with a bread... So off the top of my head, a lot of East Asia, South Asia, Horn of Africa, North Africa, native South American and native Central American...

                                                    The absence of knives may not be related to chopsticks or eating with bread. For example the Indonesian dinner setting has a fork and spoon; fork in the left hand, spoon in the right and the fork pushes food onto the spoon. In part due to the historical symbolism of the Kris in Indonesia, Indonesian culture developed such that to bring/have/use a knife at the dinner table is rude, so large hunks of meat are not served. Thailand also has a fork and spoon place setting, no knife, so you can pretty much add a lot of South East Asia to the list also!

                                                    1. re: khuzdul

                                                      The ancient Romans served food in bite-size pieces. Knives were reserved for the kitchen. Forks existed but only for serving, not eating. The table was set with spoons with a point at the end of the handle -- useful for spearing food or extracting snails.

                                                      1. re: khuzdul

                                                        Interesting comments!

                                                        1. re: khuzdul

                                                          So do the Philippines.

                                                        2. re: lisavf

                                                          Mostly Asian and Pacific Cultures. That one particular comment was from someone born and raised in the Philipines, but I have also had Chinese friends tell me that nothing on your plate should be too big to go in your mouth for a "formal" occasion.

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            Thanks, all! Very interesting and good information to know.

                                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                              K'man,

                                                              You make a great point.

                                                              In a thread, on another dining forum, many chefs (mostly from France), indicated that if ANY dish that they served, needed to be cut up, more than once, they had failed.

                                                              Much of that discussion was around salads.

                                                              Hunt

                                                              1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                LOL! but the Japanese want you to eat the entire Nigiri Sushi in one (BIG) bite!

                                                                1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                  It is funny sometimes to watch people eating sushi for that reason. It looks awkward to see them navigating the usually ungainly and sometimes large pieces into their mouths. Quite the production.

                                                                  1. re: VenusCafe

                                                                    except! nigiri in japan are not the super-sized nigiris or even the huge "rolls" we have in the usa. nigiri in japan are truly one-biters

                                                                    1. re: ritabwh

                                                                      Americans supersize everything. Seems like there is always a more-is-better attitude about so many foods that are normally served is smaller sizes or portions in their native habitats. It's a deeply embedded part of 'American culture' (a term which itself defines the word 'oxymoron').

                                                                      1. re: The Professor

                                                                        Reminds me of David Chang struggling to finish his bowl of ramen in Japan (PBS The Mind of a Chef).

                                                                        Japan may have its bit size foods, but that doesn't mean they don't eat large portions of other things. That could, I think, be said of most cultures.

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          Of course it can be said of most cultures. But admitting that would take away an easy swipe at America, which seems to be a favorite amongst many chowhounds.

                                                                          1. re: donovt

                                                                            Being a little of everything makes us an easy target.

                                                                            1. re: donovt

                                                                              Yes. That means you're "sophisticated."

                                                                          2. re: The Professor

                                                                            "It's a deeply embedded part of 'American culture' (a term which itself defines the word 'oxymoron')."

                                                                            I take exception to that.

                                                                            1. re: The Professor

                                                                              It is kind of like the old "dating game," "spin the bottle." So very much depends on to whom the bottle points.

                                                                              It is simple to extract a certain sub-set, to make your point, but that excludes other sub-sets, so suddenly truth takes a back seat.

                                                                              As to the first part of your statement,

                                                                              <<Americans supersize everything>> again, you are referencing a certain subset, to make your point. I would suggest that you get a better handle on "Americans," and not be so prone to over-generalizations - some do, but others do not.

                                                                              Most of my restaurant reviews cover portion size, and I grade DOWN when they are too large. I also happen to be an American, and cannot recall ever have complaining that portions were too small, while it does seem that some always do, regardless of size. Still, we are NOT all the same, regardless of what some might have led you to believe.

                                                                              Hunt

                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                The "Professor":
                                                                                Ah nice generalization. Your ignorance makes it too difficult to become insulted by this comment.

                                                                    2. No. When eating together at the table we all have are ticks. You have to be grateful just to be with family or freinds.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: emglow101

                                                                        agree with you emglow.
                                                                        grace and gratitude are valuable attributes.
                                                                        knowing how to separate the important from the unimportant can lead to a much happier life . . . .

                                                                        1. re: emglow101

                                                                          ...and grateful to even HAVE food on the table.

                                                                        2. Unrefined, yes. Rude, not really.

                                                                          I guess it's like I'd break a small piece off my bread and butter it. I'd find it very strange if someone was to break his/her bread into little pieces on the bread plate. But that'll be *their* preference.

                                                                          1. I don't think it's rude, just childlike!

                                                                            1. WOW! I certainly didn't think this would generate such discussion. I know I am blessed to have food, family and fun. As I said in reply to someone else's post on this topic, I wasn't talking about people with physical limitations. I had to cut up my dad's food when he was ill.

                                                                              I was asking if I was off-base for thinking it rude. And I found out I was. Thanks, again, for keeping me grounded.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: justme123

                                                                                lots of replays, but an amazing level of consensus. Not the best of manners, but not something to get upset about.

                                                                                1. re: justme123

                                                                                  Thanks for asking the question, justme! I learned a good deal too.

                                                                                2. We call those cut-up pieces "Schäfchen", which are "little Sheep" in English. This is something I would do for my young Grandchildren/Children - when they are/were too little to use a knife, I cut it up for them and perhaps add a little condiment or embellishment on top as in the case of sandwiches.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: RUK

                                                                                    Aw, man. You just brought up childhood memories of mine. They were called "Schäfchen" when I was growing up, too. Sandwiches cut into little slices. Thanks for that :-)

                                                                                    RUK FTW!

                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                      :-) back to you.

                                                                                  2. emily post-types do consider it poor etiquette.

                                                                                    i don't like it, but find many other things more offensive.

                                                                                    plus, it makes your food cold faster.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                      nailed it.

                                                                                    2. I don't pay attention to what other diners (not at my table) do in terms of cutting their food. I was trained as you were and taught my daughters the same.

                                                                                      The reasons for not cutting all your food at once:

                                                                                      #1 it will get cold
                                                                                      #2 taking time to put the fork down from the right hand, lift the knife in the right hand, use the fork in the left hand, etc. all takes time. It slows the pace of the meal and makes the experience dining, not just eating. This allows natural breaks for conversation during the meal, as there is not always food immediately available to put in one's mouth.

                                                                                      Moms always know best, fathers too...............

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                        Yesssss! I don't like FF thru the commercials either! No natural break for conversation or anything!

                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                          The "crisscross" method does help prevent the shoveling of food into the mouth.

                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                            Of course, taking breaks for conversation is not reliant on not cutting all one's food at one time. It's quite possible to do that with a plate of pre-cut food, too.

                                                                                            I have dined with no pre-cutting shovelers as well as pre-cut slow-paced eaters.

                                                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                                                              Most American diners, with whom I have had the pleasure to break bread, cut individual portions, when it is time to eat such. They do not cut up everything at once.

                                                                                              The exceptions to that have been with an invalid parent, who could not cut her food, or a small child, equally impaired. Adults, in my company, never do the "cut everything at once."

                                                                                              Now, obviously, I have not dined with all US residents, so can only speak for a certain few.

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                          2. Depending on what is being served, sometimes I do it both at home and in public. For example, specifically, when served shrimp I will remove the tail shell from all the shrimp and put the shell aside. When I have shellfish, I remove the shellfish meat and stack the shells on the shell discard plate if provided. When I get a hunk of meat with a huge bone, I de-bone my meal. It is more efficient, far less messy, neater and in general less gross to me to do this before eating than to have to pick through the meal for the inedible bits while eating. I was never taught that it was bad manners, nor do I consider it to be so. What is rude about it?

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: khuzdul

                                                                                              I think it's totally fine. You are acting to minimize the mess on your hands. It seems much more civilized than mucking them up every other minute. How enjoyable can that be?

                                                                                              Jerseygirl111

                                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                unless you're in some sort of frenzy, how "mucked" do your hands get while using a knife and fork?

                                                                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                  I think she's talking about the shelling cooked shrimp and other seafood, sans knife and fork, part of the post.

                                                                                            2. Unusual, yes. Rude, not hardly, unless you consider rude anything that bugs you.

                                                                                              1. No, I don't consider it rude. I can't work out who it might be rude towards. It might be a bit of an odd way to eat a meal but it's hardly going to affect anyone else that I can see.

