Monday, April 18, 2016

Eating Naked ~ my column from Sunday's paper

I’m going to start eating naked. I know this will be problematic when eating at most local establishments, but if the food folks took one look at my clothes after a meal, they would understand.

It’s not due to age or senility, both of which are ongoing matters with me, but because for as
long as I can remember I’ve dropped food on my clothes while eating. When Ma Bell first promoted me to management, I dreaded the change in dress code. I knew that wearing a suit would be an issue. I could see the writing on the wall, or more to the point, the stains on my tie.

As a result of my inept eating, my ties looked as if they had some form of a malady, which manifested itself in greasy splotches. The local dry cleaners frequently worked overtime shifts to keep up with the demand. A small country could have offered free health care for what I paid the dry cleaners.

I guess a raincoat while I ate would have solved the problem, but that would have made me look even stranger than normal. Instead, after meals, I would remove the stained tie, and roll up my sleeves, which made it appear as though the “real work” was about to commence.

Ties rarely figure into my wardrobe these days, but food down the front of my shirt hasn’t slowed a bit.

When we don’t have company, I slide the tablecloth on my end over far enough so that when my food falls it drops on wood and not on the tablecloth.

The idea for this column came to mind as I was trying to think of a writing topic. Our friends Jon and Diane Mayhall brought us a gift bag full of goodies the last time they visited. In the bag were a loaf of raisin bread, a jar of peach jam, and a bunch of other goodies.  This morning Jilda toasted a slice of the raisin bread spread with cream cheese and jam. She brought the treat along with a steaming cup of coffee to the screen porch where I was writing.

An idea was forming in my head as I reached for the toast. I paused a moment enjoying the aroma before taking a bite. Just then a blob of jam the size of a quarter dropped off the bread, rolled down the front of my shirt, and onto my sweatpants. Afterwards, the shirt looked as if it had a sticky zipper.

I don’t think I’m alone here because I often see folks at restaurants wearing napkins to protect their shirts. I’ve thought about doing this, but I feared I would look like a graceless hick. Apparently they care more about their clothing than they do about what someone might think.

One thought that came to mind was a new invention. It would be a type of cone made of plastic much like those cones used by veterinarians to keep dogs from licking surgery sutures, except this cone would catch food particles before the fall to your shirt.

Or, I could go with my original idea and simply eat naked.

Rick Watson is a columnist and author. His latest book Life Changes is available on You can contact him via email at


  1. OK, I smiled at the picture, the one you posted and the one in my head from the article, methinks I prefer the printed one.
    But reality, a very truthful issue with some of the rest of your readers who BE THERE and DO THAT!
    I love a smiler, this is one.

  2. I have the same issue, but even without the spillage I never looked good in a suit. Always rumpled, not management material. One requirement to management is you need to look good in a suit.

  3. Anonymous1:26 AM

    Too bad you're not a woman. A friend of mine was president of the Los Angeles chapter of Brandeis University for several years. As such, she hosted a luncheon for over 1,000 people at a Beverly Hills hotel. Depending on her dress, she wore either a silver or gold lame bib. Very stylish!!

  4. Rick I am with you about having something on when we are eating... a raincoat... a cone... something to protect our clothing... I am going to skip eating naked... I would get banned... lol

  5. Eating naked could be an issue with hot food. But eating naked would probably convince me to eat less.

  6. I am also a messy eater. Around my plate at the table are all sorts of crumbs. The front of my clothes looks like I served from them. The dog lies at my feet waiting for the inevitable goodies she will get when the bits land on the floor. But if I were to eat naked I would definitely eat alone. Even the dog would run.

  7. Let me know your decision before coming to the next at&t/eds lunch. I probably need to warn people.

  8. Let me know your decision before coming to the next at&t/eds lunch. I probably need to warn people.

  9. hmmm...not sure eating naked is the best thing as you may be eating naked in jail and that may be enticing to some of the folk in there:) I think giant old fashioned bibs are the way to go. i have a similar issue so i just place a tea towel under my collar and away i go.

  10. My husband deals with this problem every meal. It drives me crazy because every shirt he owns has a stain or two on the front. At home, I gave him a "bib" to wear which is a short apron and he wears that. Bless his heart. And yours. I am more able to adjust to the bib and the stains than for him to eat naked at this stage of the game.

  11. I can't wear white because if I did I would without fail spill something on me just saying.

  12. Eating naked! That's the ticket. I have had the same problem for years. My kids would always tease me about it. One of them would bring three napkins in the right hand, place them on the table and say, "For us!" and then a stack about an inch high in the left hand, "For you!"


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