Cutlery is much like a floss or a nose rag: it’s not just how you use it that matters, it’s also where on your plate you put it after you’re done. For your enlightenment, here is a comprehensive list of cutlery positions and their meanings, informed by etiquette experts.
Disclaimer: You probably won’t benefit from the list if you eat with your hands, photosynthesize, or slurp from a bowl with your name in a cartoonish font on it.
Knife and fork placed in a cross on the plate
You are ready for the next course.
Knife and fork placed in a V-shape
You’re not ready for the next course and would much appreciate if the waiter stopped looming expectantly over your salad.
Knives and forks strewn in all directions across the floor
You are not ready for adult life. The waiter will provide you with crayons and a coloring book to pass the rest of the evening.
Knife and fork parallel to each other, pointing to the right
The meal was excellent; compliments to the chef.
Knife and fork parallel to each other, but in your pocket
The cutlery is excellent; compliments to the venue’s fine choice of silverware.
Knife and fork placed in a V-shape, knife’s blade through the fork’s tines
A subtle way to show that you didn’t enjoy the meal. Other ways include ostentatious vomiting or writing and staging a satirical play lambasting the restaurant.
Knife and fork pointed emphatically at the waiter’s throat
A not-so-subtle way to show that you didn’t enjoy the service.
Knives and forks arranged in a pentagram on a salt-rimmed plate
You would like to summon a demon so the waiter will provide you with a virgin chicken for sacrifice.
Knife and fork bent in unnatural shapes
You would have the waiter know that you’re possessed of psychic powers and planning on using them to nick the day’s tips.
Knives and forks fencing a vegetable garden you planted in your spaghetti
The chef’s special made excellent compost, which you, as an organic farmer, deeply appreciate.
Knife and fork buried in your date’s chest
The steak was delicious, while this Tinder specimen clearly wasn’t.
Knife and fork left in the sink to soak
For whatever weird reason the waiter has followed you to your kitchen, you’d like them to leave immediately.