                                                                                                1. I've never been told otherwise, but I would consider it "playing with your food", something kids do. I cut one piece at a time.

                                                                                                  1. Not rude. Not polite, and poor etiquette, but not rude. Sort of like using the salad fork for the fish course.

                                                                                                    1. I can't imagine ever considering this rude. I know I grew out of cutting all my food, but remember watching my mother still do that when I prepared her dinner at my house.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                                        Perhaps it's just that she got into the habit of doing it when her children (you, for one) were too young to cut their own food. It may be interesting to ask her about it. I guess I don't understand what it means to grow "out of cutting all my food". I'm guessing that somewhere along the line you read or were told that grown-ups don't do that.

                                                                                                        1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                          More like I attained the motor skills needed to do things for myself, like cut my food and tie my shoe laces.

                                                                                                      2. i think if you cut up all of the food on the plate it is conducive to shoveling the food into your mouth. i know some folks who will take a plate of fried eggs and hasbrowns and mash them all together and proceed to shovel the food into their mouths.
                                                                                                        it was a bit startling the first time i saw this technique. so i agree that it is not rude but rather unrefined. it brings to mind of people who are very very hungry and eat their food very completely and quickly.
                                                                                                        please do not confuse this shoveling food with the asian method of bringing the bowl up to the mouth and "shoveling" the food into the mouth with chopsticks.

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                          I know what you mean. I once watched (from a slight distance) a woman at work mashing up her pancakes and sausages with her fork. She had the plate about ten inches from her face while she was watching other people work, and then she began shoveling it all into her mouth as fast as she could. It was like watching a train wreck, I couldn't look away. But it was pretty gross.

                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                            I watched a woman the other day who shoved food into her mouth at a dizzying pace, even before her dining partner received his food. Her legs were the skinniest I have ever seen and she had the back end of a small child. I felt sad and wondered if I should block the bathroom door so she couldn't....take care of things.

                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                              Careful about such a judgement. A good friend of mine is teeny tiny and consumes amazing amounts of food. She is a dancer so I know she burns a lot of it but part of it is just her metabolism. I know she doesn't 'take care of things'

                                                                                                              1. re: MissBubbles

                                                                                                                Been there. Was too skinny for decades and gobbled large amounts of fattening foods and a ton of calories daily.

                                                                                                                This woman was neither naturally skinny, nor was she a dancer or an athlete. I felt bad for her; she had hollowed eyes and a sad air about her.

                                                                                                                1. re: MissBubbles

                                                                                                                  Good point. I know a woman who has a rare metabolic disorder. She is 5'6" and weighs about 90 pounds. She looks horribly unhealthy (bad hair, sunken eyes, dull skin tone, etc.) despite eating approx 4,000-6,000 calories a day. I learned that it is not necessarily a good thing to be able to eat whatever you want and not gain weight. :-(

                                                                                                            2. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                              Then wouldn't it be the shoveling of the food that is rude, not the cutting of all the food?

                                                                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                                not rude, but "unrefined" as another poster said.
                                                                                                                i think most times, except for the exceptions mentioned, pre-cutting the food is the first step to a quick and efficient way to get the food into the mouth, rather than "dining".

                                                                                                              2. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                HA! That's exactly why I picked up the habit. Decades of working in restaurants and eating dinner while working taught me to cut up all my food first so I could eat it quickly when I had the time. I still do it at home sometimes, but never in public. I especially love anything I can eat out of a bowl, rather than a plate.

                                                                                                                1. re: hilltowner

                                                                                                                  sometimes when i am "multi-tasking" such as reading or at the computer, i will pre-cut my food or have food that does not additionaly require a knife along with the fork/spoon. it is so much easier to get the food to my mouth without thinking about it. i would like to point out this method is a bit different that the focused shoveling of food into the mouth. i would say this is more like unthinking mechanical delivery of food to the mouth, similar to eating potato chips while watching tv or reading, etc. etc. etc.

                                                                                                              3. As an etiquette rule in our culture, it's one of the lesser ones, and we need not rush to the barricades in its defense. The idea behind the rule is twofold (i) this practice can make it easier for people to Hoover their meal leaving all the other guests out of pace (something that won't tend to happen as noticeably at the family table if this is a family-wide behavior), which is a somewhat deeper form of rudeness (the deeper rule is that all at table should eat and partake of conversation at roughly equal moderate pace), and (ii) more practically, it derives from the more basic rule that discourages any behavior that draws attention to oneself at table (the practical effects of which vary from culture and table to culture and table).

                                                                                                                Now, the Chinese have a rather different approach: all (or almost all) food comes to the table pre-cut in sizes ready for the mouth - but equally for everyone, so that the more fundamental etiquette rule that transcends cultures is still observable.

                                                                                                                1. Two of my school age buddys went to visit the other's grandmother in Germany once. While finishing his vanilla icecream/chocolate sauce after dinner, he swirled the melting icecream with the sauce. The grandmother reminded him that was verboten at the table.
                                                                                                                  You got to really pick and choose your battles...

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: 3MTA3

                                                                                                                    Oma would have gone batshit had she seen me lick the last of the sauce from the bowl.

                                                                                                                  2. I don't consider it rude, but a bit unrefined.

                                                                                                                    I wouldn't do it myself because the food will get cold more quickly. I find that most food from cultures that do not provide a knife tend to be served in bowls, which I find keeps the food hotter longer.

                                                                                                                    1. If this was indeed rude, I wonder what the folks at Peter Luger would have to say about this ...

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                        That's part of the table service! You wanna da jus?

                                                                                                                      2. Yes, and it is still considered poor manners.

                                                                                                                        Many UK/Euro tourists comment on this behavior, and I understand their concern.

                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                        26 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                          I presume that those who do this find it helps them in the American way of using cutlery. For Europeans, the way we hold knives and forks for eating means there's no advantage in cutting everything up at the beginning.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                            this answer makes so much sense. i wonder how amercans developed the cut-put knife down-switch fork to right hand-stab food-eat method?

                                                                                                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                              I stopped eating the American way the minute I noticed someone eating the European way, many years ago.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                http://www.hospitalityguild.com/Histo...
                                                                                                                                "Interestingly, this birth of blunt-tipped knives in Europe had a lasting effect on American dining etiquette. At the beginning of the 18thCentury, very few forks were being imported to America. However, knives were being imported and their tips became progressively blunter. Because Americans had very few forks and no longer had sharp-tipped knives, they had to use spoons in lieu of forks. They would use the spoon to steady food as they cut and then switch the spoon to the opposite hand in order to scoop up food to eat. This distinctly American style of eating continued even after forks became commonplace in the United"

                                                                                                                                Another place claims that Europeans switched their use of fork and knife in the 19th c. But the American upper class was busy trying to educate the masses, and thought it would be confusing to follow suit.

                                                                                                                                1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                  Emily Post called this the zig-zag method and thought it was inefficient

                                                                                                                                  http://www.chow.com/food-news/62024/s...

                                                                                                                                2. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                  what you've said is exactly what i have read, in an encyclopedia, as a kid: that the "american" way of eating is to cut up all the meat into bite-sized pieces, and then eating them with only a fork; versus the "british" way of eating with a knife and fork at the same time.

                                                                                                                                  quite interesting to see all the (presumably) americans here refuting this (i'm neither american, nor british).

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                    There is if a young child or an elderly adult who are not able to cut their food (meat) as they eat their meal is the reason for cutting up their food at the beginning of the meal. I have not noticed this 'problem' to be a problem.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                                      I do agree. Though I am sort of ambi-continental, regarding the use of flatware, I hate receiving a dish, that must be cut apart, Ad infinitum, to eat.

                                                                                                                                      In the US, I often encounter things, like an entire wedge of lettuce, that is presented uncut.

                                                                                                                                      Salads seem to be the worst offenders.

                                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                        I suspect most of us have had a steak or piece of meat in mind. Some mention the food getting cold when cut up.

                                                                                                                                        A salad, or even pasta, that is in pieces that are too large to eat with fork alone is a some what different story. Often I will cut that kind of dish with multiple knife strokes all the way across, steadying it with the fork, or even passing the blade through the tines of the fork.

                                                                                                                                        Or how about potatoes? I will spend a while at the start of the meal preparing a baked potato for eating. I also cup up boiled potatoes into bite size pieces, and then add the seasoning (gravy etc).

                                                                                                                                        I noticed that Emily Post wrote about using the knife to mash your potatoes.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                          Depending on the shape of the steak, I might end up cutting piece 1, then cutting that, to eat. The second piece comes next. Cutting out a perfect, bite-sized piece of all steaks, can be a bit difficult - like creating a jig-saw puzzle from a photograph. Still, that should not be construed as cutting the steak completely, all at once, or at least in my book, it should not.

