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Is It Rude To Apply Lipstick at the Table?

Just as men aren't supposed to wear hats at the table, women aren't supposed to "powder their noses" or apply lipstick either. Most of you think that applying makeup in public isn't so cool, but I've consulted Emily Post's (queen of all etiquette) website for the official word on manners. As it turns out, there's no one right answer:

  • Why it's a yes — "In general, personal grooming should be done in private for the simple reason that it can be annoying and it’s tacky," Post explains. "Still, think first! When in doubt, don’t do it, such as when you’re at a business meal or with people you don’t know very well."
  • Why it's a no — According to Post, "It’s okay to quickly apply lipstick at the table if you’re with close friends or relatives in a non-business situation, and at a non-deluxe restaurant."
  • Why it's a maybe — "Put putting on lipstick without using a mirror and without fanfare is one grooming ritual that can sometimes be performed in front of others," Post says.

So, depending on where you are, you're just fine — no need to freak out if you need a little touch-up.


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JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I think it's okay in certain contexts. With friends is fine. Family is fine. At a business meeting no.
ChristinaMUFE ChristinaMUFE 8 years
I apply lipgloss like 500 times a day. Without a mirror. Without thinking. I'm like OCD about it.
JennaV JennaV 8 years
I don't wear lipstick usually but I do apply lipgloss at the table
Kaori Kaori 8 years
Lmao, if you're in a formal environment, then careful with the shit that you do. But if you're on a casual outing, then fuck it. Life is too short to be so anal, people =)
RollingRed RollingRed 8 years
I personally don't reapply make up at the table, usually because I don't care enough about reaching into my bag and no one notices the nude lipstick except me anyway. I do not have a problem with friends or even strangers doing it, however, since I don't see it as an act of disrespect, as long as 1) they are friendly throughout the meal and the attitude is consistent and 2) they don't take longer than 1-2 minutes doing it (more than 2 minutes is just too much vanity for public). Sometimes I'm actually glad that they feel comfortable enough around me to not need to stuffily adhere to this rule. It's not like they are combing their hair in front of me or picking their noses.
jadeangel25 jadeangel25 8 years
Just wait until you've gone back to your car or are outside the restaurant. I don't think I've been in a place before where I couldn't wait just five more minutes until we left the establishment.
emalove emalove 8 years
I think it's fine to swipe on some lipgloss really quickly at the table, I do it all the time. But if I'm applying something that needs to look more precise, I would go to the ladies' room. I don't like everyone watching me!
dramaqueen12904 dramaqueen12904 8 years
i don't think it is such a big deal
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 8 years
My mom always taught me it's not proper to apply lipstick/gloss at the table. So, I have to admit I cringe a bit anytime someone I'm dining with pulls makeup out of their purse and applies at the table. I don't see it as rude, necessarily, but I do find it kind of tacky... I wonder why it can't wait until the bathroom or car, etc.
HipMom HipMom 8 years
If you don't need a mirror, sure. Otherwise, I think you really should visit the restroom. But I have occasionally done that, like sitting at a table with my husband before leaving the restaurant. If it's just a quick thing, it can be ok sometimes depending on where you are, too. "Without fanfare" is key, I think.
foreverfashion foreverfashion 8 years
It's rude.. just as is taking chatting away on your cell while eating out.. If you need to check yourself, or take a call... politely excuse yourself...
Lysa1237 Lysa1237 8 years
I agree with wantonwren, it's rude.
wren074 wren074 8 years
rudeness...might as well bring out the brush and eyeliner. even when close friends do this, it's tacky.
SillyGirl SillyGirl 8 years
Lovely -I agree about the mirror thing - if you need to pull out a mirror please take it to the bathroom, but a quick swipe of some gloss at the table isnt offensive at all.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
Depends on the type of restaurant and the people you are eating with.
lily8206 lily8206 8 years
Lip chap and lip gloss seem totally appropriate to me.
Pallas-Athena Pallas-Athena 8 years
I do this with my lipgloss. I have a small mirror, but I always feel like when I take it out I'm being rude (even if it is with family and friends) and I don't want to go to the bathroom for a literally two second thing. I guess it is just me being shy. If it was a work function then this was a big no-no or if someone is meeting their friend's or significant other's family then this is wrong. If it your own friends and family then fine. I don't care if people do it.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 8 years
I think it's ok if it's a gloss and you don't need a mirror to apply it...if you DO need a mirror, I think it's too personal and needs to be done in the bathroom.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
Like Miss Post says- lipstick can be understandable in my opinion at a dinner with close friends or at a non-super posh resto, but what I am totally against is when people pull out a compact and start putting on powder or concealer or w/e on their face. Lipstick comes off when eating and drinking so that makes sense but face powder doesn't and I think it looks trashy to re-apply that at the table. Saw a girl do it on Sat night when we were out to eat, it actually really grossed me out because from our table I could see that her applicator sponge was super dirty! Yuck!!!
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