So, you’re training hard, doing your PT, dry fire, SUT, ruck walks, becoming hard and totally capable of successfully defending your loved ones from marauding packs of feral humans should SHTF.
Great! That’s what we all strive for every day, or should be striving for, anyway.
But what happens when you clean the rifle, put away the LBE, take a shower, and get ready to go among the ‘women folk’ for a nice evening? Even when S does HTF, there will be times that skills other than, ‘shoot, move, communicate’ will come in handy.
Especially during extremely stressful or adverse times, if you’re in the company of, or seeking the attention of a lovely lady, etiquette goes a long way in getting her attention. If you’ve achieved that objective and convinced her that you’re ‘the one’, manners and eitquette goes a long, long way in keeping that initial fire kindled. It also does a great job of setting the right kind of example for any young lads or lasses you’re raising.
Here’s a few really great tips from the article. Click the link above and get the full picture of what Brett and Kate McKay have to say about it over at “The Art of Manliness.” And then, like all other things we need to do, lather, rinse, repeat.
“It’s “ladies first,” except when your going first is in form of service to her. Thus, when there’s a waiter to lead you to a table or an usher to lead you to your seats, you fall back and let her precede you—but when there is no one else to perform the service involved, you go first in order to find the table or the seats. When the path is clear and unobstructed, ladies first; but when there’s a mob to be elbowed or a puddle to be forded or a steep step to be navigated, gentlemen first.
When you go first, however, be sure that the reason for it is apparent. You get off the bus first so you can help her down to the curb, not so you can be the first to reach the bar on the corner. You go first down the steep stadium steps so you can hand her down as you go, not so you can lose her in the crowd. If she’s behind you, keep her close behind and make it clear that you are helping her. If there can be any doubt in her mind as to the reason for your going first, say something like, “These stairs are pretty dark; maybe I’d better lead the way.””
“…watch yourself for these signs of the four scourges of the dining table.
1. The Slob
Ties his napkin around his neck or tucks it into his vest. The napkin belongs in your lap during a meal, loosely laid to the left of your place when you leave the table. Whether paper or damask, it should neither be folded for reuse nor blithely tossed into your plate.
Leaves a sample of every course on the rim of his drinking glass. He sins on two counts: he drinks when his mouth is not empty, and neglects to use his napkin before using the glass.
Makes every mouthful a full course in miniature (and not so miniature at that). Instead, he should take small bites, chewing and swallowing each bite before he takes the next.
Forms a bridge from table to plate with his knife and fork when they are not in use—handles on cloth, working ends propped on plate. In his less virulent form he lays knife and fork on plate, as is correct, but so close to the edge that they fall off when the plate is removed.
Talks with his mouth full.
Cleans his teeth at the table—with toothpick or fingernail or by running his tongue around his teeth, with grimaces.
Spits out anything he doesn’t like. (You don’t have to eat the inedible of course, and if you must remove something from your mouth, first be sure that it bears no resemblance to regurgitated food, then grasp and remove it with your fingers—that’s the quickest way. Correctly you could take it out on the same spoon or fork it went in on, but this maneuver is too acrobatic for grace in most instances, and it runs dangerously close to spitting. Actually, you can usually cut out bones and stones before they get into your mouth. And you can manfully swallow something that offends your palate.)
Breaks crackers into his soup. If they are meant to go into the soup, they are meant to go in whole. You spoon them directly into the soup if they are croutons; if they are oyster crackers you put them first on your butter plate or on the cloth, then drop them in whole, a few at a time.
Eats messy things with his fingers. The best way to decide when to pick food up in your fingers (if you’re not content to follow your hostess’ example) is to decide in advance whether you can do it neatly. Picnics are something else again of course, and some foods like lobster are messy whatever your modus operandi, but with neatness as your guide, you can’t go wrong. The guide works both ways: it’s neater to pick up an ear of corn than to watch it skitter across the plate as you try to cut it; it is neater to leave the hard stalk of asparagus if you can’t cut and eat it with the fork as you did the tips. And if an approach by hand seems indicated, as with a sandwich or a piece of fresh fruit, it is neater to cut it into manageable sections before you pick it up.
Blows on his food, instead of waiting quietly for it to cool enough to eat.
Bites off the ends of a forkful of spaghetti, usually in mid-air. If he can’t cut it on his plate, or twist it around his fork in a neat and manageable ball, he ought to order ravioli instead.
Gesticulates and points with his eating tools.
Puts solid silver on the table. If there is no saucer under the cup (but there always will be) leave the spoon in the cup rather than placing it on the tablecloth. And never do the dishwashing or silver polishing at the table: if the implement is really not clean, ignore it as you would ignore a hair in your soup. (In a restaurant, of course, you may ask for another fork or send the soup back.)
