Friday, April 9, 2010

french friday - part six

Où sont les mains?  
(Where are your hands?)

Specifically speaking... where are your hands when you're at the dinner table, but have finished eating?

If you're American, I'll bet they're on your lap.  That is, if you're a polite American.  If you're more of the impolite type, then maybe you have your elbows resting on the table.  Didn't your mother ever teach you anything?  :)

However, during my stay with a French family, I was trying so hard to do the right thing so I didn't come across as une américaine stupide.  But I was told quite frankly (at our first family dinner) that I was being impoli (impolite) by keeping my hands in my lap.  But it's also rude to put your elbows on the table... so where do your hands go?

Something like this:

Les poignets (wrists) rest on the table.
Aren't they cute?  These are the girls of the family I stayed with.  They were they only highlight of living in that certain family... but that's a story for another time...

I was told that this tradition goes back to the "olden days" (whenever that is) when it was feared you could be concealing a weapon by keeping your hands under the table.  Intéressant, n'est-ce pas?  I assured the family that by no means was I hiding a gun in my lap, but to make them more comfortable, I ate the rest of my meals with my hands in plain sight.   

That's all I've got for today.  Sorry - not even a video.  My brain is too tired.  I promise to come up with something mind-blowing for next Friday.  ;)


Amy@My Front Porch said...

Huh! Who knew? Isn't it funny the different standards of etiquette there are for different countries?

This Heavenly Life said...

So interesting! I'd be the dope with one elbow on the table, and one hand in my lap. Asking for ice water instead of wine :)

Elizabeth said...

I had no idea. Interesting! I hope that comes in very handy someday...maybe when I'm eating in France!!!! (I hope I hope)

The Sneaky Mommy said...

We always eat dinner with loaded weapons in our laps. Doesn't everyone?
Funny! :)

H-Mama said...

How fun. I remember saying 'I'm stuffed' at someone's table as a teeny bopper. The entire table looked at me. Where they were from, it meant... 'I'm pregnant'. Some things just don't interpret well. ;)