I am faced with a delicate dilemma.
When, in the course of lunchtime events, it becomes necessary for some people to dissolve culinary bands which have connected them with another...a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
How do you tell an adult that he is chewing with his mouth open? Which, even in Missouri, is frowned upon in polite society. Not just chewing with his mouth open, but rolling the food around and around his tongue like a human cow with a hamburger cud. Making noises like a bulldog trying to lick peanut butter off the roof of his mouth. All the while, the half-masticated food protrudes/recedes, dancing a delicate ballet that mesmerizes the captive audience. They cannot bear to look, yet can't look away, lest a second of inattention enable the expanding blob of foodstuff to succumb to gravity, in a dramatic, slow-motion swan dive onto the white formica.
My dining companions pretend that this chomping falls within the norm of mealtime etiquette. Would they not tell a man his fly was open? Inform a lady that a booger dangles from her nostril. Notify a hirsute fellow when crumbs collect in his beard? Apprise Julia Sugarbaker when she has a big ol' bird perched on her head? I find this non-notification to be cruel and unusual.
My sixteen-year-old son, Genius, has had the experience of repasting with the oblivious offender. He and his cronies cringed in horror, but did nothing to resolve the issue. It's a class concern. Students do not correct their superiors. Genius was hoping that I would do the dirty deed.
"You mean you guys don't tell him? How can you sit there every day and watch that? It's sickening. We all sat at a different table on our trip, and left him and the other sponsor at a table for two, like a date. If one of us at our school lunch table did that, we would not let him get away with it. We would make fun of him every day until he stopped."
I can't do it. I cannot correct another adult's table manners. It's not like we could put a bottle of Scope in his mailbox for bad breath. Perhaps we could model correct behavior. All of us take a bite at the same time, chew with our lips clenched together, moaning "mmmm" like the grub is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I'm open to suggestions.