Its Oscar season, time to emerge from my self imposed hibernation of Dry January feeling refreshed, ready for party season. While rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, it occurred to me how much simpler the etiquette of conversation is at these affairs. Celebs famously want to talk exclusively about themselves full stop so no need to fret. All that’s required is to appear enraptured at every tale of excess and superiority. I find this strategy works for me. It gives me leave to indulge in copious amounts of pink champagne.
But I understand that some of you may live more parochial lives, so I put together some tips about what can or more importantly what cannot be discussed in polite society. The rules are the same, whether you’re mingling at the Vanity Fair post Oscar bash, Elton’s shindig, or simply entertaining a select gathering of urban sophisticates, I urge you to heed the following advice.
The following must never be discussed in polite society.
Never speak of the M word. Whether you earn millions or are on minimum wage, whether you’re from the privileged classes or part of the great unwashed, it’s a universal truth, talking money is tacky and people who do are not worth your time. No wants to discuss the size of your bonus or what you earn. Absolutely nobody of any consequence cares. While it’s ok to flaunt your diamond ring or mink coat, I would consider this flaunting your good taste, which is an entirely different thing. Also, if you are of generous means, by all means shower your loved ones with gifts. But the golden rule remains, never reveal how much you paid for them.
While I find the world of politics tedious, Himself loves nothing more than a good heated debate about the taxation policies of the centre right. Your views are your views never to be foisted on others. Discussing them in public shows an acute lack of judgement and is deeply boring.
Much for the same reasons you shouldn’t discuss politics, religious views are best kept to yourself. Being educated by the Little Sisters of Psychological Warfare, I used up a lifetime quota of religious talk by the age of 10.
Unless you are lying on a doctor’s couch, do not share details of your ingrowing toenail or the workings of your uterus. Unless you want to be classed as a Moaning Myrtle don’t go there. Your lack of refinement will be exposed and may lead to banishment from polite society.
While it’s acceptable to discuss some issues that may on the surface appear to be of minor significance, for example the perfect angle to employ when slicing lemons for your martini, or cucumber for your Hendricks gin, it’s definitely not ok to discuss the perfect length of potato peelings. It’s a fine line I know and probably one that only the true domestic Goddess can distinguish.
By all means limit your calorie intake to one lettuce leaf a day, but don’t expect anyone else to be interested or care.
Not a topic to stimulate engaging repartee. Weather is solely for work colleagues in the lift.
Reality TV Stars.
Anybody with the surname Karadashian, or indeed anybody who appears in the Daily Mail Online sidebar of shame are persona non grata. They serve no purpose in society and its best to deny their tacky existence. “Kim Kara who? Never heard of him”.
A clever joke or acerbic quip delivered with wit or satire is very acceptable. The use of the double entendre is positively to be encouraged, but unless you wish to be classed as a buffoon steer clear of crass jokes or wisecracks of a bawdy nature.
An art of the Double Entendre:
Indeed, I’m going off the point here. Where do you draw the line when sharing the minutiae of everyday happenings with your partner? It’s a grave question that I often ponder.
If I’m working away at the office and I suddenly realise that my nails have stopped growing. Should I immediately take a picture and share it on FB, or should I text my nearest and dearest for advice. The answer is of course neither.
I read recently of a man whose wife texted him to tell him that her forehead was growing. The man in question immediately felt the need to share with the world his wife’s display of gross idleness. A small number of FB users (150,000) ‘liked’ this revelation. It’s difficult to know who comes off worse here, the wife for being terminally stupid, the husband for being grossly disloyal in sharing it or the 150,000 nimwits.
The next time I have an epiphany about the shade of my toe nail clippings, I’ll do as I always do and keep schtum. Your partner really doesn’t need to be kept abreast of the growth rate of your forehead. Indeed, some topics need never be discussed.
The rule of thumb is, if in doubt, stick to malicious gossip.