No. of Recommendations: 12
That great dinner thread was a wake up call for me, as well as had me guessing at what others were 'taught' and/or picked up along the way.

My husband has been traveling quite a bit lately, and the 8-yr old has been at camp. That pretty much leaves me and my darling 3-yr old. She eats every two hours (at least it seems that way). So, of course I sit on the couch and munch when I'm hungry. I've noticed that she is now getting up from her plate, standing to chew, and fidgeting more. This thread reminded me of how well she behaved at the table before. Monkey see, monkey do!

I hated to go out to dinner, when in my 'dating years'. I worked hard to see past the table, but nfortunately he never knew that he was on an audition. First date was never dinner. I knew I'd eventually have to give in and I'd probably never see him again.

I' be 'head over heals' for a guy, until I'd see him eat. Besides teeth being the #1 thing I notice w/a potential SO, I would have to say the close runner up would be table manners. Horrible table manners would absolutely turn me off, to the point of never seeing the guy again.

I'm not as strict as my parents were, but this is what I expect from my children (when at the table):

1. No eating until everyone is sitting w/utensils in hand.
2. Napkin in lap (even if it's McDonalds)
3. If you would like seconds, ask everyone at the table if they would like seconds.
4. Pass the plates of food around prior to scooping for yourself.
5. Never, ever, ever, talk with food in your mouth. Rinse with drink before answering, or saying anything.
6. Mouth shut,while chewing.
7. One hand in lap, unless cutting food.
8. No elbows on the table.
9. Ask to be excused when finished.
10. Clean plate and place in DW.
11. Kids at the 'kids table' when adult company over (kids never sat w/adults when I was a child). Children should never think they are at the same level of conversation, and never ever 'butt' in. (Also makes them 'desire and long' for the grown up table!).

Oh yeah, almost forgot (I do have an eight yr old boy!) no passing gas, burping, or coughing at the table! (Oh, my parents would have shown me the back hand on that one!)
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I'm with you on this...it can be disgusting to be with someone who has bad table manners.
I have this friend and he shovels his food in, head in his plate plate and within 5 min. he's finished eating, way before anyone else is. He had potato soup once and it looked like he was barfing it up, it was gooey and drippy....argh, I have learned to not look at him when he's eating. His family never ate at the table together and he's 48 yrs. old. His g/f manners are a little better but she puts her elbows up on the table and her 8 yr old kid manners are atrocious, interrupting, talking with mouth full, playing with her food and she doesn't know what a napkin is for. I also hate when I see adults and kids use their forks and knives wrong when cutting meat...like it's a construction project or something...I'm just waiting for the meat to go flying or a finger cut off.

When I'm with them I try to concentrate on the fellowship instead of the lack of table manners because I know I can't change them. In a potential mate though, I have a choice of nixing them right away if they eat like farmers in the field. :)

end of rant,
LuckyDog
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Number one deal-breaker for SOs or friends: chewing out loud and/or with mouth open. ONLY exception: I entertain my nieces and nephews by playing "Train Wreck" or "Look" -- which consists entirely of chewing up a big mouthful of food and then opening mouth wide.

A close number two: Persistent bad breath (as in, EVERY time we get together).

Ever try to "fix" a friend's chewing out loud?? One of my bestest friends does this and it can't be helping his business, which is *very* heavy on the networking. Ideas??


I'm the oldest of seven children, including four boys, and God bless her, my mother drummed great manners into all of us (with a slight shortage of tolerance for those not as fortunate, but still...).

Her biggest challenge, I think, was the mirror that covered an entire dining room wall. When the boys faced it, they were constantly mugging, picking their noses, bouncing rolls off each others' heads, stealing the girls' food, etc. When they had their backs to it, though, they were constantly twisting around to check themselves out. (Interestingly, the girls' looking in the mirror was never a problem...)

