Avoid these gross dining habits while in public, including licking your fingers.

·5 min read

Q. My husband and I were out to dinner with two other couples. After we ordered our food, one of the wives noticed she had lost an earring. Everyone searched and luckily found it on the floor next to her chair. She immediately started putting the earring back into her ear; however, the backing must have gotten bent and she wasn’t having any luck. Her husband reached over to help her and he wasn’t having any luck. About this time our salads were being served. The two continued to work on the earring. Blood appeared on his fingers and her ear lobe. It was disgusting!

She is all upset her husband has failed and turns her body to the lady on her right and asks her to help her. Fortunately, this lady suggests they go to the ladies restroom. They disappear and the rest of us are awkwardly sitting there waiting to start eating our salads until they return to the table. The husband merely wipes his bloody fingers on his napkin instead of excusing himself to go to the men’s restroom to wash his hands. I actually felt like throwing up. Shouldn’t this lady have immediately excused herself from the table to go to the restroom and replace her earring?

A. Definitely! This is not something to be attempted at a dinner table. And her husband should have immediately excused himself and gone to the men’s room to wash his hands. The thought of him eating his meal in front of everyone without washing his hands with possible traces of blood on his fingers is totally disgusting!

Q. I am dating this man and he is very nice. The only problem is, he is always licking his fingers when we go out to eat. It is disgusting!

A. Yes, it is very ill-mannered to lick your fingers when dining in public. As I tell my young students: “Nothing is ever finger-lickin’ good.”

Q. I have a friend who is always coughing up phlegm and then spits it in his napkin during dinner. I just about want to throw up!

A. I would want to throw up as well. He needs to excuse himself and go to the restroom to do his coughing. He might also want to see a doctor to find out if there is a medication he could take to help resolve his problem.

Q. When I go out to lunch with a particular female colleague, she calls her live-in boyfriend as soon as she orders and whispers to him about what she has planned for him when she gets home. I want to scream at her!

A. I can certainly understand why you would want to scream at her! She is not only rude but obnoxious! Cell phones should not find their way to a lunch or dinner table! An exception might be if there is a pending emergency wherein your tablemate is waiting for a call about an immediate relative’s status in a hospital. In that case, she should explain upon immediately sitting down she is expecting a possible call and she would like to keep her cell phone close.

Q. Gristle! Do I try to swallow it and possibly choke or throw up? Or do I spit it in my napkin? Or do I use my fingers or take it out of my mouth and put it under the edge of my plate or on the bread and butter plate? Or do I spit it in my teaspoon or onto my fork, and wipe it off in my napkin?

A. The answer is definitely “none of the above”! The proper way to handle this distasteful situation is this: Without announcing to the world you have gristle in your mouth, simply bring the same utensil (probably a fork) to your mouth which you used to bring the piece of meat to your mouth which contained the gristle. As quietly and discreetly as possible, deposit the gristle onto the upturned tines of the fork and then deposit it on the edge of your lunch or dinner plate.

Q. Please tell me it is totally improper while sitting at the dinner table to take gum of any kind out of your mouth with your fingers, and place it on a plate and then put it back in your mouth just before you leave the table.

A. Yes, I can definitely tell you it is “totally improper.” Gum is not supposed to be chewed in public in the first place.

Q. Right or wrong: You do not blow your nose in the lunch or dinner napkin??

A. Absolutely wrong because it is “gross”!

More inappropriate actions

Q. At a table near me, I saw the lady pull out a small mirror shortly after she sat down and applied lipstick which I think is okay. But then she continued to hold the mirror and look over her entire face. She then actually squeezed or tried to squeeze a small pimple near her right ear. I couldn’t believe it. She wiped it off with her napkin and put away the mirror as her friend approached the table and sat down. Gross!

A. Yes, absolutely gross and totally inappropriate.

Q. While waiting for the next course, my sister-in-law noticed one of her fake fingernails was loose. She immediately reached into her purse and pulled out some nail glue; squeezed some on the nail; wiped the excess glue with her napkin; returned the glue to her purse. I gave her a weird look and said “Really?!?” She merely replied: “It had to be fixed NOW!” Interesting, huh?

A. Yes, interesting but also inappropriate.

Dental floss; say it don’t spray it

Q. Dental floss has no place at the dining table, does it? She said she had a chipped tooth and every bite seemed to be catching on it and it wouldn’t do any good to go to the restroom because she would be going there after every bite.

A. Her best strategy would have been to order something more palatable to eat, such as soup and jello.

Q. A tablemate spewing food particles when talking with food in her mouth and some falls on my arm. I wipe it off and ignore the situation, right?

A. How terrible, but yes! Hopefully, your tablemate saw it happen; apologizes and doesn’t let it happen again.