When I was just entering adolescence, there were nights my mother would look at me across the dinner table and say, "I hope you never order spaghetti when you go out on dates someday." What she was witnessing must have been an awful sight. I'm sure all I thought at the time was, I hope I have a date someday.
I now know exactly what it was she was seeing. When C eats, it looks like an animal grazing, his face a mere inches over whatever it is that's for dinner. Only this animal can use its hands. Or, rather, this animal has hands, but they're somewhat vestigial. More like flippers, really. With his elbows on the table, he's able to bring the pizza or chicken or forkful of pasta up to his face and very, very close to his mouth. What results is a face covered with gravy or sauce or an oil of some kind, like a praying mantis trying to eat a fish. It truly is an awful sight.
I kid him in this way because I know this will pass, and because I helped make him and kidding him is my right. Over time he'll learn manners through our gentle reminders and fake vomiting sounds. We may make him start eating in front of a mirror, or using a bib. I may take dinner in the other room until he's 30 or so.
It passed for me, this mastication mess. I learned how to eat properly, eventually using a napkin and getting that fork in there the first time. And now I almost never order spaghetti on my dates.