It was finally resolved by having all four boys sit close to Mom. When they got crazy Dad growled, "Rap that kid!" and Mom gave them this pleading look that said, "PLEASE don't make me go there." She never had to.

Amateur ability to manipulate group dynamics was very important with all these people to juggle. I appreciate their skills and patience more every day.

BklynBorn
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Number one deal-breaker for SOs or friends: chewing out loud and/or with mouth open. ONLY exception: I entertain my nieces and nephews by playing "Train Wreck" or "Look" -- which consists entirely of chewing up a big mouthful of food and then opening mouth wide.</i.

You're the one I that takes me a week to bring my kids back to reality, after visiting.


A close number two: Persistent bad breath (as in, EVERY time we get together).

Yep! I forgot how much this meant to me. I can totally understand onions and garlic, but there's just something about raunchy breath that spell r-o-t-t-e-n. I can't help but judge someone on this, it's the same with BO. Clean hygiene speaks volumes about people!!

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Yeah, I should have 'proofed' that one. I guess 'board' manners should speak volumes as well. Ugh! Sucks we can't go back and edit posts. :(
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<<A close number two: Persistent bad breath (as in, EVERY time we get together).

Yep! I forgot how much this meant to me. I can totally understand onions and garlic, but there's just something about raunchy breath that spell r-o-t-t-e-n. I can't help but judge someone on this, it's the same with BO. Clean hygiene speaks volumes about people!!>>



You may need to keep in mind that bad breath is not always a hygiene issue - it can sometimes be a symptom of an illness or a reaction to medication. That may not make a difference in terms of your wish to date them, but please don't assume they are "dirty" unless there are other indications of such a conclusion as well.

I'm just saying.... my breath is minty fresh, of course! ;-)
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bad breath is not always a hygiene issue - it can sometimes be a symptom of an illness or a reaction to medication.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

...which I *should* be able to keep in my head since *I* had an extended period of wearing a temporary bridge that trapped 90% of the food that went into my mouth and then cultured it for a few days...


Oh, well -- *should*. I *should* also be rich and thin...

BklynBorn
- rich at heart and thin - somewhere else, I guess...
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Please be gentle on folks with bad breath. My husband says mine is horrendous. But I brush my teeth every day after breakfast and before bed. If I'm going out I also brush before going out. I flosh my teeth every night and I use Listertine 2x per day. I can't help it! It's not for lack of good dental hygeine.

Selphiras
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Greetings, Selphiras, continuing halitosis in the face of excellent dental hygiene implies at least 3 things that I can think of: an infection or abscess in a tooth (though pain is a likely symptom) or in your sinuses - or a gastrointestional problem such as an esophageal diverticulum that retains food. You may want to get a good checkup by all of a dentist, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor and a gastroenterologist.

xraymd
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No. of Recommendations: 68
I have a choice of nixing them right away if they eat like farmers in the field.

Please be careful and kind when posting things like this. I grew up on a farm and it's very hard work under very difficult conditions. Sometimes we had to eat fast in the field because the rain was coming or the night was coming. We would have summer sausage sandwiches, some type of vegetable or fruit from the garden, brownies or apple pie from scratch, and the best homeade lemonade in the world. And my grandfather would want coffee even though it was summer and we didn't have a fancy carafe so my mother would put it in a Ball jar with the cream (from our own cows) already in it so that it was so light that it looked more like what I now love and know as a latte. We'd wrap the jar in a towel so that one of us could hold as we drove "lunch" out to the field.

We always ate together as a family. In the summer that would mean three meals a day every day. We never EVER ate with the TV on. We always sat around a big table (except during field work). We had assigned places to sit having the littlest ones seated closer to adults. No one ate before everyone was ready. Often we had hired help and we would make big meals so that they could sit down with our family to eat mashed potatoes, gravy (which I am a master at because of this), corn or beans or aspargus from the garden, bread and homeade jam from homegrown berries, chicken or pork chops or even steak and then some type of dessert that I'd bake because I was the oldest girl (and yes now I can bake anything) and we never ate off paper.

