Hi, all. I'm relatively new to Unilang, but I noticed this thread and thought I'd throw in my two cents.
I've heard (and used) the phrase, but only literally, never figuratively. If there's a guest at the dinner table and she has to pick something up with her hands to eat it, she might be embarrassed, since this is contrary to good manners in my part of the States. I ignore it politely, of course, but if she expresses her embarrassment, that's when I might use the phrase: "Don't worry about it. After all, fingers were made before forks."
Hope this helps.