“It may seem a very simple thing to eat your meals, yet there is no occasion upon which the gentleman and the low-bred, vulgar man are more strongly contrasted, than when at the table.”
You never know the table you would be invited to tomorrow: Oprah’s lunch table, Board of Directors dinner table, Forbes exclusive luncheon for high-flying babes – Fill up the list with your desires. You Just Never Know.
But best believe those expectations you have in your heart are already in motion – line upon line, precept upon precept to bring into fulfilment those desires of yours.
So you better prepare to come correct, laced with heavy doses of grace, poise and class because there’s a chair at ‘that’ table with your name on it.
So what you didn’t grow up in luxury and you probably weren’t taught how to conduct yourself at a formal table setting – still you can pull it off. Depends on whether you want it or not.
How bad do you want it???
Umm, first things first: Let’s start with the basics
It is at this point your mind begins to plague you with thoughts of I am not good enough. I don’t deserve this opportunity. Who am I – who is e mi? What do I know. I am the least person on the list.
Imposter syndrome will have you on the edge of turning down the invitation.
That is not going to happen not on our watch. You are going to smack on the littest lipstick shade you got, put on a beautiful dress and show up!
Always bring your best self to the table:
Don’t leave your personality at home, bring it with you. Crown it off with confidence – do what you need to do to make sure you don’t feel out of place – such as preparing your dress days or weeks before. Settle personal grooming details like your mani/pedi, hair and all other things that would make you feel good.
Take part in the conversations:
NOPE. Don’t be the silent observer. Open your mouth T A L K – this is for my ‘self-proclaimed’ reserved sisters. Your thoughts are valid, okrrrrr?
Now To The Do’s And Oh-Not-So-Simple-Don’ts Of Table Etiquette
- Be fully present. Your phones should be locked away, placed on silent. No thumbing. Or doom scrolling social media.
- Follow the seating preferences if there are and wait for the host to sit before you do.
- Sit up straight don’t slouch! Your mom has told you this a thousand times and I am here to sound it again.
- Don’t lean on the table.
- When the hostess unfolds her napkin, you should do the same and place it on your lap. Once you are finished, place your napkin on the table, to the left of your plate.
- Hold on until everyone at the table is served before attacking your meal – if at a buffet. At a private dinner, pick up your cutlery after your hostess.
- Start with the utensil that is farthest from your plate and work your way toward the centre of your place setting.
- Chew with your mouth closed – no mouth noises, please.
- Don’t talk with food in your mouth, swallow first – same with drinking.
- You should not eat faster or slower than everyone at the table – pace yourself, babe.
- Don’t blow on your food even if it’s hot. Allow it to cool.
- Sample every dish before you. Don’t express your displeasure at any.
- Never reach across the table for anything. Rather request that it be passed to you.
- Your utensils should be used for eating, not for stabbing the air trying to make a point during conversations.
- Do not pick at your tooth while at the table.
- Finally, always send a thank-you note a few hours after. Don’t wait more than a day.
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