Snot appeal

I’m writing this while flying to Boston and baby Sorenne just let out three sneezes and a fart. Cloth diapers make wonderful spit rags, and I usually have one in my back pocket or over my shoulder. Last week I discovered another use – to control my draining eyes and nose while sitting through a meeting.

Which raises the question: is it bad manners to blow your nose at the table, even if you’re not using your napkin?

Helena Echlin of Chow magazine responds:

According to Peter Post, director of the Emily Post Institute and an allergy sufferer, you should leave the dinner table to blow your nose if possible. … Blowing your nose in public is acceptable, if not very charming. But don’t do it at the table. When you blow your nose in other situations—on the subway, for instance—people can edge away. At the table they’re stuck next to you and your germs. Though they don’t have to see your snot, they may be able to hear it when you snuffle, and that can be almost as bad. …

According to Elizabeth Bernstein, a San Francisco writer, “If a guy blew his nose in his napkin on a date, it would be pretty much a deal-breaker.”

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time