Lip Service


Is it just me, or have the rest of you noticed a recent trend in the human race of everyone talking with their mouths full of food?! Shocking, I realize, considering many of us – and I speak for myself here – were taught proper table manners before we were even allowed solid kibble. This latest but not-so-pretty trend stems, I believe, from two things. First, Americans are in constant motion, so dining and drinking and talking and working and socializing all happen at the same time. Second, cooking shows are overflowing with well-heeled individuals who find it fine to dine and dish all at once. Even my beloved M. Stewart is at fault, may God forgive me for pointing a paw at the queen.

This, luckily, is an easy fix! One choice is partaking in smaller bites, therefore limiting the amount of time food is in one’s mouth and allowing for a quicker jump back into the banter. Another option is to simply forgo eating all together and focus on the cocktails (which is how one of my great aunts stays quite thin and seemingly happy, though a bit lonely due to comments such as “that collar is getting a bit snug on you,” and the like). Finally, one can take a moment to listen to the others who have taken the time to join you for a meal. Perhaps you don’t get to say every single thing on your mind, but you will get a chance to eat up and drink in the pleasure of someone’s company. And chances are you’ll be invited back again – because the trick to good dinner conversation is really all in the ears…and not in the bark.

Cordially yours,


Parker Presley


Parker Presley is known in certain social circles as the preeminent expert in etiquette and invites you to contact him with even the most embarrassing question or tricky situation so that you, too, may be top dog in any setting. Please contact him at


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