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Subject: Speaking of Etiquette and Etymology...
Author: Nanaea   (Authenticated as Nanaea)
Date: May 31, 2001 at 8:13:18 PM
My posting about "Junior vs. The II" brought to mind a passage from *Panati's Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things* -- specifically concerning etiquette books written during the Middle Ages:

"One new court custom, called 'coupling,' paired a nobleman with a lady at a banquet, each couple sharing one goblet and one plate. Etymologists locate the practice as the source of a later expression for cohorts aligned in any endeavor, said to 'eat from the same plate'."

Well, that wasn't all THAT interesting... Okay, disgusting habits are always interesting! Here's some advice from a 13th century etiquette book concerning proper table manners:

"A number of people gnaw a bone and then put it back in the dish -- this is a serious offense."

"Refrain from falling upon the dish like a swine while eating, snorting disgustingly and smacking the lips."

"Do not spit over or on the table in the manner of hunters."

"When you blow your nose or cough, turn round so that nothing falls on the table."

Oh, there's LOTS more information on medieval nose blowing, too...

"During these centuries, there was much advice on the proper way of blowing one's nose. There were of course no tissues, and handkerchiefs had still not come into common use. Frowned upon was the practice of blowing into a tablecloth or coat sleeve. Accepted was the practice of blowing into the fingers. Painters and sculptors of the age frankly reproduced these gestures. Among the knights depicted on the tombstone of French king Philip the Bold at Dijon, France, one is blowing his nose into his coat, another, into his fingers."

Have to remember that, next time I run short of Kleenex...

-- Nanaea

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