My daughter’s friend ate dinner with us last night. This sweet, polite girl morphs into a barbarian when she eats. She holds her head so close to her plate the ketchup winds up darting her glasses. When you point it out to her she looks up and says “Oh, I wondered why it was getting dark in here.”

Last night, while eating, she was constantly sniffing. She would chew and sniff, chew and sniff. It was a symphony of really gross sounds. Finally, I asked if she needed a tissue. She replied, “No,” then grabbed her napkin and blew her nose. Gross! Gross! Gross!

After a minute my flesh stopped crawling and the screams inside my head subsided. It was the napkin she wiped her mouth with. She could have gotten a bread crumb stuck up there. (I hate when I’m at a restaurant and someone blows there nose loud enough for all the other diners to hear, grossing them out.)

Watching her reminded me of the time my son’s friend blew his nose with one of our linen napkins; the napkins used only with the china and for special holidays. That napkin wasn’t disposable like the paper one my daughter’s friend used. We had to wash, disinfect, wash, disinfect at least 100 times and now I give it to people I don’t really care for.

Since it seems the people who come to my house are lacking in table manners, may be I’ll do away with napkins all together and give them an old sleeve to use. If they’re just going to blow snot into it, what difference does it make?


“Good manners sometimes means simply putting up with other people’s bad manners.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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