NAPKIN: A diminutive little device used to wipe your mouth and hands while eating.

  If you happen to live in Canada,  Australia,  South Africa or the U.K., you may even refer to this handy little wipe as a Serviette.  If you are American, please refrain from using that term as you will appear pretentious which would be a separate faux pas than we are addressing here.  At the least, you will appear foolish especially if your dinner companions are wearing camo and/or are donning a mullet hairdo.

So be it paper or cloth, there are specific etiquette guidelines for napkin use.  Please note the following pointers:

  • Place your nappy in your lap when seated at the table.  Days of yore dictated that the guest wait until the host was seated before lapping the nappy but let’s not get mired down by ancestral details.  Unless you are an invited guest to a White House State Dinner, place your wiper in your lap when seated.   NOTE:  Do not tuck your napkin into your shirt collar or belt buckle.  This is reserved for lobster feasts and country corn feeds only.  It is also allowable for the elderly or handicapped.
  • Blot your mouth – don’t sweep or broadly wipe.  It is not a wash cloth.
  • Wearing lipstick and using a white linen napkin?  Do your host a kindness and blot your smacker on a tissue prior to your meal.  This will alleviate your host’s cloth from excessive stains.
  • When mealtime concludes or upon leaving the table, deposit your loosely folder device on the table to the left of your plate.  No need for a refold which can be a relief if your host performed an origami folding masterpiece.

Bon Appetite!

K. Martini