Question about table manners

by Anne
(Potomac, MD)

Dear Ms. Manners,


Both my husband and I are first-generation Americans and would like to know whether it's polite to keep both hands on the table while eating? I understand that the American tradition is to keep the left hand on the lap. In Europe it's the opposite: you have to keep both hands on the table at all times.

I saw some old pictures of the White House dinner receptions where people do keep both of their hands on the table. I also noticed that now the majority of people in restaurants do keep their both hands on the table. Are they bad-mannered, foreigners, or is this a new norm? Are there two norms now and which way is more polite?

Thank you so much for your kind help.

Anne

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Jan 31, 2017
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Which hand NEW
by: Sarahew88

I am not an expert but I would say "why would you put your left hand in your lap if you need it to use your fork?" Part of me believes old etiquette rules were made by people watching posh people who were right handed and assumed that was the method de rigueur. Use the hand you are comfortable with, and place the other in your lap.

Feb 22, 2011
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to wait or not to wait
by: Anonymous

When your family has plans to meet at a restaurant at a given time and one family member had to take someone home due to illness (all others knew this) should the other people at the restaurant wait until that person has arrived before they eat? The time to meet was set for 12:00 P.M. and the person who was designated to drive the ill person home arrived at 12:15 only to find the rest of the family members already eating, was this rude?

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