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Dating: Table Manners Matter

Updated on December 23, 2007

One of the nicest things about dating Englishmen is their table manners. Even the “lowliest” of Britons have some measure of class when dining – something many American men are utterly clueless about. I’m not asking you to fake a posh disposition – but I do expect you to behave like a man and not a wild animal!

Generally speaking, most Americans eat very differently from Europeans. The English hold the fork in the left hand and simultaneously use their right hand to cut their food. This looks very, very nice in comparison to the American style of setting the knife down and then switching the fork over to the other hand so you can eat. However, even the richest, most posh Americans tend to eat this way, so I won’t hold that against you. But you will certainly get brownie points if you learn the English way – it just looks better. This aside, there are a few other items you should try to remember when you're out on a date.

  • It’s a cheeseburger, not a cud.

In other words, don’t chew like a cow. Your mouth should be closed, and we shouldn’t be able to hear any distinct slurping noises. Try to keep things from popping out as you eat, as well.

  • Slow down, Speed Racer.

It’s not a race. I dated someone who used to chew his food so quickly I could hear his teeth clanking together. It was ridiculous and it always made me feel like I had to hurry up and finish, because he was always in quick-mode. Please don’t do this.

© Sneekers/Barny
© Sneekers/Barny
  • Don’t pick your food apart to the point it becomes a distraction.

So they stuck a few pickles on your burger, and you happen to hate pickles. So fine, take them off – subtly. But if they sent you a sesame seed bun and you hate sesame seeds, please don’t sit there and pick them all off. Just send the thing back and ask for a different bun.

  • Don’t talk with your mouth full.

This one should be obvious, but there are men who do this. If you have something utterly important to say, at least cover your mouth with a napkin while you do it.

  • Don’t spit anything out onto your plate.

Yeah, I know, obvious. Well, I’ve been on dates where men have spit things out into their napkins and then plopped it onto their plates. To be sure, I’ve dated some classy men! Make sure you’re classier!

  • Use your napkin – and keep it on your lap.

Wipe your mouth periodically, whether you think you need it or not. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to pretend you don’t see sauce on someone’s face – and it’s just as unpleasant having to embarrass someone about it! It’s much easier if you just do this one on your own. Also, don’t wipe your mouth and then crumple it up and chuck it on the table. Keep it folded across your lap.

These are just the basics, and some of you will think them commonplace. Unfortunately, there are men (and women) out there who don’t realize how disgusting some of this can be. If you’re on your first date, do yourself a favor and don’t ignore this list, because she will not ignore your bad m

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    • profile image

      slob friend 

      8 years ago

      my friend is soo gross what she does she comes looking like a hobo and she reeks of garbage frizzy hair and she comes with a mcdonalds soda and keeps it there. Then she burps like the whole time and some times farts. Then she eats with her hands and chew with her mouth opened. Then she reaches at the other side of the table and reached other peoples food. She only like burgers and fries and fast food with desserts only. Shes such a slob.

      oh yes she even puts her bare feet on the table and picks and scratches herself.

      UGGG

    • profile image

      Jase 

      9 years ago

      "...the American style of setting the knife down and then switching the fork over to the other hand so you can eat."

      ...Seriously? I've never been to America, so this pretty much shocks me. I can't imagine that- I mean, what's the point? Even out of sheer laziness, it actually requires MORE effort to keep switching hands! But then again, I was always brought up with very strict table manners, so...

    • profile image

      lagniappelassie 

      9 years ago

      I beg to differ about Englishmen having better table manners. You can find good and bad on both sides of the Atlantic. A Brit (son of a vicar, no less)with a Ph.D. from Cambridge used to dine regularly at our house, and he and his wife had deplorable table manners. He also seemed to be opposed to regular bathing.

    • profile image

      MJ 

      10 years ago

      I didnt' know how much I was disturbed by it until I started dating my guy friend. He eats really fast and stuffs his mouth until both of his jaws are full of food. Then he talks with his mouth full. Watching him eat is like going to the circus and watching a side show freak. It's very disgusting. I do not go out to eat with him and I will never take him around my family for dinners or anything like that. It's just gross : (

    • Isabella Snow profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabella Snow 

      10 years ago

      Olynda - Tell 'em to eat like civilized people. Americans'll just love hearing that. ;)

      Dove - Yep, slurping is pretty gross! ;)

    • profile image

      Dove 

      10 years ago

      YES THIS REALLY REALLY MATTERS I HATE MEN WHO SLURP AND UHG ITS JUST SO DISCUSTING!

    • profile image

      olynda 

      11 years ago

      I;'m a 100% agree about the Americans table manners and it really bother..I'm a single woman from another country living in USA since 6 years ago.. believe me ... is really unconfortable be sitted at the table with a person with no matters at all.....

    • Isabella Snow profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabella Snow 

      11 years ago

      Pfft! I wasn't really laughing at him, you mean, nasty Texan, you! I was just saying fast eating might not bother his wife at all. I honestly didn't notice how much it bothered me, until I started disliking my ex!

    • profile image

      Fretbuzz 

      11 years ago

      "If you have always been that way maybe it doesn't bother your wife. Though, I didn't comment on my disliking it for the first 2 years I was with my ex, either! ;) "

      LOL

    • Isabella Snow profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabella Snow 

      11 years ago

      Fret - Well, that's different, it's perfectly ok to drink from the bowl there, too!

      Paul - Well... not a *sin* but it does annoy some of us! If you have always been that way maybe it doesn't bother your wife. Though, I didn't comment on my disliking it for the first 2 years I was with my ex, either! ;)

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      11 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      I didn't realize speed eating was such a sin. I usually finish a meal in a few minutes....I'm going to try and slow down for my wife's sake.

    • profile image

      Fretbuzz 

      11 years ago

      ". . . shouldn’t be able to hear any distinct slurping noises . . ."

      Unless you're in Japan. ;~)>

    • Isabella Snow profile imageAUTHOR

      Isabella Snow 

      11 years ago

      Thank you Cgull! You're so sweet! :))

    • Guru-C profile image

      Cory Zacharia 

      11 years ago

      Super advice, Isabella!!! Table manners affect one's appearance, one's social interactions, and one's business life as well. In my mid twenties I thought I had impeccable ettiquette, and learned sitting in the Polo Lounge of the Beverly Hills Hotel with our creative team together with our very urbane director, that I didn't have a clue about how to handle a knife and fork. Learning the method you suggest has allowed me to look more poised than I sometimes feel :-) I truly appreciate and enjoy your writing!!!

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