Soup is my nemesis. As much as I love it, I can not conquer it. French onion with melted gruyere, poblano cream, chicken tortilla with avocado, and now...Bookbinder seafood with sherry. Why must the etiquette rules of soup eating torment me so? I deem following them to be a complete impossibility...
Don't place a spoon you have used back on the table (of course). Place it ideally on the saucer under the bowl (but there is often no saucer) and only leave it in the bowl if you have no saucer. Don't make a mess (how can I avoid it when there's still so much good soup clinging to my spoon?).
Don't clink the spoon in your bowl or scrape goodies from the bottom (that's where all the delicious seafood lands). Don't allow the gooey melted cheese that tops your soup to create a bouncing string of deliciousness that stretches from your mouth to your bowl. And don't end up with a spoonful of avocado chunks and haphazard crispy tortilla strips that you can't gracefully slip into your mouth with a slight tilt of your spoon (yeah right, that's it, I give up).
I once taught a dining etiquette class to a group of adult professionals. I led them through the soup course, and then the salad course, and once the entree was served, I sat down to dine as a co-presenter stepped in to lead the group through an introduction to wine. As I listened, I enjoyed my soup thoroughly, and when I looked up, all eyes were on me, not the speaker, as I had the whole spoon in my mouth and cleaned it completely with my closed lips. Oops. Do as I say, not as I do.
I know there are plenty of fine ladies and gentlemen who do not struggle with these issues, but I do. One way or another I end up dripping, or splashing, or completely abandoning it (yet longing for it) for fear of a dining disaster. Soup, chowder, broths of many flavors, how I love thee, and I have learned that you are best enjoyed when no one is watching.