27 April 2009

The Snobbery of Etiquette

Recently as I was dining semi-formally someone noted that it is proper for the server to set down the plate from the left and to remove it from the right. Drinks however should be both served and removed from the right. And since there are multiple forks, you must start with the utensils furthest out and work inwards.

I get incredibly irritated by this stuff. Who cares from which side your plate comes? Do you really need multiple forks? Does it really matter?

It is certainly important to be polite and considerate when dining. But that's my whole point--being considerate.

Consider this boy: Ten years old, he lives in eastern India with his mother. His house has grass walls and a dirt floor. His father died. His mother does any labor she can to make money. They eat maize and rice. Do you think he cares if his plate is given him from the left? Do you think he wonders which fork to use?

So when someone insists upon adherence to some superficial pointless rules of etiquette, I take it as outright snobbery. Who are we trying to impress? Why do we want to act high-class? Lifting ourselves in this manner only pushes the lower class lower. Instead:

Rom. 12:16 Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

1 comment:

Rebekah said...


also, when did you go to a semi-formal dinner?