Thursday, November 24, 2016

Pondering the ins and outs of socially acceptable manners

Not five minutes ago while conducting a Facebook check along with other sites, there was the sudden realization that there was food stuck between my teeth. Actually, it wasn't so sudden since this is a frequent occurrence for me and most likely most of the planet. Look - these are important issues that aren't frequently thought about.

This occurrence wasn't surprising since supper was still being digested accompanied by remnants of the main course, which had lodged themselves between various molars and bicuspids and an occasional incisor. There was no uncertainty of committing a social faux-pas since the meal was 'in house' with only family members around to witness the movement of a finger placed on/between teeth to remove the offensive leftover food particle. Dining out, however, brings up the dilemma of how to disengage an item of food from one's teeth in public.

A common maneuver is a delicate movement around the teeth involved with use of the tongue. A successful outcome is dependent upon the extent and degree of food residue to be removed and whether the operation can be performed without drawing attention to the process. Unsuccessful attempts can result in a release of saliva and/or noise caused by air escaping between the teeth.

"Sorry - it's either this or a finger nail," explanation would not/does not suffice.

Using the contents of a glass of water as a tooth rinse aid is too obvious, especially when or if water is spit back into the glass. Neither is the explanation that one is merely testing the taste of the water. Bringing along an electric toothbrush is crass and too noisy.

Your common toothpick is specifically designed for this purpose but not visually palatable, especially when extricated food remnants are visible at its tip.

Thinking further (obviously too much time on my hands) another subject that has crossed my mind and has social ramifications is the issue of how or whether to blow one's nose amid a table of diners, and/or if it's socially acceptable to use a paper dinner napkin when a tissue isn't available. According to Emily Post of the Emily Post Institute, nose blowing at the table should be limited to small puffs. Big, noisy nose-blowing should be conducted away from the table. This leads one (me) to wonder whether it's advisable to sensitize fellow diners to this faux pas.

"Excuse me," you might say in the way of being helpful, "but you do realize that blowing your nose in public and drawing attention to yourself is boorish and gross."

Some people think deep thoughts about the future of our planet and its inhabitants and then some of us worry about the important issues in life like teeth cleaning and nose- blowing in public. It's just who I am.

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