Ok faith I understand... that sort of is pretty much what I understood from your initial post in this thread. I was trying to understand why something like eating would be considered "unrefined" in some societies, but not in others (for example Ancient Romans considered themselves the epitome of civilization, but lying on couches and eating and drinking was pretty much de rigeur for high-ups (or high-up wannabes) when meeting).
I don't think it's considered unrefined in ANY cultures. I've never heard of a culture in which eating is considering unrefined. I was marvelling over the fact that it isn't counted as unrefined, considering that it involves potentially messy bodily functions. Of course we try to keep it as neat and tidy as possible, but it still is what it is.
I guess I was intrigued by your unique (to my ears) and somewhat nebulous definition of "refined". It sort of seems implicit by when you say "...refined and polite (maybe not in Europe...)" as though you feel those words are absolutes, as defined by ...what? I'm not trying to be difficult, just interested and trying to understand your point of view (it's one I've encountered before but never understood, so this is my chance! )
Both nebulous and absolute at the same time? Wow. I am confusing; I'm sorry. I guess I was just trying to be brief and not make a long post on something as boring as eating (as I'm evidently doing right now).
I put in the disclaimer about Europe since it was mentioned that Americans are evidently considered uptight by European standards when it comes to what is polite and what is impolite. That alone seems to me to signify that "refiend" and "unrefined" are not absolute terms.
If I think back to the sort of things that my mother would gently remind me not to do--chewing gum in church, sitting with my feet in the chair, brushing my hair in class, burping, etc.--they were rarely gross or horrible, nothing to get worked up over, yet they were considered unrefined and tacky. Something that one doesn't do when one is trying to make a good impression on a future employer, for example. It strikes me as a bit ironic that I would be expected not to chew bubble gum if I were interviewing for a job, yet it would not be uncommon to "do lunch" with a boss. There are differences between them, of course, but they both involve putting stuff in your mouth and chewing, while eating lunch seems potentially messier than chewing gum. (And it's more difficult to talk while eating than it is to talk while chewing gum.)
The guy in your story is ewey, but also funny to me in a way. I've known people similar to that who are so practical and just don't care about external perceptions. Then again maybe the guy wanted his money's worth on the teeth cleaning.
I don't care for smashing about chewing, gulping, and goobering away in everyone's ears. I had a roommate once who had her family over to eat big sticky cinnamon rolls in our dorm room. We had no other food and they never offered me one, but boy did they chew, smack, chortle, and goober away. Mildly disturbing.
The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN If this is monkey pee, you're on your own.SCULLY