Mind Your Manners

From the book Child Rearing With Vision

Here, summarized from Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette, first published in 1952, are some things we should not do at the table:

Sit down to a meal unwashed and uncombed or improperly dressed.

Tilt our chairs or push them back from the table with all our body weight on them.

Tuck in a napkin, or suck our fingers instead of wiping them on a napkin.

Lounge on the dinner table, including putting our elbows on it or sitting back on our spines. (It is acceptable to put elbows—preferably one—on the table between courses.)

Put more than a manageable mouthful in our mouths at one time.

Chew with our mouths open or with obvious noise or lip-smacking.

Speak unnecessarily loudly, or chatter incessantly.

Behave noisily and conspicuously.

Burp, belch, sneeze or cough without attempting to turn away from others, and then only behind a cupped hand or a clean handkerchief.

Scratch, pick the teeth, spit, comb the hair, or tend the nails.

Pull our finger joints, drum our fingers, or indulge in any similar irritating little habits that set people’s teeth on edge.

Leave a spoon in a cup, or eat with a knife.

Interrupt a conversation—except for an important reason and then only after asking permission to speak.

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