The Dapper Gentleman is all about bringing “dapper” back. We just don’t focus on personal style and wardrobe, but how to bring those dapper skills to a modern lifestyle as a man. In this article, you are about to journey into the realm of chivalry. A true dapper gentleman understands and lives a life a chivalry among women regardless of the situation. It’s not just about what you wear, but it also applies at the dinner table.
As a gentleman I am constantly in restaurants and home dinner parties. This means I spend a lot of time at the table and I need to know how to properly act without making a fool of myself as a man. The question arises: “What’s so important about dining etiquette?” Great question! Every man should understand the rules of proper dining. I have been to some dinners and luncheons where the men opposite of me act and eat like they are livestock on a local farm. We want to be men who eat with respect. Everything that you are about to read can be applied on dates, dinners, luncheons, business meetings, and more. Let’s break it down.
Know Who You’re Eating With. Being asked to lunch on the spur of the moment during your lunch break is one thing, but be sure to dress accordingly to who you will be eating with. For more information on this particular subject read this article. Dining etiquette starts before you even make it to the table. It’s always important to know who you will be eating with. If you are invited to an individual’s house, be sure to bring a small gift. Always arrive on time and no earlier than ten minutes.
Remember The Chair. Who would ever consider the chair at the table? Well it’s important. The gentleman is never in a rush to sit down at the table. Why, because he knows the ladies need to sit first. It is proper to stand behind your chair, but do not sit down. If you are dating or married to the woman who is about to sit then help her push her chair in close to the table. Then you may sit down.
The Napkin. Once you have sat down at the table, take your napkin and place it on your lap. You will leave the napkin on your lap until you have finished your meal. Please, don’t tuck it into your pants or your shirt collar and use it as a bib. This is not classy. The napkin is to be used to remove food from the sides of your mouth. It shouldn’t be used as a pocket square or to wipe sweat from your forehead. Once you have finished eating, take your napkin, fold it, and place it on the left side of your plate to signify you have finished your meal completely and to excuse yourself from the table. If you happen to drop your napkin on the floor, do not pick it up. Simply ask for a new one.
Be Attentive. Whether you are a guest or the host of the function it’s important to pay attention to everyone you interact with. This means that you shouldn’t be updating your Facebook status with a “selfie,” checking Twitter, answering emails, texting, or taking calls at the dinner table. If you need to make a phone call that is an emergency, excuse yourself from the table and go into another room.
Proper Placement. Where does a gentleman place his elbows and hands while seated at the table? Try to avoid placing your elbows on the table while you and everyone else are eating. You can also place your hands and elbows on the table in between courses or if you’re enjoying tea or coffee. If you need to reach for an item, go for it as long as it’s within your reach. Sit up straight and don’t slouch.
When to Eat. This is simple. Eat when others start to eat. If all of the food is served and people are at the table please feel free to indulge. Keep in mind that some functions will begin with prayer prior to eating.
Things to Consider. When you begin eating make sure you cut your food into small bites. You’re not a cave man, but a gentleman. Chew with your mouth closed and swallow before talking. Take your time eating. After you take a bite of food, set your utensil down on your plate until you have swallowed what’s in your mouth. Please do not slurp or stir things unless it’s your coffee. Make sure you bring your food to your mouth and not your face to your food. Your mouth is not a hole that needs to be filled by a shovel. Finally, you never want to drink from your soup bowl. Say Thank You, Please, and Excuse Me. Every dapper gentleman knows these words.
Food You Don’ Like. Don’t twist and scrunch up your face and ask “What is that?” with a sassy voice. When it comes to food that you may not like, try to take just a little of everything that is being offered. Even though you may not eat it, it helps to create a visual presence on the plate. This will keep the host happy and un-offended.
When You Finish. Once you have finished your entrée, place the knife and fork together on your plate at either 4 or 8 o-clock. If you’re still eating, separate the knife and fork on your plate at 4 and 8 o-clock. Obviously no one around you will see this, but they will recognize you as a dapper gentleman.
Leaving Properly. If you are in someone’s home be sure to tell them “Thank you” and “Good-bye” face-to-face. If the dinner party or luncheon is larger than twenty-five people and your hosts are busy entertaining, you can slip out without saying “Thank you” and “Good-bye.” If this is the case, you will need to send them a “Thank You” card within the next three days.
Gentlemen I know this is an exhaustive list, but once you start practicing and living these out, you will surely step into a new level of dapper. We would love to hear from you. What did you read that you were unaware of when it comes to dining etiquette? Did we miss anything? Please let us know.