I take a major instant offense to anyone chewing with their mouth open or talking with food in their mouth and cannot ever get to a second date on either offense. I've dated my share of men (I'm 39 and never married) that are from either farm or city, educated or not and I've found that the worst mannered men come from the city because they were never made to sit down and share a meal properly. Not all of them are like that but even though we weren't fancy, we definitely were neat and polite and a bit proper.

I know I'm being defensive but a hardworking farmer having lunch in the field or grabbing it and having it while working in order to beat the rain shouldn't have to take the hit for bad table manners.

regatta
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Gentility
1. No eating until everyone is sitting w/utensils in hand.
4. Pass the plates of food around prior to scooping for yourself.
5. Never, ever, ever, talk with food in your mouth. Rinse with drink before answering, or saying anything.
6. Mouth shut,while chewing.
7. One hand in lap, unless cutting food.
8. No elbows on the table.
========================================
Dad was pretty *insistent* on manners at the table... no excuses...

Used whatever utensil was handy to *prod* transgressors... think I even saw blood... maybe... once... can't remember anyone having to be *reminded* twice...

Can't think of any more important lessons presented to me, going back over several decades...

Thanks, Dad... [AND MOM]... (they were a team)
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I know I'm being defensive but a hardworking farmer having lunch in the field or grabbing it and having it while working in order to beat the rain shouldn't have to take the hit for bad table manners.

Did you see your post made Best Of? I rec'ed it too, because just about all of my extended family are rural people and most of them have really good table manners. Meals are practically a ceremony when I go visit them, even though the surroundings may not be fancy. Always at the table, never any TV on (interferes with conversation), always a blessing said, and so on, even though we may be eating chicken pot pie off Corelle dishes.

When I first got married and my DH, who comes from a much wealthier and better-educated background, did stuff like roll his corn on top of the butter to butter it, I was shocked! I would MUCH rather my kids picked up their table manners from my country relatives than from my DH's family, I can tell you that.

bookaholic
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Sidecar just started eating dinner with us because she's doing finger foods which means I don't have to sit and put every bite into her mouth. I had previously asked my DH if he'd start joining us for dinner at some point, and the other night he did. The first thing is funny--Sidecar isn't used to seeing Daddy eat and she just sat and stared at him instead of eating her food that first night. LOL The second night was a little better, so she's getting used to it. (I always give her dinner and sometimes ate at the same time, so she'd seen me before. All other meals have been eated separately from her.)

My family ALWAYS ate meals together--breakfast, lunch (except when we were at school, and yes, Dad always came home from work), and dinner. His family, too, ate dinner together, even though it was often at 8pm since his Dad had a 2-hour commute. Our family will probably rarely eat breakfast together since DH is not a morning person and I am--I eat at least an hour before he does and on the weekends it's hourS before. But we'd always said we wanted to do dinners as a family...and now we finally are! We don't do tablecloths, but placemats are always on our table. And if I ever remember that DH is eating with us, I'll start doing things like making the table look nice. So far, he's had to move things off the table just to sit down with us (it's been laundry day lately).

It's nice to know there are other dinner-together families out there. It's a dying art and I think that's sad.

Selphiras
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<<And if I ever remember that DH is eating with us, I'll start doing things like making the table look nice. >>


You deserve a nice looking table too - whether or not he's there.

I'm just saying.
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YEah, yeah, yeah, I agree. The problem is that our dining table is one of only two flat surfaces in our house for things to collect. It's a MAJOR hotspot, no matter what I do. In fact, the other flat surface was bought partially to make the table stop being a hotspot...but it just didn't happen. We have no other place for some stuff (like folded laundry and the mail and books we're reading). We don't have a coffee table or such....

Selphiras
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<like folded laundry and the mail and books we're reading>

folded laundry should be put in the dressers.
mail should be opened, sorted, and filed immediately.
books - keep mine next to the bed since that is where I do my reading.

