Bringing my warm cup of coffee to the breakfast table, I eased into my chair opposite my friend’s nine year old daughter before taking a sip. I was visiting them in California for a few weeks and this was my first day there. Still being on East Coast time, I was an early riser. So was her daughter, since it was also a school day.
Her daughter was busy scooping cereal from her bowl to her mouth when she started talking to me about her day so far. I stared at her face in total horror. Sitting across from me was her gaping mouth filled with masticated Captain Crunchberries and slime. I almost upchucked my coffee.
Now granted, she’s nine, so I cut her some slack. I made a mental note to ask her mom about table manners though. She was definitely old enough to be taught how to chew with your mouth closed.
My friend ambled in and popped a pastry into the microwave. The bell dinged just as she leveled off her own coffee cup and she took a seat next to her daughter, directly across from me. After stuffing her face with half of the nuked pastry, she proceeded to tell me about the upcoming daily events.
I once again stared back in horror. How was I supposed to sit there and have an adult conversation with a cow chewing her cud? Bits of pastry covered in slimy spit being gnashed between her teeth while she spat out unintelligible words meant to inform me of the plans for the afternoon. I couldn’t understand what she was telling me because I couldn’t get past this washing machine of chunky chewed grind that used to actually be something edible.
No wonder the nine year old dined like a sow. Her mother was just as bad, if not worse! There would be no lessons in table manners happening here that day.
(these guys crack me up!!)
It wasn’t long after this I noticed that table manners, and manners in general, had taken a backseat to just about everything else in life. Being taught the simplest thing, like crossing your legs or not talking with your mouth full of food, were things of the past. People just do not seem to care much anymore about how offensive and truly disgusting their grooming and simple social graces have become.
On an airplane recently I sat next to a grown women and had to endure listening to her literally smack her lips and lick her hands as she devoured (not an exaggeration) a McDonald’s hamburger. It made me want to gag! It certainly dulled my own appetite.
Hey! Perhaps this could all be a great new diet aide!
Behind me on this same flight, a young mother satisfied a screaming kid by giving him a wad of bubblegum. He proceeded to smack and crack his gum for the last hour of the ride. Looking around at my close quartered neighbors I could see the rolling eyes and the stink-eye being directed at this immature family. I wasn’t alone with my murderous thoughts. I wanted to scream at him and then decided it might have been more prudent to scream at the mother. That’s just bad parenting.
No one seems to have even the most common of manners these days. I’m not sure when that memo went out, but I missed it. I think simple manners are not too much to expect from your fellow man and I vote for bringing them back!
- Keep your elbows off of the table.
- Don’t spit food in your napkin and then leave for some unsuspecting person to find it later.
- Chew your food with your mouth closed.
- Don’t talk to people at the table when your mouth is full of chewed up food that needs to be swallowed.
- Don’t reach across the table.
- Put your napkin in your lap and use it to dab sauce off your face occasionally.
Seriously…learn these simple manners and you’ll go far in life.