                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                          I hate salads that I have to cut. For one thing, most restaurants supply you with a salad fork, but no knife. Which means I have to use my dinner knife, and then I have the problem of where to put it when they clear the salad plates. I think salads should be easy to eat.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                            lick it clean and put it back on the table. :)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                              Nice :)

                                                                                                                                            2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                              I agree!

                                                                                                                                              Several years ago, I was conversing with the owner of a Relais & Chateaux property, with a Michelin 1-star restaurant. We discussed salads, and his comment was, "if a patron needs to cut their salad, then my chef did not do his job."

                                                                                                                                              Personally, I wish that more felt the same way.

                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                            3. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                              <<I hate receiving a dish, that must be cut apart>>

                                                                                                                                              especially when you are hosting a business meal.
                                                                                                                                              cutting up and arranging food is a distraction.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                I encounter "deconstructed salads" often and they drive me crazy. I do not want to have chop my own lettuce, dice my own carrot and vegetables so that I can eat them together as a sald. When I order a salad, I want to be able to pick up a fork and simply eat the salad! I understand large items may look pretty on the plate, but if you eat first with your eyes, my eyes are too often tasting work and irritation.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  hunt's comment makes me think of american food. a dish that must be cut apart ad infinitum immediately brings to mind the hunk of a one lb steak on a plate. i don't think many other countries serve such large pieces of meat, besides....maybe...australia?
                                                                                                                                                  so it suddenly makes sense to me why cutting up all the food might be an american thing?
                                                                                                                                                  the bigger the hunk (steak, lettuce wedge etc) on a plate, the better, signifying wealth and prosperity?
                                                                                                                                                  ---just thinking out loud.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                    There was a thread some time ago where some people were complaining about the new trend of slicing steak before serving it in U.S. restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                      I don't think it's a new trend at Peter Luger's.

                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                        for some reason i thought the pre-sliced steaks at the steak houses were intended to be shared and served on a platter.
                                                                                                                                                        at least that is how it appeared to me when i would see these restuarants featured on a tv show .
                                                                                                                                                        aren't most of the steaks at luger are at least 1 pound?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                          Not sure, but Luger's has been on my bucket list since before I ever heard of a bucket list. I better hurry while I still have all my teeth!

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                        I am seeing more of this, and not just in the US. Recently, we encountered it in Paris, London and then in a tiny village in Burgundy.

                                                                                                                                                        Personally, so long as the beef is cooked well (not well-done), and is of a correct proportion, I have no complaints.

                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                          The Tuscans, who know and respect their steak, have been serving tagliata di manzo for generations. It is very rare steak served in slices cut across the grain.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                          My days of eating a one pound steak are mostly over (12 ounce ribeye about once a year) but I would never cut up the steak into bite-size pieces all at once. The juices would run all over the place all at once.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                            big steaks are not uncommon in brazil or argentina.

                                                                                                                                                            while i don't order them often, i despise getting a steak that is sliced. it gets cold too quickly.

                                                                                                                                                            there was a place that served a great burger and served it cut in half. hated that too, so would order it "not cut", which frequently brought a "face" from the bartender, lol.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                                              Often, I urge restaurant owners and chefs to offer smaller cuts of beef, and especially if there are plenty of side dishes, or previous courses.

                                                                                                                                                              I am not of the mind that some are, and do not see the likelihood of dining at the Big Texan, and challenging a 72 oz cut of beef. Just not my thing.

                                                                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                                                                      3. Watching strangers eat is fascinating to me.

                                                                                                                                                        I observed a lady yesterday eating chicken and waffles. She removed the chicken from atop the waffle and cut both chicken and waffle into bite size pieces by holding the food down with her bare left hand and using the knife in her right. She ate it by dipping each piece into syrup with her fingers.

                                                                                                                                                        Her teenage son had what looked to be about a 3/4 pound slab of (apparently very firm) meatloaf. He ate it by bringing the whole thing to his mouth on the fork and taking bites of it.

                                                                                                                                                        I agree with others that cutting up all the food first is more "low class" than rude. Assuming of course that there is no particular reason for doing so.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I think this "issue" falls into the same class of infraction as the failure of men/boys not removing their hats while at the table. For sure, it would have been a serious transgression in my family when I was a kid and I don't remember seeing it even in the NJ diners of the 1960's (including truckstops). However, when I moved to FL in the late 70's, I began to see it more and more often and, here in GA (especially at the Waffle House) it's quite common. It does no harm to anyone, women can get away with it (I think), yet I'm sure it would rankle a whole lot of folks maybe a lot more than cutting up all your food before eating.

                                                                                                                                                          81 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                            When you remove your hat, where do you put it?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                              I usually leave it in the car.......except at the Waffle House.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                I hate hats. They can get dirty and sweaty and gross, and I'd rather people who wear them keep them on their heads rather than putting them on restaurant tables or seats.

                                                                                                                                                                Of course, I get squicked out when I see children standing on seats in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                  Some places have a hook or hat clip.

                                                                                                                                                                  As a teacher I am super sensitive to the hats indoors thing.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                    Do you live in a climate where hats are necessary much of the year? I do. But I certainly wouldn't wear one at table.

                                                                                                                                                                    Though people undergoing chemotherapy or afflicted with other causes of alopecia are exempt from this rule.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                      At table is very iffy. At counter, not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                        I wear hats very often, but always remove them, when entering most interiors.

                                                                                                                                                                        As a very light-complected person, who spent his younger life outdoors, life-guarding, playing golf, competitive tennis, fishing and skiing, I suffer from problems - skin cancer. My dermatologist will never be without work, so long as I live.

                                                                                                                                                                        Still, I would never wear my hat inside a restaurant - just not proper. I also do not place it on the table, though might on an unused chair. Usually, I place it atop my briefcase, which is not on the table either.

                                                                                                                                                                        Besides, I like the way that I look in my hats - maybe 6 Panamas, 4 Eucadorians and a dozen felt fedoras.

                                                                                                                                                                        Too bad that more restaurants do not make allowances for hat. Same for airlines!

                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                  <failure of men/boys not removing their hats while at the table>

                                                                                                                                                                  There are a few restaurants here in LA that do not allow men to wear hats in their restaurant. I'm not sure about the women.
                                                                                                                                                                  I witnessed an entire popular hip hop group escorted out of the restaurant because they refused to remove them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                    Still relatively rare up North for now. Only excusable for covering illness (cancer) or disfigurement.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, I have to weigh in on the "hats on at the table" discussion.
                                                                                                                                                                      Here in ranch country it seems quite acceptable to wear a real cowboy hat at the table(obviously excluding high end dining) but a "no-no" to wear a ball cap. As a rancher, I do often wear my hat at the table but it depends on the situation & I do exercise discretion. If I`m dining with guests of "a certain age" I do tend to remove my hat with due respect.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rancher rick

                                                                                                                                                                        I think "real" cowboys should be able to wear a cowboy hat at the table and a real major league baseball player should be able to wear a baseball cap.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                          i've dealt with many "real" major league ballplayers and they don't wear their caps in restaurants.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                            Um, no. Real cowboys know to remove their hats indoors. I have no experience with baseball players, but I imagine they do the same.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                              You are right. If it's a bar or dive joint, I suppose it's ok to wear a cowboy hat indoors. But if it's a reputable restaurant or other respected establishment, then it is not ok to wear a hat indoors.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, in a honky-tonk, totally OK, but in a home or restaurant, never.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, yeah, I know. Gentlemen remove their hats whether cowboys, baseball players or hip-hop recording artists. I was just kidding. I see this degenerating into a subthread complete with references to Amazonian tribes who consider it an insult not to wear some sort of headdress while otherwise sitting in the nude eating monkey - which has been cut into bite sized pieces of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                  But you know they don't eat mutilated monkey meat in the Amazon!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Don`t mean to labor the point here but I know lots of "real" cowboys who do wear their hats indoors.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Do you happen to be a "real" cowboy?
                                                                                                                                                                                  I`m not sure that this is a cardinal social transgression.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: rancher rick

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, no, in this country a gentleman does not wear a hat indoors. Obvioiusly this rule has all but disappeared. Not sure if there's a practical reason behind it or not - ??

