Regardless of your age or gender, I am sure you have encountered this scenario: you put down your glass or your cup on the table after taking a drink, only to find there is a huge lipstick print or food mark on it. How do you avoid this embarrassing situation? Here is the solution.

Who can honestly say they have never faced this situation?:

And then you place it back on the table, fearing the other guests have noticed you are not able to keep a clean glass while drinking. What can you do?

What you should not do?

It would be a shame to just leave the glass sitting on the table looking stained. Indeed, it is very unpleasant for everyone (I would even say disgusting) to see a big greasy mark from food or lipstick on the glass of your neighbour. You would think “this person pretends to be a refined lady/gentleman but cannot even drink properly.”

You cannot wipe it with your napkin or – even worse – the table cloth, nobody does. Imagine the scene, you would look like a cleaner! Moreover, napkins are often large, so it would attract more attention to you and your problem.

I am sure you understand you cannot ask a waiter to change your glass. Would you do it every time you drink? And what if you are at someone’s home?

What you should do

Many of you probably already know this: if you are wearing lipstick you should dab your lips with your napkin when you are about to drink for the first time, in order to remove the surplus lipstick. This advice is also valid if you are not wearing any lipstick but feel your lips are greasy from the food, and may leave a mark on the glass.

You have taken a drink and you see a mark on the glass. Do not put it back on the table. Discreetly, hold it at waist level in order to avoid drawing attention to it. Maintain a normal and natural demeanor.

With your thumb, discreetly remove the mark without looking at your hands. This is extremely important. If you look at what you are doing you will draw attention to it. Your attitude is still natural, you follow the conversation, speak normally. Nobody will notice what you are doing.

You place the glass back on the table. Now you can discreetly clean your thumb on your napkin, and continue to enjoy your dinner.

Congratulations! You have navigated through a difficult incident that may have caused you to lose face. Stay in touch with us; we are soon going to launch a fine-dining etiquette class in downtown Shanghai. I look forward to seeing you there!