When dining in France I try to remember to keep both hands visible.
This, I’ve been told more than once, is very important.
Sometimes I forget because it’s in direct contrast to the way I’ve eaten my entire life. In the States we’re taught to place the non-dominant hand in our lap unless it’s being used to help with cutting meat, buttering bread, etc.
In France, though, it’s considered impolite and even weird to do this.
I once asked a French friend why and was surprised by her response.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Why is it so important to have both hands visible when dining in France?”
Friend: “Well, if only one hand is visible you just never know what someone might be doing down there with their free hand.”
Me: “What kind of people are you hanging out with?”
So please, when “at table” in France always keep both hands in plain sight.
You just never know ….