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Table Manners (or lack of!)

(80 Posts)
Ngaio1 Thu 07-Feb-19 16:44:04

My daughter's boyfriend came to dinner last evening. His table manners are appalling! Elbows on the table, chewing with mouth open and waving and pointing with his irons! He is a quite well spoken chap and when away from the table, well mannered. She is very fussy and yet didn't seem to notice.

EllanVannin Thu 07-Feb-19 16:53:39

Love is blind I'm afraid.
I can't be doing with anyone eating with their mouth open though.

Jalima1108 Thu 07-Feb-19 17:34:56

Keep making him welcome, don't ever criticise him and he may soon be on his way.
If you do criticise him, your DD may well get defensive and he'll be around for much longer.


Tartlet Thu 07-Feb-19 17:37:12

Nor me. I wouldn’t be too bothered about elbows on the table but I don’t think I could manage to stay at a table with someone eating noisily and displaying the contents of their mouth unless I could neither see or hear them.

I remember being mightily relieved many decades ago when my husband passed his eating test with flying colours. Otherwise he’d never have become my husband.

My maternal grandfather was a horribly noisy eater and I used to dread having to sit through a meal with him.

Florence64 Thu 07-Feb-19 17:44:30

My father was a stickler for table manners and although it annoyed me intensely to be told to get my elbows off the table as a child I'm so glad it's second nature to me now. I remember my cousin came over from America and his son didn't take off his baseball hat during Sunday lunch. My children were looking daggers at him as they knew they wouldn't be getting away with it! I'm afraid my dear old dad would have 'corrected' your daughter's boyfriend, as he did with his younger colleagues in the staff canteen - "the fork, dear boy, is for eating one's peas, not scratching one's head" was one of his favourites!

Gonegirl Thu 07-Feb-19 17:47:53

My daughter's boyfriend is inclined to go at his food hammer and tongs. The other evening he cracked the plate completely in two. Daughter sent me a picture. ?

Other than that his table manners are ok. (And he's lovely)

Nonnie Thu 07-Feb-19 17:53:04

It may be that he doesn't know. Perhaps if you keep welcoming him he will begin to realise and do something about it. We used to be visited by a young woman just leaving uni and about to start her new job with a big consulting firm. She was aware that she didn't have appropriate table manners and asked us to help her.

Witzend Thu 07-Feb-19 18:26:11

We had a friend - no longer with us - whose table manners were so appalling, there was always a fight as to who was not'going to sit opposite him! Never mind the niceties of holding his knife like a pencil, etc. - mouth always open while eating, talking through a mouthful of food, making pig noises and shovelling food in - and yet he'd been very successful professionally.
I blame the parents!! But how he'd never managed to,pick up acceptable table manners over the years I will never understand.

westerlywind Fri 08-Feb-19 01:38:37

Table manners dont seem to be as important now as it was when we were young. I insisted that my DC were able to conduct themselves well at the table.
Recently I had one of my DCs and her friend over for a meal with their 4 children aged 5 to 8. I set the table for us all. The children and I sat at the table eating and talking, no mess or carry on. Very well behaved children with good manners.
I have no idea how these children managed because their mothers sat with feet curled up on the sofa eating from their plates as if they were using a No. 8 shovel. Not an ounce of table manners, not even a table!
I dont know what a No. 8 shovel is, I dont know if we ever had one but it is something my dad used to say when he was saying people were eating with too much haste to be well mannered.

RosieLeah Fri 08-Feb-19 06:48:46

If your daughter has been taught good table manners, she surely must have noticed her boyfriend's lack of them? Do they never eat out? I don't think there's any harm in mentioning it to her, she may have noticed but doesn't feel it's important.

Anja Fri 08-Feb-19 07:17:03

Anyone understand why elbows on the table is unacceptable these days?

Chewing or talking with mouth open ...yuk!

harrigran Fri 08-Feb-19 08:24:42

My mother was a stickler for table manners and would not tolerate sloppy eating. When I look around restaurants and see the the diners using their knives like pencils I cringe.
I do not allow anyone to sit on a sofa to eat a meal, if they didn't come to the table they would go hungry.

