Dear Awesome Advice Central,
I consider myself to be a neat eater.
Aside from a few unfortunate years in my babyhood, I have rarely dribbled, drooled, or otherwise spat my food out, preferring to masticate my chosen morsels in privacy. As my mother used to say, “No one wants to see your tonsils, nor do they particularly care about the colour of your bubble gum—so for goodness’ sake, shut your yap and chew in silence!”
Mother had quite a way with words.
Anyway, I was out to dinner with Mother and Father last week, celebrating my dear Aunt Boopsie’s 4th divorce, when I chanced to make a particularly witty remark to said aunt.
Boopsie, who had ordered Lobster Thermidor, guffawed at my humour, and accidentally spat a few particles of lobster my way. They landed on my cheek, tie, and sleeve.
Not wanting to slow the momentum of the party, I simply smiled in as natural a way as possible, given my distaste for flying food, and pulled out my handkerchief to wipe the offending bits off my person.
Perhaps I should not have brought out the pre-moistened towelettes to thoroughly cleanse my cashmere jacket, nor should I have delicately re-sprayed my cologne from the miniature atomizer I carry in my inner breast pocket. Perhaps that was a step too far, as Father later remonstrated with me on our drive home.
I don’t think so, though.
I’m not sure why I should be in trouble over this, as Boopsie is 30 years old, fully aware of her actions, and has a jolly good sense of humour about these sorts of things. No awkwardness at all, you see?
Now Father is annoyed with me, I’m wondering, what should I have done? Left the offending bits of lobster hang from the curls of my beard, whence they landed?
What if people assume I’m the type of man who uses food as an accessory? What if this happens again, but this time it’s a cherry tomato and it lands in my eye? How far can this be carried before my stomach turns and I have to leave the table to quell my nausea?
I feel I did the right thing. I want you to agree with me.
Dear, dear Ocelot,
This is what comes of making witty remarks to one’s maritally-challenged aunt. First it’s Lobster Thermidor on the cashmere jacket, and next thing you know it’s a all-out food fight, and there goes your dry-cleaning bill, not to mention your reputation as a well-bred young gentleman.
We sympathize with your plight, dear boy. Clearly, your mother is the brains of the family; your father seems to have failed to grasp what’s truly essential in social interactions:
- Was Aunt Boopsie offended, dismayed, or humiliated by your attempts to remove the contents of her mouth from your person? She was not. Ergo, no discernible faux pas.
- Did you convey, through word, look, or deed, your utter nonchalance in the face of flying bits of lobster? You did. Well, perhaps the cologne was a bit over the top, but really, did you want to smell loudly of seafood for the rest of the evening?
No, we feel certain you handled the situation in a brave and gentlemanly manner, and your relationship with your dear aunt is intact.
So we feel you may safely tell your father to mind his own beeswax.
Failing that, tell him he can sit across from Aunt Boopsie next time, and see how he likes wearing her lobster leavings.
Awesome Advice Central