What do I do with my napkin?

What do I do with my napkin?

As I delve into blogging outside of the “realm” of family.
I am realizing there are rules of  blogging etiquette.

Dang it.

Just like rules of etiquette in life……

Dang it.

I have known I’m a “tad” off on Emily Post rules…..

So I am scared to death of crossing the etiquette lines with blogland.

I mean….right now you guys like me.

Blogland is a fickle place.

So…..as I am staring out and realizing that there are others starting out….I will share the blog “etiquette” as I learn it. 

cross it and get spanked

But….I am going to do something different and hope I do NOT bore you to death. 

I will only know from your comments if you hate it.

Be sweet and merciful when you do tell me…I love you all…I will cry.

Ok….so….. what I thought I would do….short term anyways…..

Is, when I share the blog etiquette…as I learn it…..

I am going to share personal etiquette rules that I may not have been sure about either.

I will share them in separate posts on same day so if you want to skip either…..you can.

But if you skip either and you mess up in blog land or in public…..don’t go blaming me….got it?

Please tell me I am not just the only one that sometimes questions…..

“Wonder what the proper etiquette rule on this or that is?”

Am I so po’dunk that it is only me?

Anyone there?


So today…..I will start with a dining etiquette rule that my hubby and I have actually debated.
Don’t we sound boring?
We’re not.
Just ask us.

Here goes….

Napkin Etiquette.


We were recently dined with friends.
They used cloth napkins
They make me nervous….unsure of myself….


I know you guys can’t believe I would be unsure of myself….. : )
I know you DIY’ers LOVE them…..

I love them.
For real.


 I mean…Sherry from “The Charm of Home”,  even MAKES them…..

But dining with “real” napkins is sometimes a little nerve wracking for me.

And after looking up an answer to our napkin debate……well,  I am thinking that everyone I have shared bread with and used a “real” napkin with……has probably thought that they were eating with the female version of “Larry the Cable Guy”.

I’m a loser!

For Starters…… here are the “official Emily Post rules”

Ok…you are in the restaurant and just get there.

RULE: As soon as you are seated, remove the napkin from your place setting, unfold it, and put it in your lap.

ME: ~As soon as I’m seated??? The pressure is on! How long have I waited before? Messed with my bag….turned off my phone…..chit chatted…..Was the waiter standing in the background saying…..”Come on lady! Get the napkin, get the napkin!”

Or….in private dining.

RULE: The meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds his or her napkin.

ME: ~Dang it. I wonder how many times I put my napkin on my lap first and the hostess was thinking……”Someone hungry?”
I have rushed the gun on this one before.
So…if you don’t rush the gun, and allow the host or hostess to put their napkin on their lap first….

RULE: Then, this is your signal to do the same. Place your napkin on your lap, completely unfolded if it is a small luncheon napkin or in half, lengthwise, if it is a large dinner napkin.

ME: ~They lost me at “place it on your lap”.  I am so ADHD that the rest starts looking confusing to remember. Does that also mean that mini skirt I made it into and tucked around my lap is not appropriate?
RULE: Do not shake it open.

ME: ~Dang it.

RULE: At some very formal restaurants, the waiter may do this for the diners, but it is not inappropriate to place your own napkin in your lap, even when this is the case.

ME: ~Thank you???

RULE: If your napkin falls on the floor during a very formal event, do not retrieve it. You should be able to signal a member of the serving staff that you need a fresh one.

ME: ~ See….I just can’t do that…..it’s a my feet. I dropped it. I am not going to ask a waiter to pick it up. I am a rebel on that one…..I refuse. I will ask for a clean one but I will pick it up.

So far, did you do all of those correctly? You already knew them? You have NEVER messed up?

Well….keep going then. Here are the rules for during Meal

RULE: It is meant only to be dabbed at the lips and should not get dirty in the process.

ME: ~Huh? Whaaaaaaaa….? NOT GET DIRTY?
Dang it.

RULE: If all other elements of the meal are going well, there will be no danger of smudging the linen.

ME: ~Uhhhh….really? No danger of smudging the linen? I’m lucky if I don’t wear my meal on my clothes!
What the heck have people thought?!

Ok…and a biggie….

RULE: NEVER use it to wipe your nose!

ME: ~Ok…..now. I have an issue. I have dabbed…not blown. And this is why I’m always nervous! I always felt weird if I had to dab….but what the heck was I supposed to do if I didn’t bring a tissue or my nose itched?!
So……I am not supposed to get it soiled by food….nor dab my nose? 
What do I do? USE MY SLEEVE?

It’s not over….you have rules on what to do with this “unsoiled napkin”.

RULE: When you leave the table at the end of the meal, place your napkin loosely next to your plate. It should not be crumpled or twisted, which would reveal untidiness or nervousness.

ME: ~I would never do such! Why would I show nervousness with my nose running and food on my face?!

RULE: respectively; nor should it be folded, which might be seen as an implication that you think your hosts might reuse it without washing.

ME: Or that you weren’t nervous if you folded it? I’m so confused! Also… EWWWWW…that is why they don’t want you to soil them? So you can re-use them?

RULE: The napkin must also not be left on the chair.

ME: ~AHA! FINALLY ONE THING RIGHT! Debate solved! My hubby had been told, by an etiquette coach for his daughters wedding, that you always leave your napkin on your chair when you leave the table.
MY thoughts were….it touches my lips, so therefore,  I shall not “place it” where someones hiney was before mine……
Know what I’m saying?

Yay! One right!

RULE:  If leaving on your chair it might seem as if you have an inappropriately dirty napkin to hide — or even that you are trying to run off with the table linens.

~Really? An INAPPROPRIATELY dirty linen????? 
You had better believe that now that I know it’s not supposed to be dirty that if I DARE soil it…..
I will HIDE it…..put it in my purse…..or put it on a nearby table!
Unless I’m so busy scurrying off with a runny nose and food hanging off my chin that I forget.
What have my table hostesses, waiters….my mom….thought?

RULE In private dining at end of meal:
The host will signal the end of the meal by placing his or her napkin on the table. Once the meal is over, you too should place your napkin neatly on the table to the left of your dinner plate.

ME: ~I wonder how many times I have missed this signal and kept on eating? Or sitting? Or talking?
Or heck! I bet I have put my napkin up first and host or hostess had to wrap things up quick thinking I was signaling them.

I may have won the debate of where to place my napkin but I think I lost it when I wrapped it around my legs to keep me warm, dropped it and picked it up, used it to clean food off my face, dabbed my nose and afterwards left it soiled and in a pile on my plate.

Am I a redneck?

Is it just me or have some of you missed a step or two?

 Do you use “real” napkins?

Love them, hate them?

I just ask one thing. If you ever invite me to your home to eat….and you use real napkins…….

Please provide a roll of paper towels and box of tissues on the table so I can eat in peace.

Thank you.



0 thoughts on “What do I do with my napkin?

  • October 29, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I should have read this post a long time ago!  Don’t think I had “found” you last night. Hubby and I went to a super duper fancy restaurant last night and were overhwhelmed by all the plates and silverware.  I actually used the cheese plate for my bread.  Sigh.  Mortification.  Anyway, loved those napkin rules and your running commentary.  No wonder your husband nominated you for that amazing  award!  🙂

  • March 19, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    I feel that we should eat in a conscientious way that use of the napkin is not required too much :). That’s polite dining.


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