Sunday, March 23, 2008


Mr. Debonair

Dear Mr. Debonair,

Is it appropriate to trim one’s fingernails at the Breakfast Table?

Somewhat Disgusted

Dear Disgusted,

In addressing this question to Mr. Debonair, you knew the answer before you even asked the question, didn’t you?

Of course you did.

And I shall not disappoint you. I will state that, unless you were raised by wolves, the only appropriate place to trim one’s fingernails is in the bathroom, preferably standing near a sink so that the trimmings may be easily caught and disposed of.

If one is trimming one’s toenails, it is preferable to find a comfortable seat in the bathroom rather than to trim the nails at one’s bedside, as the trimmings have an unfortunate way of lodging in out-of-the-way places where they may be discovered (with some modest discomfort) with one’s bare feet.

To trim one’s fingernails at table - be it at breakfast, luncheon, dinner, or supper - is revolting. And imagine the possibility of a stray nail clipping embedding itself in one’s food. Even worse, a companion’s food. How loathesome!

And to trim one’s toenails at table...why, that is beyond revolting. But Mr. Debonair has lived a long time, and Mr. Debonair has seen many things, not all of which have been pleasant. It is regrettable that one cannot “unsee” such things, but, well, there you are.

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