                                                                                                                                                                                    EDIT: Oh, but I have to say that I am sick of baseball-type caps. I am sure that the majortiy of them are stinky and they are rarely flattering and for goodness' sake, do you guys HAVE to wear them ALL OF THE TIME?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                      http://americancowboy.com/poll/it-rud...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                        Growing up we were never allowed to wear a hat at the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll stop wearin' a hat when ladies stop wearin' pony tails. Each is simply a way of coverin' up bad hair, no?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                            No.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                              Then correct me. What is the purpose of a pony tail?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, is it OK for a woman to wear a pony tail through a baseball hat in public? Is it wrong for anyone to leave on a baseball hat when they go indoors?

                                                                                                                                                                                              Old school etiquette allowed women to wear hats anywhere but men had to take e'm off after crossing the threshold. Should I remove my hat when I go into the grocery store? The liquor store? A dive bar?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't care where you wear your hat, personally.
                                                                                                                                                                                                I do, however, know of a few restaurants where I live that require a man to take off his hat once he sits down at the table and the restaurants aren't considered 'fine dining'. I personally, like certain hats on men. Cowboy hats, on a real hardworking cowboy? Nothing sexier in my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                My hair is long enough to wear a ponytail. But wearing one doesn't necessarily mean I'm having a 'bad hair day'.
                                                                                                                                                                                                It depends on what I'm wearing, where I'm going, if I want it off my face, if I'm working in the field...a number of factors come in to play. I've never worn a ponytail with a baseball cap that I can remember but women do it all the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've been known, if you've taken a look at women and personal styles, to wear a ponytail albeit a well-designed ponytail, to a formal affair with a gown. It just looks better with the style of the gown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                If just depends on the woman, her style, and what she likes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                  When my hair was still long, I used a baseball cap for fundamentally the same "keep it off my face" reason. So, to that extent, should I have had to remove it once I entered a place? Sat down to eat? What is the rational basis for such a rule? Now mind you my long hair, on me, looked more Nick Mangold than David Gilmour, but if I was just tired of it floppin' in my face or gettin' blown around in the wind, why should anyone have an objection to my keepin' the hat on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Mine looked a lot like this, but I was blonde, much younger and WAY better looking. A hat just didn't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This questions has been asked and answered many times. Based on so many of your replies my guess is that you enjoy being disagreeable, LOL By all means keep your hat on no matter where you are if it makes you happy, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                        If it's disagreeable to question silly rules, than I spose I am. Luckily, I'm in good company. Recall that we live in a Nation founded by men who questioned silly rules and then was further shaped by others, men and women, who questioned the silly rules those men decided upon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Allow me to say this...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There *are* areas of this country, towns and cities, where chivalry and manners and "silly rules" are still practiced. The men practicing these rules are handsome, sexy, kind, hardworking, thoughtful and really do it without much thought. They walk into a business, home and take their hat off.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          It just feels right to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Agree, LD.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would hope that anyone visiting there would respect that and remove their hat upon entering someone home or business.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, as is apparent on this thread and others, there are many that wouldn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are parts of this Country where, "without much thought", guys think lotsa things are fine. It's the lack of thought that can sometimes make it dangerous. But, I'm glad to see you're advocating the idea of doing what "feels right" - especially when there's thought behind it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Are you that guy, when everyone at a wedding is wearing the traditional shirt, tie and jacket, decides it's *his* style to wear no tie and jacket and maybe throw in an old worn out pair of sneakers or boots? There's that slight bit of rebellion in his eye and swagger as he watches to see if anyone's watching and reacting?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nobody's going to tell him how to dress, act or eat?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Somebody *does* say something or looks a certain way, discreetly, but he hears it and sees it because he's waiting for it...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                He then gets to play that "victim of authority" thing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sh*t, I ain't no victim of anything. Since I don't appear in Court no more, weddings and funerals are the only times I will don a tie, though, I'm more of a sportscoat and slacks guy than one to wear a suit. Moreover, I assure you, I may have a bit of a swagger, but I never pay attention to anyone else's reactions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, okay...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ...or better (worse) yet:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The smart-ass who shows up in a t-shirt with a tuxedo printed on it. Ooh, what a rebel!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Question all you want and continue to pick out one response out many to back up your case. Surely no one will change your mind as those who find it rude wont be changed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Like I said go ahead and wear your hat wherever you like. What is important to one trumps everyone else as has been evidenced many times through out this thread. If you find the rule "silly" don't follow it. It's as simple as that. Some people may judge you and others may not but does it matter?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Personally I think its "silly" that stabbing a bowl of rice with your chopstick is a rule as it dishonors the host and/or spirt of the dead but I am still not going go ahead and do it as I know it isn't "silly" to my Japanese hosts, whether in their home or serving me in restaurant or at the table next of me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I see no honor in deliberately violating another cultures etiquette. IMHO, to do so as a display of power / rebellion can only be seen as a terrible weakness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Totally agree which is why I choose to honor them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It saddens me that there are so many that think these cultural norms are "silly"and therefore not to be followed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Or they must be "logical" To You in order for it to be okay to follow them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      --
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      KB now in NOVA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      that kind of rebellion only shows that the rebel is still 16 yr old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ha. I had to google both of those guys as I had never heard of them! Neither one looks particularly appealing, hairwise. Just normal-ly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                EDIT: Oops. Didn't know Dave was Pink Floyd. Embarassing, being a child of the 70s. Never been a huge PF fan, anyway. Overproduced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Overproduced? OVERPRODUCED???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I knew that would get a rise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh boy....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There was a time when I would have followed David Gilmour to the 'dark side of the moon' and back any day, whenever he wanted :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those days have come and gone but he still holds that special place in my heart and memory. Red Rocks. Pure sublime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, now, I spose you got to learn something. My reference wasn't in anyway implying I had good hair, but more to suggest how the same bad hair looks different on guys with different physiques.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh, and, I should add, "Wish You Were Here" was far from over produced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The tradition of removing a hat - headdress - goes back to ancient times. Knights removed their helmets in the presence of the king, for example. It was to show their loyalty and respect. Men removed their headdress to show respect and chivalry toward women. The custom has remained and is it considered discourteous when hats are worn indoors. Men remove hats when entering homes and churches. In Temple men do wear specific head coverings, not ballcaps.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Women always wore a head covering of some kind through the ages, Many cultures still require women to have their head covered when in public, at least. Also it's expected that women wear hats to certain events such as formal lunch, weddings, teas, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's surprising to me that some people want to present themselves as country bumpkins when they have had some sort.of an education. It has to do with self respect and respect for others if nothing more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, Gio, I know in many ways you are so, so right. But, I'd rather let guys wear a Dodgers cap in a restaurant than force women to cover their faces and heads in public, you know? Why should there be any commandments that have no practical value behind 'em?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As to your last paragraph, I'll simply recite. I know you'll figure it out, even if many never will:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Well, I took a piss at fortune's sweet kiss
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's like eatin' caviar and dirt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a sad funny ending to find yourself pretending
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You're a rich man in a poor man's shirt."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I give on this one, Gio, and that was my way of calling myself out. But, I've got a gene that prevents me from not questioning and challenging rules. Remember, it was guy like me who made it possible for girls like you to vote. You want us to give up?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ask and question to your heart's content, MG. There always needs to that person. If not you then who? There is a difference between Tradition and Traditionalism, though... and I'm not talking religion. Noblesse oblige... Better days are shining through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Who, day and night, must scramble for a living,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And who has the right, as master of the house,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To have the final word at home?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gio, my life woulda been simpler and more cushy had I been able to not constantly have banged my head against the door of authority. In my gut, I know it did some good for some, so, I s'pose it's worth the scars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I appreciate what you're sayin'. Moreover, I appreciate that your quote was something I actually had to look up. Mazel Tov!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You know what, Gio? Maybe I quoted the wrong song. This one is more indicative of my life:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Well, I fight authority, Authority always wins
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I've been doing it since I was a young kid
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I come out grinnin'
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I fight authority, Authority always wins

