I have come across people dining out who hold their forks as if it was a spade and dig into their food as if they are uprooting last year’s left over crop of cassava; painful to watch, to say the least. If you have no idea on how to use the cutlery in front of you can be excused and use your fingers.
On another occasion I witnessed a fellow wordsmith try to cut a piece tender chicken with a spoon and knife and then proceed to place the chicken bones on the immaculate table cloth. I think eating at too many plastic tables breeds this bad habit of pushing bones on to the dining table.
At that moment I felt there is an urgent need for table manners to be included in all journalism courses. Another dining trend that leaves me flabbergasted even though it sounds so flimsy is the way we hold our soda bottles. Clasping the bottle at the top the lips then compete with the fingers and thumb for limited space.
The result is a clumsy look with no class. For goodness sake if there are no straws grasp the bottle from the bottom with a sense of purpose and drink. It is a tidier stance and portrays a sense that you know what you are doing. Another dining disaster is the use of toothpicks and ear buds.
Not only will you ruin your eardrums permanently you have no business whatsoever cleaning your ears at the table. Just as they say clothes maketh a man, table manners say a great deal about you. And depending on how good are bad they are, table manners show how civilised you are.
A friend of mine told me that his first formal lesson in table manners was when he was in secondary school and his guardian thought it was about time he taught my friend and his cousin that there were other ways of partaking food other than with fingers and spoons.
So one evening the gentleman sat both teenagers down and taught them how to properly hold a knife and fork. Resenting the lesson at first my friend was most grateful years later. Slurping tea noisily is fine within the confines of your home but cut it out once you are in public.
Likewise dipping slices of bread in your tea or coffee is a big no no if you are seated in a posh restaurant. Table manners are all part of public relations. There is no point dressing up to the nines if your behaviour at the table are a reflection of a third rate gangster. So style up and educate yourself on how to eat in public at different occasions. And for goodness sake keep those tooth picks far away from the ears!