Gen Z: Manners C̶o̶s̶t̶ / Are Worth Nothing

The newspapers have a new obsession. They used to be fixated on Katie Price, Princess Diana and the judges in the UK, but now there’s a now show in town.

Gen Z, currently aged between 11 and 26, come under much scrutiny. The best thing about Gen Z is that they have made the papers stop hating Millennials. It’s a good thing too, because newspapers used the term Millennials to mean “young people” but they’re now 27 to 43. At 43 you don’t want to be picked on for being an annoying young person just as you’re heading into your mid-life crisis.

The latest trouble with Gen Z is that apparently they’re ditching traditional table manners because they're ''irrelevant'. I wonder how much of this is because Gen Z know they’re growing up into a world where they probably won’t be able to afford to buy a table. Research has found that there are still some rules they want to stick to. Chewing with your mouth closed is still seen as a good rule.

This is unsurprising as, from my limited time on TikTok, it seems like all young people claim to have misophonia, the medical condition where they can’t stand hearing other people chewing. To those people I say, “Hey, it’s not all about you! Some of us have to eat. I’m not going to starve to death because you’re being all fussy.”

The same research has found that Gen Z think it’s OK to put your elbows on the table. Before we all pile into chants of, “Tut, young people these days,” I want to be honest. I never understood that rule.

Closing your mouth when you eat is practical. It’s messy and, from the point of view of the eater, you don’t want to drop any.

What was the problem with elbows? If you don’t have a sturdy table and a little pressure on one side would make it tip, then I’m onboard. We either don’t do elbows or we all do elbows.

Thankfully society has moved on from making a table out of a disused dartboard rested on a stack of books, so most tables can handle it.

That makes the elbow rule one that isn’t needed but is adhered to out of convention. It’s like the act of shaking hands. Originally it was to show that you weren’t carrying a sword in that hand. These days we still do it despite no one carrying swords, making it unnecessary and knife crime still going up, making it unsuccessful.

In the research, 77% said they 'do not care about cutlery politics'. 60% say they don’t care which way round people hold their knife and fork.

But if we don’t have rules about how you use your cutlery, which knife does what, which way you should leave your knife and fork on your plate if you haven’t finished your meal and how you get soup into your mouth using a spoon how will we know which people are working class so we can judge them accordingly?

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