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So I call up my preacher
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I say, "Give me strength for Round 5."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He said , "You don't need no strength, you need to grow up son."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I said, "Growing up leads to growing old and then to dying"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "OO and dying to me don't sound like all that much fun."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sometimes, however, guys like me get in a few good shots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Women, in a free society, should never cover their faces, except for maybe a light, black veil, at a funeral, or similar. Goes without saying, at least to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, due to "the hair thing," I think that most women should keep their hats on, even indoors. Most, like my wife, look great in their hats, and who would I be, to complain about that?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Women in a free society should not have to deal with the word 'should' when it comes to what they wish to wear.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree on nearly every count.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I will tip my hat to ladies on the street, and then remove it, when entering many locations. In an airport, I will keep it on, in the concourses, but always remove it when entering a restaurant, the airplane, an airline "club," or similar. When flying, it goes onto the top of the handle of my luggage, or in the hat rack in the PHX United Red Carpet Club (wish ALL RCC's had such accommodations).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for "baseball caps," I often wear those, when playing golf. If we are in the 19th Hole, I will often leave it on, as my hair might frighten people. At my old club, the "19th Hole" was the Gentlemen's Grille, so there were not ladies to be offended by us, keeping our golf hats ON. Now, I would remove the hat, and try to do something with my hair, since the Gentlemen's Grille is co-ed... I am cool with that, but I am not sure if the ladies realized what they were opening themselves up to - men, who have just sweated through 18, and are looking like heck. Most of the club's women can play 18, in the Arizona heat, and never even glisten - plus they finish the round smelling MUCH better - no cigars, or other aromas. Still, we are now co-ed, so the hat comes off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Going back about 18 mos., I was dining at a high-end lunch restaurant, in a Northern CA city, know for its food. A couple came in with a baby. The guy had on a baseball cap, turned about 45 degrees. He sat down, then his wife/GF entered with a child. He did not rise, when she finally got to the table, nor did he pull out her chair. She struggled with the child, and finally sat down. In a few minutes, a male friend joined them, with his baseball cap on backward. When the lady exited the table, the two guys did not even acknowledge her leaving, nor her arrival back at the table. Both were on their cell phones, the entire dinner. When they left, the two guys got up and split for the valet stand, leaving the lady to deal with her chair and the baby. I approached, and pulled her chair out for her, then helped her put the child into a strapped pouch thing, hanging from her neck. All the while, the two guys were on their cell phones on the sidewalk. When the couple's car came, the guy got into the driver's seat, leaving the valet to help his wife with the baby. Such is life today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I cannot be bothered if someone does not want me to place my hat on a vacant chair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sad to think the off spring was a boy and will have the asshat for a role model rather than you. .. My mom fears we will never find mates because of the example my dad has set for respect toward each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Old school etiquette did more than allow women to wear hats, it demanded that they wear a head covering in most public contexts, especially church.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It also prevented women from voting, speaking in court, going to college, etc.* Good thing that someone decided to question the "silly rules", huh?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          *Sadly, tradition/etiquette still, in some places, are just as unfair to women today. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I understand and agree with many of your points...... but comparing protections & rights contained in the Bill of Rights and Case Law to basic table manners is like stretching a rubber band to the moon :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Way I see it, rules are rules when it comes to havin' an obligation to consider the reason behind 'em. Moreover, the Bill of Rights predates women bein' able to vote by well over a hundred years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do confess to some hyperbole, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The Victorian table manners that have survived have been the gender neutral ones. The roles, for example, of host and hostess have fallen out of practice:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.angelpig.net/victorian/din...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                has rules about the host escorting a senior lady guest to the table (and the 'most distinguished gentleman with the hostess). It talks about what a gentleman is supposed to do for 'the lady in his charge'. Elsewhere I've of rules about the hostess leading the ladies to drawing room for conversation while the men stay to smoke cigars (or go to the pool room).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                While this page discusses the use of knife and fork (in the European fashion), I don't see anything prohibiting pre-cutting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.angelpig.net/victorian/for...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.emilypost.com/everyday-man...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Or to quote from the original Emily

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The knife is held in his right hand exactly as the fork is held in his left, firmly and at the end of the handle, with the index finger pointing down the back of the blade. In cutting he should learn not to scrape the back of the fork prongs with the cutting edge of the knife. Having cut off a mouthful, he thrusts the fork through it, with prongs pointed downward and conveys it to his mouth with his left hand. He must learn to cut off and eat one mouthful at a time."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/14314/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "A baby of two, or at least by the time he is three, should be taught to dip the tips of his fingers in the finger-bowl, without playing, draw the fingers of the right hand across his mouth, and then wipe his lips and fingers on the apron of his bib."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Children should be taught from the time they are little not to talk about what they like and don't like. A child who is not allowed to say anything but "No, thank you," at home, will not mortify his mother in public by screaming, "I hate steak, I won't eat potato, I want ice cream!""

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    These table manner quotes are from chapter 35 (out of 38).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    More space is devoted to topics like the social standing of the private secretary, the duties of the house keeper, what the butler wears, the footmens' livery, how the cooks submits a menu. She does have some things to say about 'the house with limited service':

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The fact that you live in a house with two servants, or in an apartment with only one, need not imply that your house lacks charm or even distinction, or that it is not completely the home of a lady or gentleman."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Agree that many rules are outdated but I still think some gender specific manners are nice such as opening doors (car & others) for ladies, checking in their coats and pulling out their chair and assist them being seated. I also think at functions such as weddings men should offer to go to the bar and bring back drinks for the women. I think these little gestures go a long way toward making a lady feel special & also help prevent headaches later :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is all good and well, but you wouldn't believe how many men do not know how to hold a door for someone correctly. The point of manners is to make other people's lives easier. If you cause someone discomfort, you aren't really being polite. For example with doors. If the door opens towards you, you pull the door open and stand out of the way. If the door opens away from you, you go through the door and hold it open from the other side, out of the way. You do not stand there half blocking the doorway making her squeeze around you, especially if the lady in question is not someone you are intimate with. In an elevator, go on in and hold the "door open" button. Don't stand there in the door trying to "hold it open" with your arm or body, and all the while just getting in the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, I think sometimes women need to do these same things for others. I will hold a door for anyone substantially older than I am, or for anyone carrying things, or who otherwise look like they might appreciate the assistance, male or female. Or just to let another person go first. I'm female, but have long been a door opener for others. It's just a nice thing to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Really funny you mention that but thats how i met my wife lol we were both attending a common friends halloween party and we both walked into the building together and i held open the door for her in which she gave me a warm thank you and a smile that i will never forget...fast forward 12 years later we have 2 lovely children together and still keep our passion for each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: johnny101golf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chivalry will get you anywhere and everywhere :).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Congratulations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <you wouldn't believe how many men do not know how to hold a door for someone correctly>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But, really, isn't it the thought that counts? It's a 2 second gesture and I don't think I've ever come away from chivalry like that thinking "damn, what the hell is wrong with him... why doesn't he know how to do it 'correctly?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The fact that a person is doing it at all is all that matters to me, nevermind the technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The thought does count, but living in the South, where just about all men open doors, I have the privilege of differentiating those who do it just for show (quite a few), and those who do it more naturally and are really thinking about my comfort. Also, I really don't like having to pass closer than I would normally like to a strange man, especially a large one who is taking up half the doorway. And yet I can't refuse to go through the door being held for me (that would be rude on my part), so it puts me in an uncomfortable position. Men do need to be conscious of not invading our personal space while attempting to be polite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, that's true :).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for clarifying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The confusion probably stems from the ladies first rule. For a brief moment the man must go first to either grab the door and pull out or push in, enter and hold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Agree :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I love it when someone holds a door open for me just because so many of them can be heavy and hard to open. And I am a small female, so if a man has at least made the effort to open it I can maneuver by without feeling uncomfortable and always make eye contact and thank them. But I have held many doors open for men (always seems to be the gas station) because I figure if I made the effort to get the thing open and I see someone coming, male or female, holding it open (and I do step out of the way) just seems like the right thing to do because all it took was me standing still for a few extra seconds. I was doing it anyways, so maybe I'll get some karma credit for the next time I encounter a heavy door.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love this. :).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A ponytail is worn by many chefs to keep hair out of the food;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        it is also worn by women with great faces to display.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Actually what I CANNOT stand is the way women now have waaaaaaaay too much hair and wear that HUGE hair hanging down in front so it either resembles a beard, part of their dress or an animal (like the ones where they formerly clipped head and tail together for a shrug or small stole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: rancher rick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I am not a cowboy, I am a lady from Texas (now an ex-pat in another state) who does expect the real (no quotation marks needed) cowboys I know to remove their hats in my home, a restaurant, and most other indoor spaces.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rancher rick

