Sasha Answers: My boyfriend’s terrible manners
Sasha! I've been casually dating this guy for about 7 months. We have lots in common and have a good time together. He's funny, warm and easygoing. While he hasn’t outright said it, I'm getting vibes from him that he wants us to be exclusive. I've been avoiding the discussion. He has a couple of unattractive traits and I don't know how to deal with them. If I'm honest with myself, they colour my judgment on our relationship.
Specifically, he has awful table manners and etiquette. He uses terrible written and spoken grammar when communicating (English is his first language). To give you a bit of backstory. Boy is from the rough side of town and grew up in a family where they didn't place much emphasis on education or social graces. He left school when he was young to help support his family – for which I admire him so much – but unfortunately he has carried their collective bad habits into his adulthood. I've met a few of them and they all speak/act the same way.
"Those gloves over there are mines. I seen him on the bus the other day. Yous guys lost big time at the casino. There saving too pieces of cake for us" …. I could go on.
He eats like a caveman, shovelling his meals into his mouth and often speaking with his mouth full of food. When we go out to eat, he doesn't fold his napkin in his lap, but leaves it in a heap on the table and wipes his face with it like it's a rag.
Do I say something? I'm afraid I'm going to insult him. I've tried my best to ignore these issues till now, but they've started to creep on to my annoyance meter. What do I do? T
T, it would be really easy for me to call you a snob. I could even tell you that the rudest person at the table is the person who is judging other people's manners. And, there will likely be a few people reading this who will take that stance, but sh-t dude, I gotta say that if I were in your relationship, I’d be feeling the same way you do.
It's not like I need someone to curtsy when they see me, but I sure as sh-t can’t handle watching someone’s saliva break down their meal. There's no way I could stick my tongue back in that mouth again. It all comes down to chemistry, right? And the way someone eats, acts and speaks all plays into that wide tapestry of attraction. So T, if his poor grammar and etiquette are shrinking your boner, well, I can’t blame you for the shrivel.
Having said that though, I do think it’s bizarre that you’ve been with this guy for 7 months and haven’t said a peep. I mean, how can he improve his behaviour if he doesn’t even know how he should? So if there’s something that’s actively grossing you out, i.e., eating with mouth open, then it’s as easy as saying “Hey, this is awkward, but it kind of grosses me out when you chew with your mouth open.” Or when his poor grammar pops up in a sentence then gently correct him by letting him know how to say something properly.
The tricky thing in all of this T, is finding the balance so that you come off as helpful as opposed to a naggy, f-cking know-it-all. So keep a soft delivery and also make sure to let him that you’re only trying to accentuate his already amazing qualities. You know, douse him with some sugar.
This will either work in your favour or it will blow up in your face: he’ll change gradually or think you’re a controlling bitch. The good news though is you’ll get a good sense right away if it will take or not.
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