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Table Manners       « 1·2·3 »
  dating guides · etiquette · manners

So the appetizers arrive and you aren't sure which utensil to use? Rule #3: Use your utensils from the outside in. Here's an example of what you're looking at:

You think this is confusing? Check out what a formal place setting looks like!

So back to the appetizers, the fork furthest to the outside is the one you should use for the appetizer. When the next part of the meal comes use the next outermost fork and so on, getting the picture? No?

Well, that's the reason for Rule #4: If you're not sure what to do, wait and see what your neighbor does. If that offers no clue, then just fake it! Chances are nobody is watching you that carefully anyways! Moreover, if you're at a restaurant and you use the wrong fork, the waiter will bring you a new one.

Okay, so now that you know which silverware to use, you'd probably like to know how to use it! If you're right-handed, hold the fork in you left hand and the knife with your right. With the tines facing downward, hold down an end-piece of whatever you are cutting. Don't hold the knife or fork like a dagger, but place your index finger along the top of each utensil, holding each at the end. Gently, using a sawing motion, cut the meat near the tines of the fork, so that you have one bite-sized piece. Then, lay the knife down and switch the fork to your right hand. This is called the American (or Zig-Zag) method of cutting. The Continental (or European) method consists of not switching hands and using the left hand for all fork-related activities.

This leads us to Rule #5: You should never let any utensils, once used, ever touch the table again. The original reason is because the utensil could dirty the tablecloth and result in a cleaning bill for the host. One last note about utensils… don't put the entire soup spoon in your mouth. Instead, fill it about two-thirds with soup, bring it up to your mouth and sip it with as little slurping as possible. When your soup runs low it is acceptable to tip your bowl so you can capture the last bits but don't do it more than twice.

Okay, you're halfway through… now it's time to eat with manners. Always sit straight up in your chair, never lean backward, and never let your elbows touch the table. When eating, bring the utensil to you rather than shoving your face into the plate… don't look like a pig.

The rest of the rules... : Everything Dating from Pick-up to Break-up

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