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll dive in here to back up rick. When we used to hang out with cowboys, it was common to see hats on indoors, including at the table. Now my Mom would often point out that some things that were common were also "common" with that other meaning, but these guys had very traditional manners otherwise, so I would say that at least in their minds, a specific exception is made for cowboy hats on cowboys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe we need some sort of cowboy certification program.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i live in new england, so no resident gauchos here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i have wondered where men would check those giant hats if they were to take them off for dinner. always thought hat-check girls were a thing of the past?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A hat-check area, or lack thereof, is a bone of contention for me too. I always manage, but things could be easier for gentlemen in hats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, that's one of my hot buttons- wearing hats at the table. I don't know why I feel so strongly about it, but i do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. A question: I never cut up all of my food at once but, when served a thick steak or chop, I cut off a slice and then cut that slice into 3-4 pieces. After I've eaten those pieces I cut another slice and do the same. Would this be viewed as gauche by someone who was a stickler for proper manners? Would it be considered "more correct" to cut off a slice and then cut each bite individually as I eat it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not worried about this when dining with family or friends but rather in the context of business/formal occasions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                64 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Excellent question - I find myself doing the same sometimes. Does anyone have a textbook etiquette answer for this one? It's also difficult if you have, say, a filet to just cut one bite off on the first cut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    With all due respect, why should you care? I mean I'd be more likely to pick it up like a burger than slice the whole thing into pieces first, but how important is the opinion of strangers or long dead uptight Victorians to you? Eat your chop how you wanna eat your chop, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Honestly I DON'T care, but I'm just plain curious at this point. Since my invitation to the royal wedding seems to have gotten lost in the mail, nothing this particular has come up since. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't get invited either, and I'm 11,254 in line to the throne!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well, if it would please you and monavano, I'll arrange for invitations to the christening? You will, however, have to sit with me, and suffer the humiliation that comes when the rest of the family watches me drink wine from a pint glass and eat my roasted meats with my fingers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            HUZZAH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Really? Do you have no respect for the social customs called "table manners"? Is keeping your elbows off the table or your napkin in your lap or waiting until others are served before eating uptight and Victorian?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm shocked at the preponderance of the replies on this topic. Cutting up your meat all at once is poor table manners. Is it rude? No, not in the sense of being discourteous to your tablemates, but yes if one is using rude as a synonym for unrefined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What is so wrong, actually, with putting your elbows on the table, Danna? I can easily think of a hundred things that are more annoying, awful, bad--whatever you want to call it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You don't wanna break the rules, especially those that have no present meanin' behind them. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Personally, I'm more of a reason over rule guy, even if that has sometimes gotten me into some bit of trouble. When confronted with a silly rule that accomplishes nothing, I'm virtually powerless not to violate it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You and I think very much alike MGZ, but keep in mind this is coming from a guy who was called an anarchist by his 3rd grade teacher. I had to look it up and then told my parents all about it.....20 years later!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'd rather break bread with an anarchist than someone who blindly followed other peoples rules. I have a feelin' the dinner conversation would be much more enjoyable. Besides, the world's not right and anybody who doesn't see that we need to change things kinda scares me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I love this reply!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good question, Jay. That one actually came to my mind first, because it's the #1 ettiquette rule I wish didn't exist. I like to sit that way. Like all rules of ettiquette, it has to have originated for a sensible reason, I suspect because if you actually ATE (rather than just sit and converse) with your elbows on the table, it would mean leaning into other people's space and generally sloppy, aggressive "shoveling it in."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The OP asked whether the meat cutting thing was considered poor manners and it is. "awful, bad"?..no...less than optimal table manners?.. yes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There is a significant difference in this rule between English and French-speakers. No, it isn't polite in formal settings to put your elbows on tables in French-speaking countries, but nobody hids them in their lap, and hands and wrists are definitely seen on tables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I had lived in Italy for about fifteen years when an acquaintance pointed out that "like a good American" I had my hand in my lap -- i.e., the left, while eating pasta with the right. I quickly learned to keep both hands in view at all times, as everyone in Italy does, but with my astute power of observation, I had never noticed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Were they afraid you were holding a weapon? I seem to remember that as the origin of the hands-above-the-table in some cultures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mbfant

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Going way, way back, the practice of keeping both hands in view, while dining, was to show that one was not hiding any weapons below the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt: Now the only weapon I fear at the dinner table is a Smartphone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Napkin in the lap has a practical value. B*tchin' about someone cutting up there food in a different order than you do is just silly adherence to a time long since forgotten. Maybe you still have "downstairs" servants to open the outer envelope before bringing the mail to your chambers, but I had to give mine up when Lehman Brothers collapsed. If we need to adhere to the traditions of the past, shouldn't we go back to the days before forks?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        <Maybe you still have "downstairs" servants to open the outer envelope before bringing the mail to your chambers>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is so awesome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        < If we need to adhere to the traditions of the past, shouldn't we go back to the days before forks?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Eating with hands is the most traditional form of eating, I tell you. The most traditional and educated people eat with their hands....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're very wise, my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Napkin is the lap doesn't have much practical value for me. My chest catches any spills or crumbs before they get a chance to reach my lap. The other well-endowed women in my family agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Touche.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The bib that is supplied with a lobster dinner or the bbq shrimp at Mr. B's is probably only reluctantly accepted by the Miss Manners devotees, but I think one should be offered with any dish that contains a staining "aspect". Until such a time arrives, I'll continue to tuck my napkin into my collar, keep my shirt clean, and let the naysayers be damned. jmho

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Salad dressing is guaranteed to 'dress' my shirt. A pisghetti dinner in a restaurant will always have me tuck a napkin, paper or linen, into my collar. My shirts no longer suffer red sauce stains. And the looks and comments make for (brief) dinner fodder...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Love this! My MIL puts the napkin right over her boobs aka, crumb catchers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sooeygun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Indeed. I would much prefer to use my napkin in bib fashion. I hate soiling my clothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The last time I got a spot of sauce on a $100 shirt I vowed that I would commence tucking my napkin in my collar. Don't know if I actually will but I did vow it, to my wife.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe get something like this?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have a dear friend who owns quite a few "bibs" and uses them at every meal. He has a variety of styles and colors, and everyone who knows him accepts this quirk of his. He doesn't make a fuss about it, and neither does anyone else, although we do sometimes have a good laugh when he brings out something particularly outrageous. But I have to say, he has never walked away from a table with a stain on his shirt or tie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have been tucking my napkin in like a bib since I destroyed an expensive tie. Pants must have cost more than shirts and ties when the lap rule was made up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You haven't answered my question. Do you reject the entire concept of table manners, or merely the specific components you don't care for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Didn't see your question. Sorry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I spose the best way to put it is that I simply reject the elevation of rule over reason. The only way that elbows on the table are discourteous is if someone told you it was. On the other hand, waiting for others to be able to eat makes inherent sense since the concept of a meal is to eat together. Napkin on the lap keeps your pants clean, but using separate forks just wastes water.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But, whatta I know, I once wore white after Labor Day. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cutting everything and then shoveling it down, napkin sitting on the table and elbows on the table are not good manners but not serious enough to get me upset.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the other hand, If everyone is seated, failing to wait until everyone is served, which usually includes failing to pass sides, I find downright RUDE & OFFENSIVE. When dining at a friends house, I would never, ever, start eating until the cook, who spent hours preparing the meal had a full plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Cutting up your meat all at once is poor table manners."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Out of curiosity's sake, since you seem to know more about traditional manners than most other 'hounds on this thread, can you articulate how it violates etiquette, other than the fact that in the early 1920s one woman decided she didn't like, to cut one food in any particular way? I mean, Emily, how did that "post" feel when you sat down?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: danna

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, napkins. Not trying to derail a "cut your meat" thread, but how many have noticed the napkins in BC, or FC, on most airlines? Going back to the days of PanAm, TWA, and some others, like the early United, the napkins had a little addition - a button-hole on one corner. The purpose of that was to allow passengers, with button-front clothing, to actually affix the napkin to the front of their clothing, as the seatbacks were seldom quite upright to the tray tables. Rather than tucking in the napkin to one's collar, this allowed them to protect more parts of their clothing, when dining on the airplane. Not sure about other airlines today, but both UAL and BA have maintained that tradition... but most have not clue, and many have never even noticed the button-hole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Is there another way?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - cut off triangular pieces from any available corner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - cut off thin slices that can be eaten in one bite

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - painstakingly cutting out a cube

