We’ve had this conversation before about hand gestures and badly translated phrases, now I’m wondering what are certain manners that are acceptable in one place but rude in another.
For instance, when I first ate with chopsticks with my girlfriend, I stuck the chopsticks straight down into the rice like a flagpole (who wouldn’t?), which is apparently very rude in Taiwan/Asia. When I finished the food, I put the chopsticks in the bowl with the tips on the bottom of the bowl (like one would leave a spoon in a bowl). That’s rude as well. You’re supposed to lay the chopsticks across the bowl (like a bridge).
Also, in Taiwan/Japan/Asia, you can pick up the bowl and shovel into your mouth. It’s rude to slurp in Taiwan, but it’s alright in Japan (alledgedly).
There are some French one’s too. I’ve been told that your actually supposed to keep your hands on the table in France, as opposed to in your lap. By that I mean, in the US, I was always taught to put down my utensils and put my hands in my lap while I’m chewing, whereas here you just chew with your arms on the table and your utensils in hand.
I’ve heard that napkins don’t go in laps here, but I know a lot of French people who put their napkins in their laps. On the other hand, in my host family, every time I put my napkin in my lap, my “mother” gave me another napkin, thinking she had forgotten to give me one.
This isn’t limitted to table manners, it’s just what got me thinking about this.