Nothing on my dining room table, nothing on kitchen table.

hope this helps!!
electrasmom
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The problem is that DH brings the mail in, but I sort it. He folds the laundry; I put most of it away (in 4 years, he still doesn't know the vareities of towels and where they go, but then, my dad didn't really either until he retired!). I read books downstairs, and they can't be left on the sofa or the floor cuz Sidecar LOVES paper.

I know, I know, we could do better. We just don't seem to...... (Oh, also on the table are the toilet repair supplies to return to Menards. Again, no other place for them until they get returned....)

Selphiras
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Oh, and DH stays at home, so he does things like fold and bring in the mail during the day, hours before I have a chance to deal with them. I'm pretty good at going through the mail right away after changing my clothes, but not always. And things like magazines can't be put away because again, there's no other place for them to go....

Selphiras
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<<The problem is that DH brings the mail in, but I sort it. He folds the laundry; I put most of it away (in 4 years, he still doesn't know the vareities of towels and where they go, but then, my dad didn't really either until he retired!). I read books downstairs, and they can't be left on the sofa or the floor cuz Sidecar LOVES paper.

I know, I know, we could do better. We just don't seem to...... (Oh, also on the table are the toilet repair supplies to return to Menards. Again, no other place for them until they get returned....)>>


Selphiras -

I wasn't dinging you cuz you have hot spots. I was just pointing out that if it is worth making something nicer for him, it is worth making something nicer for you. You deserve to be treated as nicely as he does.

A couple ideas for the items you've mentioned:

1) Get some kind of covered container or basket for your reading area so Sidecar can't get to the books. (I have a footstool with storage in it near my reading/TV area. A sidetable with a drawer would also work.)

2. Get a basket for the mail - if it is dinner time and the mail hasn't been sorted yet, just move a single basket instead of a pile of papers. (Plus while the mail is still on the table, it is contained in a single geographic area.)

3. I have a "launching pad" near the entrance of my home - a 5 shelf tower bookcase that takes up less than a square foot of floor space. Shelf 1 holds my house keys & purse plus anything that needs to leave the house with me the next time I go out. Shelf 2 has stuff that needs to leave the house with me the next time I go to a specific place (library, my mom's, etc.) Shelf 3 has some decorative items on it. Shelf 4 has mittens/scarves or suntan lotion depending on season. Shelf 5 is where I leave my shoes when I come in (I hate shoes). When the shelf is full, I know I need to take my shoes upstairs.

My solutions may not be directly helpful to you, but I hope they will stimulate your thinking to what DOES fit your life.
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I'm not as strict as my parents were, but this is what I expect from my children (when at the table):

1. No eating until everyone is sitting w/utensils in hand.
2. Napkin in lap (even if it's McDonalds)
3. If you would like seconds, ask everyone at the table if they would like seconds.
4. Pass the plates of food around prior to scooping for yourself.
5. Never, ever, ever, talk with food in your mouth. Rinse with drink before answering, or saying anything.
6. Mouth shut,while chewing.
7. One hand in lap, unless cutting food.
8. No elbows on the table.
9. Ask to be excused when finished.
10. Clean plate and place in DW.
11. Kids at the 'kids table' when adult company over (kids never sat w/adults when I was a child). Children should never think they are at the same level of conversation, and never ever 'butt' in.



Table behavior surely IS important (as well as eating together as a family, and talking rather than watching TV), but I'm so puzzled by several of these rules.

I must admit that "one hand in lap, unless cutting food" is one I've never even heard of till this list (I lurk here occasionally. I don't understand the value of it. "No elbows on the table" is no stranger, of course, but I've always been puzzled by the value of that one as well. Mealtime at the dinner table isn't hit and run. Good food and conversation take time, and I feel it's most important to feel comfortable at the table. If that's elbows on (and both hands on)--then so be it. I've always regarded that rule as an outmoded convention from a more formal era that doesn't add anything positive at this point. Being respectful and unselfish are the essentials (as well as, for kids, at least one taste of something new), and those cover the necessary ground very well, in my view.

