Once upon a time dinner etiquette was a highly complex matter. One false move of a man’s fork and he could find himself left out in the (social) cold.
Today such matters are generally not taken so personally, however that doesn’t mean it’s fine to jump in and eat spaghetti with your hands. A true gentleman maintains good manners wherever possible and the dinner table is no exception. The Art of Manliness has an excellent guide to table manners and advises that above all sticking with the following 4 rules will keep you on the right side of social embarrassment.
- Pay full attention to your host (or guest) – Being an observant diner and picking up on cues from your host will enable you to avoid 95% the embarrassing situations you could find yourself in. Simple things like waiting to eat until you see others eating and using the utensils others are using will enable you to “wing it.” However, this constant observing and following does not allow you to relax and enjoy the evening.
- Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth – Yes, in the year 2015 we still have a problem with men chewing with their mouths wide open. And if you have something to say, refrain from filling your mouth the moment before. In order to recover if expected to speak, only put a single bite in your mouth at a time. The days of stuffing your mouth with as much food as it can hold are over.
- Bring your food to your face, not your face to your food – You shouldn’t be leaning over your food, shoveling it into your mouth with a distance traveled of only 6 inches. Instead, sit straight, balance a single bite on the utensil of choice and bring it directly to your mouth. And never drink from your soup bowl.
- Say Thank You, Please, and Excuse Me – These small words are magic and should be used liberally.