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May 31, 2008



I was always taught that you don't stick your fingers in your mouth at the table. If you have something icky in your mouth that must come out immediately, you go after it discreetly behind a napkin.

So, if she can floss her teeth without sticking a finger in, then maybe yes.

If she drapes a napkin over her head, then yes.

If she's wearing a full burqa (http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Burqa_Afghanistan_01.jpg) then yes.

Otherwise, no.

You can soften the blow by reminding her that it doesn't start rotting for several hours, and if she leaves the flossing for later, she could have a free afternoon snack. Sort of like a secret doggy bag.


Oops. 'twould appear the above link no longer works. Try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa.


WOW! Something weird going on! When I search Google images for "burqa", I get the first link. But then it doesn't exist. So I go to wikipedia.org and search for "burqa", and I get the second link, but then it doesn't exist.

I have worn an Afghani burqa, and that is exactly the same feeling you get. You exist for a while, then you stop existing.


OMG no. Horrible. I mean, why stop there? Why not pick boogers too?


Maybe beneath this brazen exterior is a shrinking violet who couldn't face the consequences of being discovered in your company to have broccoli caught between her teeth. Are you without sin? Would you have mentioned it to her tactfully and privately, or would you have let fly with a GIGANTIC HORSE LAUGH and plenty of pointing?


Hell naw! Keep your mouth shut, listen to said story, excuse self, floss. It can wait a minute, it's ok.


No way! Has MARCIA never heard of teeth sucking? Or at least being embarrassed? I get the irritation, for sure, but at the very, very least, warn people so they can prepare to mock you!


But if you want a vote, I'd have to go for a no (more a fan of the discreet water-swoosh, myself).


Gotta vote NO. I wouldn't floss at the dinner table, nor brush ... just not the place. However! The "bite me" response nearly swayed me, because it is a favorite of mine, and OH so appropriate to the situation.


I'm also in the "No" group. Like Silk, I was taught that it is gross to stick your fingers in your mouth at the table.

Otoh, my father has a deplorable tendency to pick his teeth at the table, using a corner of his cigarette pack. *shudder*


Reading the title I assumed you'd be posting about this: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24905193

But I see you're tackling the real issues.

Marcia, dear, I love you, but floss belongs in the bathroom.

By the way, I'm sad that I had a meeting that kept me from attending. The meeting didn't have any outcomes and I had to eat crappy cafeteria pizza during it.


NO NO NO, you do not floss at the table. You use your straw to dig out the most offending pieces, spit them out carefully, making sure you don't hit anyone with them, then slip away and floss in the bathroom.


Eww, eww, eww. NO, it is not all right for Marcia to floss at the table.

One company I worked at was full of Englishmen. When we all went to dinner one night the guys started to stick their fingers in their mouths and go after whatever was stuck between cheek and gums. I mean, every single one of them. It was so gross, I had to excuse myself. Someone later told me this was an old-fashioned English thing to do, but definitely common in less urbanized portions of England.

OMG. It was unbelievably gross. And so was Marcia.


Ugh. Ugh! How sad for MARCIA that she did not know this was disgusting. I'm pro-flossing, you know...when it's appropriate, which is when you are in the BATHROOM.


I can understand your distaste but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Yes. I'm with Marcia.


Well, you've made me laugh aloud. With coffee in my mouth, which is now staining the front of my frock. This, btw, would be appropriate to clean up at the table. Funky teeth? Not so much. Sorry MARCIA.


All - so in summary, everyone but Ajooja thinks Marcia was raised by wolves. This is what I expected. I don't know what's up with the people at work, then.

By the way, Libby and I demonstrated tooth sucking right there at the table to Marcia and she said it was insufficient.

On the other hand, Marcia has very fine teeth. Truly, she just came out of a bad dental relationship with her former dentist, so that may have made her hypervigilant about the flossing.


NO flossing at the table. NEVER. NO. I don't care who you are, what restaurant it is, how empty the restaurant is, or how much you at that table all love each other. It's always NO.

I have the kind of teeth that get stuff caught between them if I eat yogurt, and I still say this. Broccoli in a restaurant? Well, honey, this is why the discreet toothpick (used with mouth CLOSED if used publicly) and the ladies' room were invented.

And to do it while someone else is still eating? NO.

Really, way worse than squirrel nipples.


Flossing at the table is just. gross. That's disgusting.

Amy in StL

I'm probably not the one to ask because I don't even think toothpicks are appropriate except in private. Plus, when you floss after eating the little bits don't always stay stuck to the floss. So she runs the risk of flinging food bits on her fellow diners. Okay, well now I've grossed MYSELF out, so I guess I'll be skipping lunch!


My ersatz mother-in-law flossed her teeth in my living room last Christmas. When she was finished, she tossed the wadded-up used floss on the coffee table. I went quickly from shock into horror and then when she got up to leave, I handed her a tissue and said, "I think you forgot your dental floss" and pointed to the used bit on my coffee table.

Recalling the story makes me feel like I need a "Silkwood" shower. You know what I mean.

Friend #3

Queenie - I can't believe I'm getting guff about flossing at the lunch table from a woman who plans to never clean her new suit from Dillard's. EVER.

Ajooja - you da man!

All - Well, at least I floss. I even do it at home in my van down by the river.

Furthermore, suckmahteeth!


Sara - I will allow the toothpick but only after you have left the restaurant and are on the parking lot. And squirrel teats are nasty.
RockyCat - You are a wise woman, one who will call a squirrel by its rightful name:
AmyinStL - oh, she was prepared for that, She wiped the floss on her napkin between flosses. It was quite dainty for a revolting display.
styro - I love you for that story.
Friend #3 - I will left you have the last words, since they are so apt.


Chiming in super-late, but frankly, considering that TF blows his nose at the table after every meal, whether using a real cloth or paper napkin, and whether at home or in public, flossing totally wouldn't bother me.

It is however, totally gross.


Katie - for a while a Missouri state congressman tried to make it illegal for people to blow their noses inside public restaurants.

Incidentally, as she left work today, Marcia paraded past my cube, flossing.

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