Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Should A Lady Spit Or Swallow?

The age old question of if a lady should spit or swallow has been debated through the ages. For instance, in 16th century Spain, it was considered treason if a lady spat, especially while in the private company of the King. Though if that same lady were with peasant men (commoners) spiting was not only allowed, it was encouraged as a clear non-verbal form of communicating displeasure and/or a safe means of preventing the spread of possible diseases. Today it is much up to the lady's discretion. If her evening with a gentleman has been pleasant, and she wishes to see that gentleman again, the polite and socially acceptable course of action would be to swallow. She should swallow as many times as necessary to please the gentleman or gentlemen she is in the company of. Should she choose to spit, which is her right to do so nowadays, one can all but guarantee that she will not be invited back into the company of said gentleman/gentlemen.

In conclusion, swallowing is the preferred means of social grace when out with a man, but should a lady spit, she should try to do it when he is not looking and be sure to clean up after herself with a napkin, or if one is not available, the underside of her blouse.

- New York Dining Etiquette Journal, Young Ladies Edition- 1918
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