I need your help please.
Here is the scoop.
I have been with my bf since august of last year.
We were friends for almost 2 years before we became serious.
I am 99% sure that he is the one.
Here is the situation I am having.
He was never taught how to properly hold a knife and fork.
His parents basically left him to his own devices his whole childhood, at 18 he joined the military and was an MP for almost 6 years so not a lot of great examples there im sure.
So this is not something he was ever taught.
The reason the issue has come up is because we had a big holiday party the other night, and it was a sit down dinner.
He has fantastic table manners, its not like he chews with his mouth open or anything. Its just the way he holds the knife and fork make him look like hes never been in civilized society before.
I don't think he noticed that most everyone at the table noticed.
The reason I want to bring it up to him is I don't want him to be caught in a social situation were it could hurt him. I don't want him going to some business dinner and the person across from him thinking him uncouth.
How do I approach this without hurting his feelings and making him self conscious?? He can be very sensitive and the last thing I want to do is bruise his ego.
The first piece of advice for any relationship... pick the battles worth fighting so you can win the war.
If you pick at little things (which in the grand scheme of life this really is a little thing) they you won't be "the one" for him and he'll be gone.
Now if he were arriving to the formal dinner party dirty, smelly, and farting all over the place then it would be a whole different ball game.
My first thought is chances are if he has always eaten like that, he isn't going to change now.
But I'm curious as to what others have to say about this.
My feeling is this is a losing battle. Men do not take anything even remotely appearing like criticsm well, at least not from their wives/gf. No matter how gently you try to put it, and regardless of your good intentions, I can almost guarantee he will get mad. And, he's probably not going to change now.
thats how I feel and the reason Im asking all of you before I open my mouth.
it honestly doesnt bother me - maybe im just used to it.
Its just a couple of people came up to me after the party and mentioned it that maybe I should say something to him.
The only reason I would even contemplate it is that for work in the near future he will be having business lunches and dinners with multimillionaires, owners of yacht yards/firms, the kind of people that think so highly of themselves that would use something so small against them just cause they are jerks and they can.
are you sure that people really noticed all that much? I know sometimes my dh does stuff or my kid does that I am so sure that everyone noticed- but in the end really they didn't. You might have just been zeroed in on it- (like we zero in on our mistakes on a cake- that no one else even notices)
On the other hand if it really does embarass you- why not simply talk with him about it? He might not realize it!!!
You are right- the Army might not have helped much! In basic training years ago- the boys had only a few minutes to shove all the food they could get in- and then they had to go. So- often when they came back home- they would shovel it in in 5 minutes and be done...(they don't do that anymore btw) sometimes holding the fork like a scoop is much quicker!--- Just ask him if he notices what he is doing- and show him the right way...Maybe he just needs a little help. If it works- good...if not- maybe this is something you just have to accept if you want him...He might actually appreciate you telling him that he is doing something that looks like a barbarian!
Even if you can't change him- you need to say something now. Believe me if it bothers you this much in public now- then when you get married the little annoyance will just keep adding up!
People made comments to you about his table manners? Sounds like they could use some brushing up on their social skills.
My husband's table manners really bother and embarrass me, and over the 15 years that we've been together I have tried to get him to improve. He has gotten better, but certain things he does drive me absolutely insane. He knows he is doing wrong and he doesn't care. So now, if it hurts him it is his own fault, because I have tried to help him. I've just got to make sure that my kids don't pick up his bad habits.
I'd ask him if he was ever taught the correct way to hold a for and knife, and if he'd like to learn. He could be like my dh and does know better, just prefers to eat like a caveman. I'm sure that you can say it in a way that's not offensive.
Here is my take. If he is now in a position to be socializing with the "upper crust" of society, his table manners (and yes properly holding your silverware is a part of table manners) can possibly break a deal for him. I would suggest for business purposes he take an etiquette course as part of business management/ownership training. Anyone who is in business and their clients are highly educated, sophisticated, and wealthy, need to play the part of such as well. Unfortunately that is how society works. "upper crust" people generally only want to do business with others who they perceive in their class status. So if you want to "play" with the big boys, so to speak, you must MARKET yourself as such to attract that business. It is all about professionalism.
Approach it to him like this...
"Honey, now that your business is dealing more and more with the upper echelons of society, and we will be attending more higher society functions, maybe WE should take an etiquette course to be able to better represent your business to these potential and current clients".
If you add yourself to the mix, he won't feel intimidated or foolish. He will think, Hey my girl is thinking of business future and her part in it...Isn't she great! More than likely he will agree.
If he balks at the idea then be prepared to either walk away from it, and let his business suffer due to his lack of etiquette. Personally, I feel if you say absolutely nothing, and it hurts his business, and someone else rudely mentions it to him directly, he will be hurt and angry that you didn't inform him of his obvious shortcoming sooner. Especially something that can easily be remedied with a class or two.
If he is "the one" then you should be able to talk to him about ANY subject.
In my Corporate World Life, I've been in the situation you describe .... high end dinners with corporation owners, CEO's, etc. And believe me, they DO notice table manners! I've seen it make a difference in whether a guy gets hired or gets the new account or not.
And not just in the business world. My 30-year old daughter tells her children and her 16 year old little sister, "I know you hate it when I tell you how to have proper table manners. I hated it when MY mom did it. But when you're around people who have bad table manners, you will be SO glad she was on you about it!"
My husband holds his fork like a pitchfork ... he looks like he's shoveling the food into his face. I HATE that! I have mentioned it to him ... the compromise is that when he's home with us, he can eat anyway he wants (irritating, but as was mentioned above ... pick your battles) and I dont' pick at him. When we are out, he holds a fork properly. If he slips, we have a code between us that reminds him without a public "reprimand".
And it IS the little things that people notice. Some may think "oh it's just holding a fork" but it represents much more than that. A photographer friend tells me that one of his staff photographers had a habit of putting french salad dressing over ALL of his food at a wedding buffet.....salad, meat, potoatoes, the whole gammit. My friend pulled this guy aside and said, "Look ...you dont' want to do that. No one may say anything, but they are looking at you, and at your plate, and they are talking negatively about it. And we dont' want our photography company talked about like that. In your own home, you can drown your food in any salad dressing you want. But when you are in a public forum like this, you need to be aware of being socially proper."
thank you guys
you totally hit the nail on the head
jammjenks, trust me we talk about everything, its just that ive learned that with men sometimes the approach is more important than the content. its all about the marketing
cakesdivine- thanks for the idea about taking a class together, I've always wanted to take an etiquette class anyway. If I make it that its about improving me and I want him there so I'm not alone, he'd totally go for it I think.
See this is why I asked you guys here.
you guys rock as always.
hope everyone is having a good holiday week.