I have this little pet peeve. Those who know me well know that I have more than one, but let’s focus on just one for now. I can’t stand it when women touch up their face at the table. Forget rude, it’s déclassé, which in laymen’s terms means tacky.
According to the United States Dining Etiquette Guide, applying lipstick at the table is as serious a no-no as using a toothpick at the table. If you’re on a date, a “table touch up” makes you look vain and high maintenance. The man sitting across from you has been looking at your shiny nose and bare lips throughout the entire meal. Why the sudden need to hide that from him? Makeup is about mystery. The mystery is gone if you apply it in public. Much easier to simply excuse yourself—allowing him an opportunity to show his manners by standing as you stand, and even assisting you with your chair—and make your way to the ladies’ room to primp and preen, and tinkle and text. Yes, texting at the table is also inappropriate.
Being a stickler for etiquette, I decided to consult Emily Post on the subject of applying makeup in public and found that my sentiments were substantiated. As a rule, “personal grooming should be done in private, for the simple reason that it can be annoying and tacky,” Post explains. “When in doubt, don’t do it, such as when you are at a business meal or with people you don’t know very well.” According to Post, it’s okay to quickly apply lipstick at the table (without using a mirror) if you’re with close friends or relatives, in a non-business situation, or at a casual restaurant. What can be gleaned from her advice is that applying makeup at the table is a definite “dating don’t.”
While Angelina Jolie may appear to be one of the most gracious, well-mannered celebrities of our time, even she has been caught with her lip gloss out. However, she was not retouching with a mirror in hand, nor was she seated at a dinner table. She was at the 2011 Golden Globes with hundreds of cameras and millions of eyes upon her. I think given the pressure of looking your best at such an event allows for exemption from traditional rules. Even Emily Post says it’s okay to retouch lipstick in public if it’s done quickly, discreetly, and without fanfare. Poor Angie. It’s hard to be discreet in front of all the paparazzi. I wonder if she’d pull out the Chantecaille Brilliant Lip Gloss when she’s out for dinner with Brad.