Etiquette & superstition: snot


No, this isn’t a repeat. That last etiquette & superstition post you’re thinking about was about sneezing.

ETIQUETTE: You may blow your nose at the dinner table only if you need to make a “light blow.” You should leave the table (and preferably, the room) for any serious nasal evacuation. If you need to borrow someone’s handkerchief, do not return it all full of snot; wash the handkerchief and return it at a later date. And finally, take a tip from Giovanni Della Casa, who noted some time ago that it was rather disgusting “… after wiping your nose, to spread out your handkerchief and peer into it as if pearls or rubies might have fallen out of your head.”

SUPERSTITION: Let’s go now from Signor Della Casa to Philiatros, via Shakespeare’s England and The Hairpin: Do you have hemorrhoids and also a terrible cold? Worry not. You are actually very lucky, at least in terms of the hemorrhoids part. Just take your cold snot (or warm snot mixed with the soot from a brass pot, if you’re feeling all la-dee-da) and rub it on the afflicted area. Poof – no more hemorrhoids.

(Ed. note: Maybe this isn’t superstition. Maybe it’s valid, and should be taught in schools, and believed by a number of Republican presidential candidates.)

Photo by Chris Devers on Flickr

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