When should one use [or not] a straw? The answer completely depends on the social situation. Personally, I never use straws in public..... unless a drink is served in a pineapple, a coconut, or in any object that would damage my face. There is even an organization that discourages the use of straws. Straw free nations and Occupy Straws could be our future.
Consequently, I put together a few tips for appropriate and inappropriate use of the straw. Of course, this is solely based on my opinion.
Scenario: You are a guest at a cocktail party and are presented with an interesting libation, a beautiful vessel, and a tiny straw. You recognize the tubular plastic similar to the stacks at the local pub. What to do? Quickly remove the straw and place it into your napkin. Then, find the closest garbage container and discreetly discard. Never try to hide the straw in your handbag, accidentally drop it on the floor, or leave on the hosts' antique server. Over the years, I have witnessed some strange behavior at events where adult beverages were served. And where there is a straw, there is trouble. For instance, there are "adults" that believe straws are not just for drinking; however, under no circumstances should you use straws for the following:
- Combing or using a straw as a hair accessory
- Picking your teeth or to chew nervously
- Blowing bubbles into liquid
- Pointing at people with a straw, even if Cuba Gooding, Jr. just entered the bar....again.
- Stirring your drink nervously
- Lassoing or wrangling ice
- Picking up objects or Hors d'oeuvres with a straw
- And finally, performing tricks with a straw to impress the opposite sex.
If faced with an emergency resulting in dire consequences, manners may take pause. You may use a straw under these specific circumstances:
- You are with MacGyver. The only way out of the burning building is to traverse an object with your straw
- You have a glass that looks as if it was washed in the L.A. river. It is dirty and the straw will keep you out of the health department.
- You are attending a cocktail party where the host(s) purchased swirly straws and insists they are "fun".
- Someone taps you on the shoulder and motions to your upper lip. Oh, its a mustache!
It is doubtful that you will be faced with peril and forced to use a straw. And, while I'm certain the information above will not reach etiquette publications, the experience from the field cannot be replaced.