Puts his mouth into the food instead of the food into his mouth. You shouldn’t meet your food even halfway. You bring it up to your erect head; you don’t duck down to meet it coming up.
2. The Racket-eer
Chews with his mouth open, making no attempt to muffle the noise (or conceal the sight) of his cement-mixer mastication.
Clanks silver on silver, or silver on plate. When he stirs his coffee he does it fiendishly, like a witch standing over a boiling cauldron, and every revolution of the spoon sets up a racket. When he puts his knife and fork down, you wonder that the force does not smash the plate. He winds up by scraping his plate with his fork. And if he’s the “helpful” as well as noisy type, his final sin against the eardrums is to stack his dishes, crashingly.
Slurps his soup. Suction is superfluous—just put the side of the spoon to your mouth and sip quietly.
Drums on the table, or cracks his knuckles, or chews on the ice from his water glass, or otherwise sounds off between noisy bites.
Pushes away from the table at dinner’s end, with both hands shoving against the table edge and the chair screeching across the floor. Instead, you should reach down and lift the chair back as you rise slightly.
3. The Pig
Digs in the moment he’s served. He knows he doesn’t have to wait for the hostess, who will be served last, but he’s apparently too hungry to remember that he should wait until two or three others at the table have also been served.
Pushes his plate away from him when he’s finished, as if to say, “Well, that was good, now what do we eat?” Instead, he should sit quietly and without rearranging the table, without pushing or tilting his chair back, and without loosening his belt.
Uses pieces of bread, tightly gripped in his hand, to mop up every last drop of sauce, every last morsel of food. His plate then looks as if it had just come out of the dishwasher. If his favorite food is bread and gravy, he may break off a small piece of bread, drop it into the sauce, then eat the bread with his fork—but he shouldn’t scrub or mop or use an unbroken slice of bread.
Spreads the butter on his bread in mid-air and all at once, as if intended to eat the whole piece in one bite. Except in the case of tiny, hot biscuits, bread should be broken and buttered only as needed—in quarters or bite sizes. It should be held against the rim of the butter plate during the spreading, not waved all over the place or held chest high.
Gnaws at bones, as if he’s afraid to miss the tiniest morsel of meat.
Sucks his fingers, on the same sort of compulsion. If he is so messy as to get food on his fingers, he should use a finger bowl and/or the napkin, not his lips.
Cuts up his whole plateful of food at one time, as if he couldn’t bear to stop eating once he had begun. Unless he is under ten years old, he should cut his food only as he eats.
Tilts his soup bowl towards him. Properly, he would tip it away from him, just as—properly—he would spoon the soup away from him. But this is not the shortest distance between two points, and the pig is blatantly starving.
Elbows his way through the meal. When he cuts, his elbows are like flapping wings. When he eats, his spare arm serves as a prop, enabling him to eat much faster. Elbows on the table are “socially acceptable” when you’re not eating, but the safest course is to keep your spare hand in your lap. While you’re eating, your elbows should be as close to your body as in a good golf swing.
4. The Priss
Purses his lips when he eats—in exaggerated “refinement.” He couldn’t look less pleased if he were eating cyanide or castor oil.
Leaves a little of everything on his plate, in terror of appearing greedy. What a waste! If he doesn’t intend to eat it, he shouldn’t take it.
Is always saying that he doesn’t like or “can’t eat” certain food. If he is not blessed with a catholic taste, or a genuine enjoyment of all foods strange and familiar, he should pretend that he is. The very least he can do is keep quiet about his allergies and his prejudices.
Is a hesitant, obvious copy-cat, making everyone else as nervous as he over which fork to use. It’s not that important. If you can do it unobtrusively, it’s all very well to watch your hostess or more knowledgeable guests to see how they handle certain unfamiliar dishes. But if your concentration on the fine points of etiquette is going to make you an inattentive conversationalist, shrug off your worries. It might help you to know that silver is placed on the table in the order of its use, the fork farthest from your plate, on the outside, being meant for the first fork food, the one on the inside for the last. If you are served both fork and spoon for desert you may use both (spoon for the ice cream, say, and fork for the meringue), or you may use the fork to hold the desert steady while you cut and eat with the spoon, or you may simply use whichever seems more appropriate. The butter plate and glasses on your right are for you; your salad, unless served as a separate course, is on your left. But no one worth knowing will care if you use a fork when a spoon was intended, and if you don’t get flustered and apologetic, no one will even notice.
Is afraid to use a knife on his salad because he’s heard it’s not proper. If there is a salad knife at his place, he can be sure that it is not only proper but expected. And if he can’t manage the salad neatly with his fork alone, it’s better to use his dinner knife than to emulate a rabbit, with lettuce hanging out of his mouth.”