You’ve been sitting in a restaurant chair all wrong! Etiquette expert William Hanson reveals how to sit correctly and avoid ‘dinosaur hands’

“Please don’t be a slouch.”

That’s a request from etiquette expert William Hanson in a TikTok video in which he explains how to sit correctly in a restaurant.

You did it all wrong, so listen up.

“We don’t sit with our backs against the back of the chair when we eat,” he explains.

“It forces us to have ‘dinosaur hands’ (when we use a knife and fork) and that’s not very elegant.”

'Your back does not touch the back of the chair'

“(Sit) with your butt pressed as far back into the chair as possible,” says William. ‘Your back does not touch the back of the chair’

The solution?

“Instead,” says William, “(sit) with your butt pressed as far back into the chair as possible.

“Your back doesn’t really touch the back of the chair.

“And we keep our wrists down when we cut. Much more elegant.’

Would the right eating attitude apply to every type of restaurant? Or can exceptions be made for a more informal place?

William told MailOnline Travel: ‘The context of the occasion always trumps any hard guideline, but in general it’s quite difficult to eat when you’re sitting way back in the chair and slouched.

‘It is also not ideal for digestion. Medical authorities will (confirm) that the digestive tract should be in as straight a line as possible, rather than curved, so that we can properly process what we have just chewed and not gain as much weight.”

William shows here that slouching leads to 'dinosaur hands'

William shows here that slouching leads to ‘dinosaur hands’

Are ‘dinosaur hands’ a known issue in etiquette circles?

“It’s certainly something my fellow industry professionals and I worry about at night,” says William.

Overall, are restaurant chairs designed to support the posture he advocates?

William told MailOnline: ‘A dining room chair is designed differently to a chair you might relax in at home or in a bar, and so we should be able to sit upright more easily.’

Are there any other benefits to ‘low wrists’?

William said, “Yes, keeping your wrists as close to the plate as possible – except for the hand holding the fork, which brings the food to the mouth – is generally better for easy access to the cutlery.”

Is it okay to immediately lean back on the chair when the meal is ready?

William added: “It’s more permissible, especially if everyone does it. But again, context is important. Are you sitting in smart clothes at a very formal meal? Then probably not. But are you at your friend’s house in Elstree and have you just enjoyed a microwave meal? In that case, you can lean back as you please.”

For more information from Mr. Hanson, visit his TikTok And Instagram profiles. Are new book, Just Good Manners (Penguin Random House), will be released on September 12, 2024. It’s billed as ‘a witty and authoritative guide to British etiquette’, in which William shares ‘his definitive guidelines on how to charm and surprise those around you with quirky authority in any situation’ .