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O.C. Dining

Manners Curb Your Inner Wild

November 16, 2000|CHRIS CEBALLOS

In our fast-food world, where no one knows which fork to use, most diners just wing it. After all, when was the last time you saw a finger bowl at the dinner table?

But etiquette expert Emily Post explained the importance of good manners this way: "Manner is personality--the outward manifestation of one's innate character and attitude toward life." In other words: If you're impatient and sarcastic with the waiter, you will likely be the same with friends, family members and dinner dates too.

Not to fear. Here are a few basic rules of manners that will get you through dinner, the dance and life:

* As soon as you are seated, remove the napkin from your place setting, unfold it and put it in your lap.

* If you're able--keep your elbows off the table.

* When presented with multiple forks and other utensils, start from the outside and work your way in.

* Sit at the table with the four legs of the chair on the floor.

* Do not talk with your mouth full.

* Do not stuff your mouth with food.

* Do not lick your fingers or wipe your hands on the tablecloth.

* Do not use your finger or a knife to push food onto your utensil.

* Do not blow your nose at the table; excuse yourself and go to the restroom.

* Do not wave silverware around while you're eating.

* When in couples or small groups, do not begin eating until all have been served.

* When in large groups, begin eating only after three or more have been served.

* Keep the conversation pleasant.

* Listen as much as you talk.

* Have a good time.

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