Certain table manners need no explanation. If you chew with your mouth closed, others won’t be able to catch a glimpse of your half-chewed appetizer, and if you put a napkin in your lap, your pants won’t be able to collect rogue crumbs. But eating with your elbows on the table seems both convenient and convenient. Why is it so frowned upon? Originally it was tacit proof that you were a non-threatening guest at dinner.
“Table manners prevented us from leaving our room and starting a fight. It was important that people saw you as considerate or stressful, ”said Margaret Visser, author of The rituals of dinner: the origins, development, eccentricity and importance of table manners, told Reader̵
In other words, elbows on the table disrupted the boundary created by your paraphernalia, which people might interpret as a general lack of restraint. It’s definitely not a new rule either; According to the Book of Ecclesiasticus of the Bible, you should feel just as ashamed of “stretching your elbow at dinner” as “breaking an oath or covenant” (although we cannot be sure that the verse does not refer to reaching for dishes above the table).
More recently, the no-elbows rule is less about preventing brawls and more about avoiding other mishaps during meals. “Not everyone is perfectly neat. So if you keep your elbows off the table, make sure you don’t stick your elbows in a drop of salad dressing or soup or gravy, ”said Jodi RR Smith, Owner and President of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, said MarthaStewart.com.
Keeping your elbows away from the table also prevents you from adopting bad posture, which may have been viewed as a sign of an uncivilized upbringing. You probably won’t be classified as a Neanderthal at dinner these days, but when you lean on your elbows it can be difficult for the people sitting on either side of you to ever have a conversation.
However, even some of the most loyal table etiquette supporters have been known to break a rule or two. In a 1937 interview, Emily Post herself confessed to decorating the tabletop with her elbows from time to time. “It really doesn’t make a difference,” she said.
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