Uncommon Knowledge: Is it rude to put elbows on the table?

Pocket Utensil Set | UncommonGoodsWhile this tabletop rule has been drilled into your head since you graduated from your high chair, its supposed origins suggest it’s more need-based than the pinnacle of politeness. During medieval times, everyone and their barber would be invited to elaborate dinners at long, crowded tables. With surface space at a premium, no elbow could be placed on the table without landing in someone else’s territory—or in their food! But seeing as how we now enjoy more spacious dining accommodations, have at it! Modern rules dictate that elbows are free game once you’ve put down your utensils.

Pocket Utensil Set, $16

Written by Nathan

Nathan is a copywriter, who helps create our product descriptions as well as our weekly emails. He is also a nationally award-winning musical theater writer, whose work includes an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver. Nathan has also been a classical violinist, tutored Kazakhstani jewelers in entrepreneurship, created large-scale games played across entire city blocks, served as a missionary in South Korea, conducted experiments in sonoluminescence, co-founded an exotic fruit-growing business, was a theater critic for Tucson Weekly, and as a teenager composed a women’s jazz quartet that is currently performed around the world.

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