Saturday, November 08, 2008

Etiquette tips ...

Now as regular readers know, I'm not one for North London dinner parties, sipping wine and making polite small talk about house prices, schools and asking for the recipe.
It also seems I wouldn't fit into life working in academic institutions if this report is anything to go by, getting drunk and calling people fuckwits might be a bit of a faux pas. There is apparently grooming advice given to new staff at Leeds Metropolitan University as part of a guide to etiquette:

Make sure your underwear fits and is unobtrusive, consider whether your eyebrows are a distraction to others and, at all costs, avoid looking cheap.

The rules were set out during “manners training”, which included how to walk wearing a hat, how to select the correct cutlery during dinner and how to make polite small talk.

In the chapter on developing a “personal brand”, the graduate trainees were told to avoid wearing “clashing colours, crumpled or stained clothes” and to make an effort not to appear “frumpy, tarty, [or] lazy”, Times Higher Education reports.

“It really is up to you to send out the signals that you are intelligent, efficient, interesting and an asset to the university,” the guide tells them.

To that end, staff who attend or host university functions are told to be careful not to veer on to subjects that may cause offence during dinner discussion.

“Dinner is meant to be enjoyed, not to be a forum for debate,” and sex, religion and politics should not be on the menu for discussion, according to the 22 pages of rules.

Patricia Lee, the wife of the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Simon Lee, compiled the guide and gave a workshop to staff on how to conduct themselves at functions and how to behave at table. Decorum during dinner should be maintained so as not to cause “insult to your hostess”, the guide advises, adding that “wine at dinner is to complement your food, not to help you along the way to drunkenness”.

Refrain from clinking glasses during a toast, steer clear of the condiments before you taste your food, and never, ever lick your knife, it says. “If your napkin drops to the floor, it is acceptable for you to pick it up unless the house has a butler or servants near the table,” it goes on.

What a snobby , sexist and boring set of rules.

I'm pretty sure I would cause offence to the hostess pretty damn quickly , being a bit tarty and wanting to talk about politics, sex and religion whilst drinking too much and certainly not waiting for the servants to pick up after me. It really is for the best that I have never been to a dinner party and as Dave says to me, you're never make a classy bird Yeah, I'll stick to arguing in pubs with drunken old Trots ...