5 Comments

    • Joanna

      Agreed! Don’t forget, that cloth napkin is NOT a handkerchief – its purpose is to wipe the mouth. Even if it’s washed, think of the next person who will be using it, and how they’d feel if they knew someone had blown their snot into it…

  1. Gertrude

    I was raised that a wipe is OK, so long as it’s subtle, but anything that requires force (such as a blow) is not OK, at all. In that situation, you should excuse yourself to the bathroom. If you sneeze and a blow is required, a short puff is acceptable. These were the rules around our family dinner table, mind you, not in a fancy restaurant. It’s common courtesy to those who you dine with to not disgust them.

    • Joanna

      I think a subtle wipe is also ok – especially if, for instance, the person has a cold and will be wiping rather often. It’s not reasonable to expect the person to get up and head to the restroom – which might be some distance off – each and every time. After all, wouldn’t it be considered equally rude to be leaving your dining companion so many times?

  2. Carol

    This is a total grosser-outer for me…and my husband does it all the time despite my having told him how repulsive I find it.

    It’s not a little snoot-chirp or wipe, it’s a full blown trumpethonker with that slushy gooey mucus sound, often repeated two, three, or more times. Sometimes he inspects his fingers then wipes them on the napkin…which he puts on the tabletop. Then proceeds not only to eat, but to reach for food in the common area of the table. Sometimes when sitting to his left or right I can feel the air ejected from his napkin, and on two occasions I got up and left the table because mucus flew through the air. It’s just…filthy, low-class behavior. And he refuses to take my feelings seriously. I mean, he’ll grumpily accept my input, then for the next night or two dramatically point out that he’s restraining from blowing his nose (which can mean either him snuffling snot, or dramatically getting up from the table to walk across the room to blow his nose). Then it’s back to the old behavior.

    Even though he comes from a supposedly better off “executive”family–as in corporate vice president dad, college educated mom, nice house–his family has utterly miserable table manners too. They dive over their plates like starving herons, shovel food from the plate into their mouths with their heads down near the table surface, take enormous bites, chew twice, then swallow, sometimes choking on the bulk then grabbing the water glass to take an enormous downwashing gulp (usually making desperate and wet noises), swallowing noisily, then making this open-mouthed sound like a giant shellfish struggling its siphonophore through mud to squirt. Then they are done in about two minutes and ready to run off and do something else. No conversation, no listening, no enjoyment of the food. Even starving wolves are more social!

    That’s all awful…but for me the worst is the nose blowing…and the fact that I cannot take my husband out to a nice restaurant without seeing people trying desperately not to stare. Him eating is like watching a video of How Not To Eat In Public (or Private). I’ve talked to him about this, but it seems to make no impression on him.

    He also does this thing where he closes his eyes with every forkful. First he loads the fork with as much food as I’d consider five or six bites or more. He’ll push food into a pile and work the fork into it in order to get the most possible food on the tines, base, and even handle. Then with eyes closed and mouth stretched wide, he levers the food in, wiggling the fork back and forth to get it all in, usually with it dragging on his opened lips as it goes in. Then he opens his eyes, chews maybe twice or three times, gulps, washes it down, forks up another enormous pile of food, closes eyes, coda.

    It seems more like some compulsive behavior than dining. Needless to say he is finished before most of us have even 1/4 started…then goes looking for more. I assume that many of these are old habits related to him being obese as a child. His mother used food as reward and punishment, and he is utterly incapable of enjoying a meal in the “higher” social sense.

    We had a friend over for supper who was eating very hot Thai food. It made his sinuses water. He picked up his (paper) napkin, turned away from the table, dabbed his nose, gave a very tiny blurt to clear the nasal wetness, folded his napkin, and placed it on his lap. Then he proceeded to finish his meal.

    Later my husband said, “You didn’t say anything to HIM about blowing his nose at the table.” I replied that when he did it, I didn’t hear an apocalyptic horn honk, feel a gust of wind, nor witness/experience flying bodily fluids.

    He also has a habit of boring into his nose, mouth, and ears at the table, but that’s I guess another topic. It seems to have gotten worse over the years, because when we first knew each other, my recollection is that he didn’t do things like this. In fact in one of my early journal entries I wrote about what a relief it was to go out to eat with a man who knew how to conduct himself in public. What changed? Did he give up trying because he landed a partner/wife?

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