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      New York Strip: Cut a slice. Cut a bite from the slice and eat it. Etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Because the customs are different in other countries and even in other regions of the USA, I was taught in an etiquettes class (They used to be taught in some schools that awarded business degrees.) to follow the lead of your host/hostess. If the occasion has many tables of guests and you can't very easily see your host/hostess, follow the lead of the person who is the most senior or with the "highest" title sitting at your table. If you don't know who that is, following the lead of the person you guess may be the oldest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Many responses to your question scoff at the idea of using manners as set out by others. However, I know of a man who didn't get a promotion simply because his table manners weren't acceptable, and he would have been required to entertain clients in his new position. He was advised to take an etiquettes class, and after he had done so and proven (by his use of them at following business functions), his name would be at the top of the list for the next promotion to come about. Manners matter, people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sure, there are extreme examples in every set of circumstances and I would call taking an etiquette class in order to receive a promotion unusual but not unheard of. Although I'd wonder what other methods could be held over an employees head for future advancement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Some of the examples in this thread are not business related though, just meals with family & friends. I can't imagine such formality would be required to enjoy eating in a restaurant together.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I agree. I think the formality comes in when your dining in a cloth napkin, multiple spoons and forks setting. However, I'd draw the line on talking with one's mouth full and dancing on the table in the ordinary family restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pinky, I used to work for a global investment firm and while most of our locations were in countries with similar cultures as the US, a couple locations were in Asia. Anytime we sent an expat over to our Tokyo office on an extended assignment, they were required to have etiquette training. In that setting, poor manners could have killed business relationships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That makes perfect sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Exactly! That's what I've been trying to get MGZ to understand but he seems to be a maverick and does things his way or he'll take the highway. LOL Oh, well, at least someone other than myself understands the importance of good etiquette in the business world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm a big boy. I get the fundamental concept. I assure you, you need never try and get me to understand anything. Most likely, I've already understood and considered it for a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As I said, I have eschewed that world of superficial judgment. My life, my choices, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                By way of anecdote, I relate a tale of the time, as an associate, I had dinner with a coupla partners and a very wealthy, famous "corporate raider" and one of his advisers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I picked up the bones from my lamb rack, knowing full well that it is frowned upon, and finished the delicious morsels left on the bone. Our Client, turned and said, "I do that, too", and proceeded to violate the standards as well. The others looked on aghast. The Client and I, both bein' students of philosophy, discussed Satre, Kant, and Hegel over dessert and cognac.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In court the next morning, we got the Client the company he was after. Over time, he stayed a Client, as well as a Billionaire, and I got a raise and was asked to become a partner. My life, my choices, remember?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sounds like you had a good read on the client and knew that it would be okay--even a positive thing--which is great. Would you do the same thing with a client who you knew was uptight and a stickler for decorum?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Probably. It's funny how forgiving people are when they need you to help 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sounds like you had dinner with T. Boone Pickens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's a great story!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But what you did is a LOT different than talking with your mouth full of food and stealing your neighbor's bread plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see that you use your instincts to decide what rules to break. Not everyone has those instincts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, you appear to know some/all of the rules. I always say that one has to learn the rules before they can successfully break them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "Also, you appear to know some/all of the rules. I always say that one has to learn the rules before they can successfully break them."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do know the rules. If I don't, be they social or legal, I'll learn 'em. That way I can contemplate whether they are rational or reasonable. Those that are not, should not continue to be rules. Remember, rules change - and always should be subject to rethinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm happy to see, for example, that we're gettin' to a point where anyone who is committed to another person can get married and avail themselves of all the rights and protections that come with the institution. Remember, had we no ability (if not obligation) to rethink rules, only white men, of a certain age, who owned real property would have the right to vote.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        At bottom, that is the morel* of the story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        *Hey, it's a food dork Site, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sometimes people act like dogs who are too stubborn to let go of their own tail.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree. Manners matter whether or not you believe they should. I'm all about individualism and saying f.u. to the man and just maybe if I had inherited millions and didn't need to at least partially conform, I would do whatever I wanted just like rich rock stars. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we live in a society that has many social rules that most of us abide by and the rest of us have to live with whether we like it or not. Most accept this and move forward. Some don't and do well but most who don't accept these norms end up not reaching the highest stratums of our society. I know a very bright, engaging 29 y.o. who still doesn't understand why he is having trouble breaking into the business world. He manners at the dinner table are impeccable. His thing? He's covered from head to toe with tattoos. Should it matter? Maybe, maybe not. Does it matter? You bet your ass it does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "He's covered from head to toe with tattoos. Should it matter? Maybe, maybe not. Does it matter? You bet your ass it does."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The question that should be asked is "Why does it matter?" Is the assumption being made that someone is inferior because of the colors of their skin? The other question is, "How long do you think it will matter for?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The question in my mind every time I encounter one of these "illustrated men/women" is, how will they councel their children/grandchildren?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Have you asked them?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not all. I think the majority are still too young to give an honest answer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              From my experience, the heavily tattooed people you're talking about, are in support of their children/grandchildren doing the same thing. In fact, once the offspring asks for it, and they're of legal age...they waltz 'em down and foot the bill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              it really depends on the person doing it and the venue/industry/type of environment/work they're in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If they can find a way to make their head-to-toe tattooing work for them then all the more power to them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If they enter a time in their life when they'd wish they hadn't spent hours in that chair then they really should have spent a little more time figuring out where their life was going.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This part of the thread reminds me of a saying....something about not being able to eat principles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "This part of the thread reminds me of a saying....something about not being able to eat principles."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But you can damned sure choke on them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd hope, my friend, that they will guide their children based on the lessons they have learned, just like most reasonable adults. Ultimately, I have a problem judging folks by their appearance. When my hair was still long it was always funny to observe the assumptions people made about me - both good and bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It probably shouldn't matter but the reality is, whether right or wrong, it does. It probably won't matter as much in 10 years as it does now and it matters less now it did 10 years ago. Who knows, maybe he's a trend setter and because of him, 30 years from now all the CEO'S of the Fortune 500 companies will be tweaked out to the max. The point is not whether or not manners should matter, the point is, they do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. re: bobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course it does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I know a *kid* who's graduated from Stanford Law School who, in his highschool years, decided he'd like to grow those holes in his ears with those black plugs (there must be a name for it and I've never bothered to find out).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now he's got these big holes, even though he's removed the plugs, with an incredible law degree and wondering if anyone's going to take him seriously.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            His years of independent, nonconformist, radical years are behind him but now his break into the world of having to conform are going to be a little more difficult....especially in the field he's interested in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ear guaging. It grosses me out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              From what I was told, by my hairdresser so it take with a grain of salt, its very expensive to correct and is not covered by insurance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, it makes me laugh and I'm with MGZ in the Camp WTFC category, but it certainly does make me wonder at where it's all heading....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm squarely in the "who the f*ck cares" camp. Antiquated notions of manners from another time are just that. Personally, I think anyone who cuts up all their food at once is likely wastin' good food. Then again, if it was steak cooked past 125 or so, they might as well destroy it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        35 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hope your never turned down for a business promotion due to your lack of caring.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In my experience, no one gets turned down for a promotion when they are extremely good at what they do. Hell, I refused to wear ties for a coupla years unless I was going to Court and was asked to become a partner early. Sometimes, what folks think is the "right thing" is way more limiting to them than what is the "right thing for them".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At this point, it doesn't matter, I've been self employed for over a decade and haven't had to commute less than walking distance for close to twenty years. We choose our lives. Everything about 'em. There's very little reason to succumb to the restrictions of others if we know that everything in life is purely of our own choosing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "We choose our lives. Everything about 'em. There's very little reason to succumb to the restrictions of others if we know that everything in life is purely of our own choosing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well my friend, it seems we don't think alike on this subject. I tend to believe pretty much the opposite; we don't "choose" anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” ― Albert Einstein