"Kids at the adult table whenever company is over" is just the opposite of how my husband and I have always handled that situation. Not that there's just one right or best way, but it's so interesting to see different views. We've always wanted our kids to feel at ease with adults and with adult topics of conversation (kid-appropriate, obviously). And to us, it's also part of the respect we have for our kids. As each of them became able to start participating in adult conversation, we were delighted. And adults at the table would also enjoy talking with our kids about their own activities and interests. Most humor, of course, is easy and fun to share across the ages. Our kids are now 20 and 24, and have been extremely comfortable in adult company for many years. They've always very much enjoyed our friends, and vice versa--and even more so as the kids have grown.


sheila
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<<I must admit that "one hand in lap, unless cutting food" is one I've never even heard of till this list (I lurk here occasionally. I don't understand the value of it. "No elbows on the table" is no stranger, of course, but I've always been puzzled by the value of that one as well. >>


I think these are both related to retaining good posture and not slouching at a dinner table.
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My family rules while growing up were fairly standard to this thread, with the addition of

"No singing at the table"


It was only after I became a parent that I understood that one.


85
>great green gobs of greasy grimey gopher guts.....<
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Recent New Yorker cartoon:

Kid and parents at table; kid is looking down, scowling and saying:

I recognize a lecture disguised as grace when I see one...
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The one that throws me is

4. Pass the plates of food around prior to scooping for yourself.

What we learned was to pick up the nearest bowl/platter, help ourselves and pass it on. Generally there were enough bowls and platters that everyone started with one. Seems to me that if all the food got passed around bypassing the kids then everything would just have to be passed twice. Plus if everyone followed that rule (vs. only kids) than no one would eat - we'd all be waiting for the other to start scooping first :) Perhaps I'm misunderstanding this rule though.

I also agree with having kids with adults instead of seperate unless there isn't enough room for both kids and adults then the two should be seperate rather than two tables of mixed kids/adults.

Lael
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4. Pass the plates of food around prior to scooping for yourself.


Gosh, we ate with the head of the table serving the plates, so we only passed on request (for butter or for seconds) In that case, yes, I was taught that you responded politely to the request and you did not take for yourself. Yes, sometimes that meant you passed the peas and then asked for them back.

Interesting how "manners" can differ

YeilB

who is inordinately proud of having found that current magazines can reside on the top of a short bookshelf near the table, so that if one does want to read at the table one brings over just one magazine
(we are bookworms who indulge ourselves)
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I also agree with having kids with adults instead of seperate unless there isn't enough room for both kids and adults then the two should be seperate rather than two tables of mixed kids/adults.
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, this kicks up a flashback for me... Despite being the oldest in my family of 7 sibs, I married last. And for many years, my family went to Aunt K.'s for Thanksgiving dinner, with adults' (fancy dining room) and children's (card table in Siberia -- the living room) tables. The ages were very close, so the criterion for sitting at the grown-up table was not srictly chrono age, but being *married* or not. Sigh.

However, nowadays all the adults fight to sit at the kids' table, which is very obviously more fun than the adults'. I'm hoping that now that I'm separated I'll get first dibs.

BklynBorn
...looking on the bright side!
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My dad's side of the family is big enough that we always had a kid's table. Of course, now the youngest kid is 36, but the kid's table still often ends up seated along generational lines. I hardly ever sit at the kid's table, though, in spite of being among the youngest. I spent too many years not being able to see my grandmother, so I always sit near her! My dad's generation is usually opting for the kid's table anyway.

Cassandra
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When my first-born was little, we had an official rule of "no feet on the table during meals." I always thought that was odd.

After I had another kid, I realized that rule is usually stated, "Sit up straight and keep your hands and feet to yourself."

Badmom Vickifool
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