July 16, 2010, - 4:23 pm
Since it’s the weekend, you might go out for dinner with friends or your significant other. And sometimes people don’t have good manners. I feel bad for them because they probably didn’t have parents who cared enough. And someone can still be a good person and a food slob at the same time. Still, it’s not something I’ll suffer gladly or at all. For me it’s an absolute deal breaker. What’s the grossest thing someone has done during a meal or that someone has eaten? Is it a deal breaker for you in your relationship?
A guy I once dated displayed horrible manners at a restaurant during dinner. He drooled, didn’t use his utensils correctly (or much), and used his fingers to wipe his mouth. I’m being nice in the description. It made me sick, and I never went out with him again. Like I said, for me, it’s a deal breaker. Low class. A complete turn-off. Eeuuww. I thought I might have been too tough on a nice guy, but I just couldn’t take it. Sorry, but drooling and using your fingers this way is for babies, not mature adults. GUH-ROSS. If you don’t have the most basic of manners, hit the road, Jack. Does this make me a snob? If so, then snobbery is vastly underrated, and you would do well to acquire some. Ditto for eating and/or chewing gum with your mouth open. There’s a certain conservative commentator who chews gum with her mouth open, and it’s disgusting.
Wall Street Journal “On Relationships” writer Elizabeth Bernstein writes about some of the biggest “couples food fights.” And again, eeuuww. I really don’t know how these people can be together. Or why their parents didn’t teach them the most basic human behavior that separates us–or is supposed to–from animals. Or why they agreed to give their real names. For the record, I feel for these people, so I’m removing the surname of at least one of these couples. And I think the jab at the guy who grew up on a farm is uber-snobby. I know plenty of people who grew up on farms or other rural settings and have the highest of manners. Here are some excerpts of the food freak show.
Ben [surname redacted by DS] slurps sauces, sucks on bones, smacks his lips and licks his fingers while eating. “You want to get the chipmunk effect,” says the 48-year-old software consultant, of stuffing his cheeks full of peanuts, his favorite food.
Eating this way is a pleasure to him: He grew up with five siblings on a farm in South Carolina, where mealtimes were chaotic affairs and the sounds of loud eating were a sign of appreciation.
But how does his wife feel about it?
“I struggle to keep my nerves intact,” says Jocelyn [surname redacted by DS], 49, a communications and marketing director for a trade association that supports people with disabilities. “When he swallows, he makes a drain-flushing sound. And he can make grapes crunch.”
In the beginning of their 23-year marriage, Ms. [surname redacted by DS] tried to change her husband’s eating habits by nagging or kicking his leg under the table. Now she drinks wine to calm down, dines in another room or rushes through her own food so she can get away from his noises as quickly as possible.
And she shoots him a look: “It’s like a cartoon character, where her eyes bug out and her mouth turns down,” says Mr. [surname redacted by DS] . “You feel like the worst person ever.”
I’m with the wife on this one. Disgusting.
But each half of this couple seems to need a stay in the loony bin. If someone baked me cookies, I’d appreciate it and thank him, not concentrate on the thickness:
The nadir of the Hills’ battles? Chocolate-chip cookies. Mr. Hills prefers his flat and thin. His wife wants them cakey and thick. “There is always an argument,” says Mr. Hills, 33, a travel blogger. “It’s usually resolved by the person who made them enjoying them and the other being ticked off.” (Ms. Hills has been known to get so mad after a flat batch comes out of the oven that she’s driven to the grocer to buy store-made cookies.)
Um, why did they get married? Just asking. These people are juvenile. And this woman is waaaaay too analytical. I mean, really–the way someone eats onion soup as the way they approach life?! Puh-leeze.
Kathy Schwartz . . . [a] Seattle resident, once ended a relationship with a man because of the way he ate French onion soup. He had ordered a bowl one day at a restaurant, but found the typically stringy, melted Gruyere cheese to be a challenge. “After several attempts trying to twiddle the cheese into submission, he grabbed his knife and, samurai style, sliced through it,” says Ms. Schwartz. “It dawned on me that this was his approach to dealing with life’s challenges—to attack and pummel rather than negotiate, compromise or find another less confrontational way.” She declined further dates.
Hey, I give the guy credit for tactfully finding a way to eat the soup without being a total slob. What’s wrong with slicing through cheese?
Some of these people are just waaaaay too picky. And, then, finally, there’s this absurdity:
A few months into their relationship, as the couple became more serious, Mr. Walker came up with a possible solution: He sent her to a therapist to get over her food aversions.
The counselor had Ms. Walker make a list of the foods she refused to touch—her No. 1 offender lettuce, along with green beans, grapes and spaghetti sauce—and helped her introduce them into her diet.
Oy vey. Thank G-d I had good parents who taught me table manners and insisted upon them, who introduced me to many kinds of foods and to appreciate them. And above all, who taught me not to be this absurd and New Age-y about other people.
So, have you ever encountered people like this–who have food and table manner issues–in your life, your family, your relationships? What did you do? Was it a deal breaker?
Tags: bad manners, basic manners, cookies, couples, eating, etiquette, food, lifestyles, relationships, soup, table manners