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's simply your anarchism conflicting with my existentialism. No sweat. I'd still rather eat with an anarchist than lotsa others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Edit - I'll pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Having been in the legal field, too, I'm heartened you recognize the need for proper decorum in the courtroom. And just as there is proper decorum there, it exists in other places, too. Wouldn't you agree that if you refused to wear a tie to Court, your becoming a partner would have been very unlikely? Therefore, although you may be extremely good at what you do, you may have never seen the inside of a courtroom as an attorney. You did, however, agree to "succumb to the restrictions of others" in that case. Good luck in your continuing practice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hell, I retired from that nonsense a decade ago. All that "white shoe" money couldn't keep me adhering to bullsh*t. Truth is, I was hired to write, for the most part, and that's what I did. I'd wear a bowtie to court since a necktie reminded me too much of a leash. My success was the product of talent, not obedience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    G&S recognized the need for proper decorum in the legal field many years ago:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    .In serving writs I made such a name
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That an articled clerk I soon became;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the pass examination at the Institute,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And that pass examination did so well for me,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But then even Rumpole had a white wig at one time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "In my experience, no one gets turned down for a promotion when they are extremely good at what they do." Maybe in the field in which you are employed, but definitely not true across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I mentioned above, I used to work for a global investment firm with offices around the world. The most challenging location was Tokyo, and people were turned down for advancement because of not having the right people/social skills, nor the interest in developing them, to be successful. It was routine to educate expats in minute details of business and social etiquette before sending them over. Big brains alone do not equate to success. Entertaining clients in a culture with major differences in etiquette and not being aware or sensitive to those differences is like walking through a minefield. Many employers are not willing to take the chance on losing business or offending good customers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just today I read where Bill Gates is on somebody's shit list for not shaking hands properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Right, Bill Gates has had a devil of a time giving his fortune away...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kengk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kengk, just goes to show that no one is immune from judgment on these things. Remember when Jimmy Carter caused a big flap for daring to kiss the Queen Mother? (Okay, I am clearly dating myself with that one!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            OMG! We are lost if you can 'date yourself' based on what occurred in the reasonably recent past! (the '80s)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not that I remember that incident.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jlhinwa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "Maybe in the field in which you are employed, but definitely not true across the board."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not employed. Twenty years ago, I was, and it sucked. I ain't goin' back. I still eat sheep, but won't act like 'em.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is such an awesome topic. In my line of work, dressing is kind of important and kind of unimportant. Let me explain. As a scientist, I can pretty much wear anything from causal to business causal to my meetings. On the other hand, when I am in the lab I have to wear lab coat and gloves.... I can get in real trouble for not wearing a labcoat or safety glasses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But, wouldn't that be more reason than rule? I mean, safety glasses have a purpose, but a necktie?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                <wouldn't that be more reason than rule?>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, but it get fuzzy too, right? I mean. The safety glasses and gloves are definitely based on practical reasons. The lab coats are less so. The lab coats probably marginally protect the person compare to regular coating. I am guessing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I suppose people in other lines of work have to dress in a certain way to show respect -- like wearing ties to dinner or taking off shoes before entering a Japanese house.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Besides looking "important", I always thought lab coats were like a body-bib.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    :) Like baby body bib? That is adorable:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.bodybib.com/product_images...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, I can tell you for sure that family doctors definitely wear labcoats to be "important". It isn't like family doctors really go to the labs anyway. They just sit in the office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://okafp.org/userfiles/Pictures/F...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And if the labcoats are really to protect the medical doctosr, then trust me that they should not be wearing the ties at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Along those line, why do doctors who go on TV insist upon wearin' scrubs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Cuz they be surgeons, man. Cain't be more better than that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They probably view the them (scrubs) as their uniforms, and that they give them a certain level of credibility. I know. It gets pretty silly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "[T]hey give them a certain level of credibility. I know. It gets pretty silly."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep. Kinda like when guys wear neckties out to dinner. . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              > Kinda like when guys wear neckties out to dinner. . . .<

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What could be sillier?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought about this some more. I think there is one small but important difference. Doctors who wear scrub on a TV show is doing so to demand respect and authority from the audience. People who wear neckties out to dinner is to show respect to the other person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I find getting dressed up in formal attire every once in while and going out for premium entertainment and 5 star dining is quite rewarding. On the other hand, an evening at a good tavern with great buffalo wings and cold beer get me just as excited, just in a different way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think this is it. It is all about accepted norms of the situation and individuals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For two hours of trivia and bar food at the local pub, I might have my elbows on the table from time to time to eat my wings etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Still will cut my meat one bite at a time for the most part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Some may, but I've worked in ER's and OR's and it gets pretty gross sometimes. I have no idea if I seemed credible but I was happy not to get bodily fluids on my clothes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hobbert,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think we mean those circumstances. After there is real practical reason why medical doctors at one point wearing labcoat or scrubs. MGZ was referring to doctor who go on TV show and wear a scrub. I refered to family doctors who don't not go into labs or operation room and wear a labcoat all day long.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Some women think men are sexy when wearing scrubs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's why I wear them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  PS. I'm not a doctor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My wife wears them but I never got that sensation. Now when she takes them off and is left with the skin tight Under Armour, thats another story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Excusez moi....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.servimg.com/u/f76/18/15/18...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Non-comformity has its place. But it IS what can land someone involuntarily in the unemployment line. I believe that's the point jihinwa is making. Like he said, "Big brains alone do not equate to success."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Have your worldview. I respect it, like those of everyone else, so long as they are based upon rational consideration. In fact, continue to be vested in it. I'm sure it is serving you well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Nevertheless, please keep in mind that it is just your worldview. That does not make it objectively the correct one. And, realize,just 'cause you preach, it doesn't mean everyone's gonna wanna be baptized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lotsa folks spend their lives learning. Let 'em learn what they choose to learn. Perhaps, to them, it's more important to study bricklayin' than other cultures' customs. That, ok?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              'But it IS what can land someone involuntarily in the unemployment line.' Yes, saw it happen more than once, with Ivy league MBA's and PhD's. It wasn't outright manners that would do them in, but the apparent belief that their IQ's and pedigrees earned them the right to ignore the conventions of their work environment. An asshole is an asshole, even if they have a Harvard MBA, 1600 SAT scores and a 180 IQ.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. It has never occurred to me that cutting up one's food on your own plate would be rude. I have never run across this 'rule'. I have only remembered seeing such food eating when young children or the elderly are involved. I don't see how it could possibly be seen as being rude. I also don't see how anyone could possibly be offended by such innocuous behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Basic etiquette rule. Cut one bite at a time. Arbitrary? Probably.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I understand that. I have not observed it but for the exceptions I pointed out. I don't think people should hold their fork in their fist, but I don't get worked uo over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think this is where alot of this thread goes haywire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is a difference between socially improper (breach of etiquette) and socially impolite (rude).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think, in this case of pre-cutting, it is more the former than the latter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's a really perceptive point. What silly rule are you breaking vs. whose feelings are you hurting......

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you mean it's a matter of perspective (as opposed to "perceptive") then you're absolutely right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              All social norms are a matter of perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No, I meant perception.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But your perspective is also welcome.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Instead of whose feelings are being hurt, my perspective is who is allowing their feelings to be hurt over something as innocuous as this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was attempting (apparently poorly) to differentiate between silly rules and rules that actually are in place to avoid insulting people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I didn't think you did a poor job at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There's also the school of thought that good manners means making everyone around you feel as comfortable as possible. If cutting meat a certain way makes someone uncomfortable, well,... I can't think of a situation where this could make someone truly uncomfortable. If you were having dinner with the queen and your husband was mincing everything on his plate, then sure. Awkward! Otherwise who would care enough to get squicky about it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          +1.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the words of Joy Behar, "so what, who cares?".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Can I like your comment? If cutting up their food in advance makes someone I am dining with happy and able to enjoy their meal more, then why on earth would it bother me? I cannot imagine staring at someone else's plate enough to even notice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CKaty

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I mentioned above (or below?) that I noticed my mom cutting up all her food before digging in to eat, when she visited DH and I a few years ago. I guess since I've switched to (mostly) cutting food one bite at a time, it seemed different.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But, I made her a favorite; lamb chops. They're pricey and I overcooked hers a bit because she doesn't like meat as rare as i do. No biggie. She cut all of her 2 chops. No biggie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Know what the "biggie" was?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Watching my mom enjoy those lamb chops to pieces!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It brought me joy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Yes! We were just talking about this last night. I believe it started when parents would cut food for children at the beginning of the meal to save time. It grates on my nerves. We have several friends who do this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  melpy are the kids old enough to cut their own food up or are your friends just getting the kids situated so they can focus on their own dining enjoyment?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The several friends have no children but cut all their own food up before eating. They are in their late 20s and mid thirties. Sorry for the confusion. I also think I may have been harsh in that it is not rude but uncouth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My father had a visiting business associate over for dinner once when I was.....5 or 6? Now, know that I was cutting my own steaks by about age 3. Well, this guy, who was sitting next to me, without skipping a beat in the conversation, reached over and cut up everything on my plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nice family guy, right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    NO!!!! I burst into tears because I thought he had ruined my food and my poor mother had to get me a new plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ha.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's funny, but I'm sure the business associate was terribly embarassed that he made you cry. He meant well but he happened upon the only 3 year old in the state that could cut up his/her own steak. BTW, I'm curious whether you cut it all up at one time, or 1 or 2 pieces at a time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pinky107

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, one at a time! Strict table manners in our house. Funny, my elderly remaining parent has entirely forgotten hers.