Elbows on the table

Anyone know why “elbows on the table” are rude? Never understood this table manner rule, especially after reading and seeing midieval stories where eating involved no fork or napkin.

Probably stems from not wanting to accidentally dip your elbow into your meal. Which is, understandably, somewhat distasteful to some.

“So what you are telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else that you have never seen.”

True, I kinda thought it concerned the possibility of knocking your wine over. But I still think there’s an issue about disrespect, like from … commoners?

I doubt this particular table manner was in place before the fork was invented. Picture a long dinner table in Victorian England with 30 people sitting at it. There are salad forks, oyster forks, tea spoons, desert spoons, water glasses, red wine glasses, white wine glasses, linen napkins… Servants are constantly bringing dishes and taking away dishes (there’s going to be eight plus courses), serving soup, food, pouring drinks. One of the rules of proper behaviour in that situation is keep your elbows off the table. Not only does it interfere with the service, it upsets the atmosphere. Are you leaning in to shut someone else at the table out of the conversation? Why are you blocking the person beside you from seeing the host? Are you that eager to get at the food? Are you that eager period? Simply not done, old boy. In a society with a class system your behaviour at the dinner table was very significant. Even now wealthy silicon valley geeks are taking etiquette lessons so they will be invited back for dinner with normal rich people. If you are a young yuppie on the rise and your company president invites you to lunch you can rest assured he will make a mental note that you are unfit for polite society if you put your elbows on the table. Your mother used to yell at you to get your elbows off the table when you were plowing into your beans and weiners because she had this pathetic hope that you might be the one in the family to rise from the gutter and enter into “polite society”.

On a very rainy August night in New Orleans my manners were paid attention to.
Every time the knife and fork were placed parallel on the plate the waiter appeared to ask an opinion about what just got served and to proclaim what was about to follow.
I paid a ton of money for that meal. Planned it. And am still trying to figure out why I paid it. But the manners worked. They were a signal for the help.

For some reason I am reminded of the only Beavis and Butthead gag I remember: They are sitting watching TV and a commercial portraying a family at the dinner table comes on. “What’s that kid doing eating with those old people?”

You know what? If I see a guy who eats with his elbows on the table its a lot more than likely it means that he has been in prison.

In prison, believe me, you put your elbows on the table so no one takes your food. I read this, no I haven’t been in prison.

Remember that if you are a father and the guy your daughter is about to marry does this.

It’s okay to put your elbows on the table after the meal is over, I believe. Certainly I’ve seen this of genteel folk, so I figure they know the rules.

Bet the Queen doesn’t do it, though. But then, the Queen has been trained to suppress bodily functions.

“So what you are telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else that you have never seen.”

Wouldn’t it be OK if I put coasters under them?