Mind Your Manners

By Ursula Terlecki

Ladies and gents pay attention. We may be living at a time when people have access to us 24/7 and checking our email before we get out of bed is the norm, but that is no excuse for not having table manners. After all, one wrong move could ruin the perfect pitch meeting or evaporate your chances with that PerfectMatch.com connection. So, whether out on a date (and doing your best to impress) or at a work function, there are a few things to keep in mind to make a good impression…and overshadow the dirty jokes you told before the food arrived. (Warning: different rules apply to fast food…yum. Simply put: don’t be a slob.)

Arrival. Greet the host. And it goes without saying, if there is a wait, don’t cause a scene. Restaurants get busy and it’s not the host’s fault.

Napkins. Once you are seated, place your napkin onto your lap with the crease facing you. If the napkin is particularly large, you can fold it in half again. Never take your drink or begin eating without placing your napkin on your lap. When you leave the table or get up for the restroom, fold your napkin (try to hide any food stains you may have left) and place the napkin to the left side of your place setting.

Menu signals. When you’re settled in, it’s time to look over the menu. Once you have decided what you want to order, close your menu and place it in front of you—this will signal to the wait staff that you are ready to order.

The wait staff. Be appreciative of their service. After all, isn’t it nice to be attended to? Look your waiter in the eye when ordering or asking for something and always say your please and thank yous!

Table tools. When selecting which utensil to use for each course, start with the outermost utensil and work your way in.

The bread basket. If a breadbasket graces your tabletop, tear off one piece and place it onto your bread plate. If you want to butter your bread, take a pat of butter and put it onto your bread plate so you have your own personal butter stash. Never butter your bread directly from the shared butter dish. Finally, tear your bread into bite size pieces and butter as you go.

Mind the purse. Believe it or not, you’re not supposed to hang your purse over the back of your chair. Apparently, you should either leave it on your lap or place it at your feet. And never, ever put your purse on the table. As for our male counterparts, wallets, keys and phones should not be piled onto the table either.


Turn it down. Turn your phone to silent or vibrate when you arrive. And try your very best not to text or talk on your phone throughout the meal. If a call or text is urgent, kindly excuse yourself from the table and take care of matters in the restroom.

Happy eating! And whatever you do DO NOT do this…

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