Bending the Elbow Rule

Bending the Elbow Rule

Girl with elbows on the table

Even the crudest among us has heard you’re not supposed to put your elbows on the table. In fact, it’s so familiar, there’s even a nursery rhyme about it—and you know you’ve arrived when you have your own nursery rhyme, just like the plague (Ring Around the Rosie) or a homicidal English queen (Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary). It goes:

Mabel, Mabel, strong and able
Get your elbows off the table

This is not a horse's stable

But why?