The etiquette of the new millennium: if the cutlery has a specific order at the table, how does the bon ton evolve in the era of the smartphone?
How to place the cutlery correctly on the table, when to lay the napkin on the legs, which fork to use for each course. Dining etiquette is a set of very precise rules, codified gestures and conventions not to be broken. The times evolve, but the good education at the table never sets. Some of these rules may seem outdated by now, but there are more formal circumstances where it is necessary to know and respect them.
But what happens when the times evolve and a new element comes into play to be taken into consideration? We are talking about the smartphone, more and more protagonist of our lives, for work or leisure. It is so important to play a leading role even during meals because we have to take pictures or we can’t help but check notifications. So, if you have asked yourself where to put the cell phone at the table, the answer is only one: the smartphone does not sit at the table.
Mobile phone at the table: how to behave?
Do you want to share the dishes you are eating on social media? Leave the phone in your pocket or bag: take it out only when you take it and post it later.
Are you waiting for a very important business call and do you absolutely have to answer? Leave the phone in your pocket or purse. Activate the ringer if you are afraid of not feeling the vibration, but set a moderate volume to avoid disturbing. Once the call is received, you should apologize and leave for a moment. Or better yet: set the silent mode, postpone the call and enjoy your meal.
Has the person at the table with you put the phone on the table and does nothing but watch it?
Why doesn’t my smartphone sit at the table?
You are not yet convinced, here are 3 good reasons not to use the smartphone at the table (without considering that you could spill water on it).
Electronic devices accumulate a lot of germs. Since they cannot be washed or disinfected, it is not a good idea to put them close to food.
It’s not at all nice to watch the smartphone screen continuously when you’re at the table with someone. It could be taken as a sign of little interest. Eating together is a time to share something more about food: do it seriously, without Instagram filters.
At least during meals, you can avoid shaking endlessly in search of who knows what. Let’s take advantage of it to detox from social media, connect to the real world and really enjoy food.
Let’s not fool ourselves, smartphones are part of our lives and demonizing them will not solve our problems. The answer to the first question remains the same: according to table etiquette, there is no space for the mobile phone. Better to keep it in your pocket and take it out only when strictly necessary.
If you are alone at the table, you could make friends with strangers or look around, but it is not a drama to watch a video or read an article. If you are in company and you think you have seen a meme too funny, you can show it to friends. If you have a terrible doubt, googate as well. If you are going to taste absurd food or a beautiful dish, take a souvenir photo.
And if your appointment is going disastrously and you don’t know how to escape? Pretending to have received a message or be called by an accomplice is a timeless classic. This time you can use your mobile, rest assured!