Etiquette is the guidebook

Etiquette is the guidebook by which we all get along with one another in the smoothest ways possible. But, like changing and merging cultures, we have to change our minds about some of the old fashioned rules of manners over time. Some of these old fashioned rules can now be updated, but technology has also given us cause to add new ones.


1. Crossing your fork and knife over your plate indicates you are finished with your meal.
We're not in the 17th century, and most often not dining at any sort of establishment that would understand the meaning. Reserve this rule only for private dinner parties with upper crust guests and a staff, or in a three Michelin star restaurant where your meals run in the hundreds. Chili's... No. Spago? Yes. 


2. Taking pictures of your food.

That depends on your present company, and whether or not you are a food critic. Seriously, though, it is seldom appropriate. If you must, try to be discreet, and never force your dining partner to stop eating so you can get a good shot of their food.  I am probably one of the few who actually wants to see what your dinner plate looks like.


3. Texting, tweeting, or otherwise using your phone when you are out with another person.

This is a stickler for me. Put down your connection to the world for a measly hour and pay attention to the person who made the effort to come in the flesh and give you their undivided attention. Unless you're on emergency call, have a chinchilla in labor, or your children are sitting out in the car going hungry while you dine, you don't need to be that easy to reach. Be with your dinner guest, whether it's McDonald's or Mela.




4. Don't put your elbows on the table.

Although the courtiers of 1800s Britain would never have put up with such crass and trashy behavior, it's now considered perfectly fine to do this, provided it's not in the gravy. It's largely a matter of personal space at the table. If you are alone, it's not a problem, but if you're packed like sardines in a kid's lunchroom at a PTA dinner, maybe consider not hogging the table with your elbows.


5. Eating or drinking on the bus.

Unless you were in a dinner car in a fancy train, it was not appropriate to bring food with you on the bus, whether it was short or long duration, because eating in front of others was considered rude to the extreme, not to mention a slight bump could send your food careening and flailing into the bus and all over your fellow passengers. Nowadays, it's considered more fun to take the LaZoom comedy bus and get to know Asheville better first. Besides, it's perfectly acceptable to drink (wine and beer only) on the LaZoom Comedy Tour. as you explore Asheville with entertaining guides.

Besides, it's considered very gauche to ignore the crossdressing nun on a bicycle!

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Janet Bray  is a food writer, artist, potter, lover of parrots and animals, wildlife, natural living and healthcare. I write a little, paint a lot, garden whenever I can, and enjoy everything Asheville has to offer! I also have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and help educate and support the Asheville area Ehlers-Danlos population.  May 16, 2015  


All images copyright 2010 Janet Bray     "Reprinted with permission from