PECS Fri 08-Feb-19 08:38:48

My DGS1 has dyspraxia. He finds using cutlery a challenge, as is getting food into his mouth without a percentage falling onto his clothes & floor. He is v aware of his difficulty & is embarrassed which makes matters worse as he tries to get through the meal as quickly as he can. I try to ignore as much as I can..but DH will constantly correct until I intervene!

Missfoodlove Fri 08-Feb-19 10:41:15

I cannot bear bad table manners and taught my children at home how to eat and behave.
At school they had a staff member on each table at lunch who would correct any slovenly behaviour.
I think now basic manners have been forgotten and are deemed to be for “posh people” only.

B9exchange Fri 08-Feb-19 10:51:27

So many children just eat in front of the TV or gazing at phone or tablet, it isn't taught much these days, and certainly not in the schools my GC attend. When they come to us, they have learned to use knife and fork, (just about!), not to eat everything, even roast dinners, with their fingers. They don't eat with their mouths open, or speak with their mouths full, but it has taken some work, because it doesn't come naturally!

I don't think you can criticise a new boyfriend, most unwise, just hope DD eventually says something to him herself.

Disgruntled Fri 08-Feb-19 10:52:13

Did he go to public school? grin
You have my sympathies, I couldn't bear to be at the same table, but I don't know what you can do about it. Good luck.

Margs Fri 08-Feb-19 10:55:33

At least he didn't help himself to items from other people's plates - y'know, if you're in a restaurant and someone spies something tasty that they wish they'd ordered and then they reach across with their fork saying "can I just try a bit of that?"

No! B*gger off or I'll stab your grabby fingers with my fork, so there.

Jaycee5 Fri 08-Feb-19 11:05:17

I agree with the people who aren't bothered with elbows on tables. There has to be good reason to stick with rules and there really isn't much of a one for that now that people aren't served meals by servants.
The mouth open though I would find difficult. It is probably not worth saying anything unless it looks like the relationship is going to last and it would have to be done tactfully and kindly.

PECS Fri 08-Feb-19 11:21:30

Only if something is truly offputting would I ever say something. I used to gently tease my DDs partner when he pushed his plate away from in front of him when he had finished eating. It is true that these behaviours begin in childhood and become habitual. Though many " manners" are just snobby attitudes.

missdeke Fri 08-Feb-19 11:25:44

It doesn't help when so many food adverts on the tv show people with poor manners, e.g. sucking up spaghetti, spearing a whole sausage or fish finger and chewing the end off etc.

Jalima1108 Fri 08-Feb-19 11:34:41

Anyone understand why elbows on the table is unacceptable these days?
Anja - All joints on the table should be cooked.

Nanabanana1 Fri 08-Feb-19 11:37:24

My ex SIL has appalling manners, eats with his mouth open, makes horrible noises etc, worst of all dips his fingers in his gravy and sucks loudly.
Very glad he is now ex SIL.

seadragon Fri 08-Feb-19 12:08:54

My husband has never been able to eat tidily. I was a bit embarrassed at times especially when my father was there who used to insist on impeccable behavior at the table. However he is a lovely caring and supportive person, a good cook and a teddy bear too. Fifty-two years on, brushing down the table and hoovering under his chair is a small price to pay.

Craftycat Fri 08-Feb-19 12:18:30

This brought back memories of when my cousin came to stay on the way back to Canada after doing 2 years community service of some sort in Malaysia in 1970.
We took him into London to do all the sights & the first day we had lunch out. His table manners were just awful. It culminated in him getting up & asking a perfect stranger if he could finish what was left on his plate if he didn't want it! The poor man looked shocked & horrified - as were we!
He had no idea of normal behaviour at all & left our house a complete wreck. I had to practically fumigate his bedroom when he went home. My dad was very concerned that his sister would be upset when he got back home & he contacted her shortly afterwards when she told him it was wonderful to have her son home & he hadn't changed a bit!
You can just never tell! Keep quiet & hope it is a short relationship

ninathenana Fri 08-Feb-19 13:12:33

DD and I think that DGSx2 lack of table manners is due to the fact that living in a small cottage with other GP's they eat seperately from the adults due to lack of space and therefore lack of supervision. Which may explain some younger peoples lack of table manners. A friends DiL feeds the children at 5pm and does
not sit with them, she then eats with her DH at 8pm, which seems quiet common these days.
Elbows, slurping, eating with fingers, holding knife and fork awkwardly. These are all things DD is trying to stop the DGC doing.