Tag Archives: Social etiquette

Washing up at the wash up.


At my wick's end.

(The one where I do not let go of the dinner party hosting – yet).

According to Angelfire, there are six signs of a “good host”.

“1.  Once seated at the table, no one should ever have to ask for a refill”. 

That.  That is a thing that is not an issue in this household.  Ever.

(Special guest stars – in order of appearance: Wynns Coonawarra Estate ’11 Riesling, Mâcon-Villages ’10 Chardonnay, Yarra Valley Sticks ’10 Pinot Noir, Macedon Ranges Zig Zag Rd ’06 Cabernet Sauvignon).

Didn’t consult buddy pal James Halliday on any of these, but they did the trick.  Enough said.
“2.  Avoid blinding your guests with candles or obstructing their views of each other with large flower arrangements or large centerpieces. Do not use scented candles- they can have an unappetizing effect”. 

Hm.  Possibly me and my feelings for candles have been guilty parties at other parties regarding this minor matter.

(Shut up).


My only duties pre-show revolved around all things floral and wax.


There are a lot of wicks to set on fire about this place.  A lot.  And I love lighting them quite frankly.  It’s not so much the lighting, per se – well.  Well, it’s when you have enough of them burning.  Together…

(It’s pretty, ok?  Geez!)

Anyway, anyway.  Appetites, spirit and reason remained in-da house.  (Plato still pops his head in the door of my life).

“3.  Help guests shine in conversation. Stop a bore from droning on. Steer away from topics that might cause arguments or offend someone”. 

Um.  Alright.  This is where we perhaps strayed into remotely Bret Easton Ellis territory.

But.  It is important to be topical.  (Isn’t it?)  Not our fault if politics and religion are waiting impatiently at Australia’s express check-out right now.  (Is it?)

(After all…)

We are talking the evening directly following the day the ALP National Conference went down.  The one with the airing of some interesting topics.  Marriage equality, offshore processing, lifting bans on uranium to India.  You know, little stuff.

(Stuff that’s interesting to talk about).


Not our fault if one of our (co-host and I) most entertaining stories to tell involves some great Jerry Springer moments.  (One headline reads: Family Performs Exorcism at Birthday Party).

There is that –

(Stuff that’s interesting to talk about to strangers).

Whatever, whatever.   I think the big things playing on your feelings and emotions should be discussed.  Out in the open and all.  More so to strangers than anyone…

Think: skewed-social-litmus-test here.  After all, at least you know where you all stand, sit, or fall flat on your face with one another.

Turns out: I think we’re all on the same page about many things.  T and L have not run for The Grampians… yet.

“4.  When serving, place food in distinct areas on each plate. If all the courses won’t fit on a single plate, make sure you provide an extra small one”. 

Say whaaa?

I don’t understand this point at all.  Probably got something to do with the fact that I can’t be bothered reading the whole sentence.

(Still, I guess I can be slow on the uptake).

Whatever:  the food did done real good, it did.

(No thanks to me.  I spent the entire time at the kitchen bar being useless.  Well, it’s just… Fine.  Fine.  I had my hands full, ok?  One hand on my iPhone, the other on a Bulmers, laptop on my lap.  Research).

Anyway, anyway.

Two different curries:  Vegetarian and a Chicken/Pistachio.  I’d give you the fab recipes.  Both from Crispen Pants.  But, you know, copyright infringements are my excuse today.  Amazing flat-bread to accompany (I’ll suss out the maker on that one).

Then…Dessert was this jaw-dropping stunner: Vanilla semifreddo with pistachio praline.  And…and… raspberry coulis.


(Despite my best intentions I didn’t get photographic evidence.  Too busy with my hands full.  This time with the wine.  You’ll have to amuse yourself looking at my candles).

“5.  Before dessert is served, the table should be completely cleared of all dishes from the previous courses. This includes wine glasses, salt and pepper shakers, and condiments dishes”.

May not have pulled this one off either.  It’s highly unlikely I’d ever move a wine glass unless it was toward my mouth.  The other stuff might have been moved though.  (I don’t like anything getting in the way of my dessert).

There are probably some other rules too –

“Make sure you cook the chicken” and “don’t glass the guests” immediately spring to mind.  We pulled those off better than well.

Oh.  Oh…

But this one –   this one we may have had some memory issues on:

Do not serve the dogs something different to their normal diet.  And if you do…. If you dare to… do not let them within 500 feet of your guests.

(Sorry guys, hope you’d finished eating by then).


Guess who’s coming to dinner?


No.  Seriously. We might have to.


Relish in newness of being a newbie.  Make a good impression.  Make friends.

(These are a few things we told ourselves we would do when moving to a new hometown.  Had the capacity for, even).

So, it’s important to get off to a good start, right?  Keep the ball in play early.  Not be penalised for silly mistakes.

We probably should have Googled “dinner party etiquette” before this particular adventure started then.

(Modern Manners and Etiquette tells me of the importance of the invitation in making “a happy host and a good time”.  It’s the voice of reason really: be clear about dates, times, venues – well, you know?  Some details that might be relevant to anyone expected to attend).

Including the hosts).

It’s just, well.  Well, it’s just unfortunate that we had forgotten that we had dished out invitations to our new best friends (read: only acquaintances we have had interactions with more than twice).

Yep.  We forgot that we asked some people to dinner.

(Scene of the crime:  The night before the 80 flies incident.  The crime that I refuse to evidence further at this point).

By some stroke of extraordinary fortune, fate, and destiny that we are clearly not deserving of…. Good Lady Luck swung our way again (albeit giggling madly).  The prospective ‘friendiners’ it would seem, are more up with dinner party etiquette than we are.

They called.  They called to check.  They called to check one full day in advance of the event.  The event planned by us.  The event we forgot that we had planned.  “Are we still on for dinner at your place tomorrow night?”

That’s the question they asked.  Thank the Greek Gods they did actually ask it I tell you.  If there was not a question such as this asked – well.  I guess we could have …..

(As it was, the question prompted a flurry of activity: frozen peas, canned beetroot and 6 month old cornflakes all tossed on to the kitchen bench in an effort to see if there was a chance in high hell that the event could, in fact, take place).

Still.  To my own credit –

It should be stated here that I have very strong coping mechanisms when it comes to being on the receiving end of shock waves.  (Don’t ask me to give you tips though.  As it is, I am in denial about my over-use of denial).

Anyway, anyway.

With our tails between our legs and remorse drifting gently in the breeze, we sat quietly in the confessionals of truth.  We told our friendiners that we had forgotten about those particular invitations.

(Way to make a good impression to people who will be potentially part of one’s future social life).

It gets worse.

We also had to ‘fess up that we had already run with the bulls and created another set of invitations for the following weekend… A set of invitations apparently that were relayed to other people when we were in possession of our mental faculties.  (“It’s not you, it’s us” – really the only excuse that we could offer up).

Of course, we (the arrogant duo that this household contains) still expected that they would show up the following weekend… even though they had not been in receipt of that invitation (mark two).  Confused?  Well, so am I quite frankly.  (Always and generally speaking).

No time for self-pity, though.  Because… despite the poor form, despite the social ineptitude, despite it all – This thang is going down.  Dinner party is in-da-house.


(And a sprinkle of irony from the measuring cup: the only ones actually able to make this date were the originals from the forgotten invite.  Karma really is my fate).


Oh, and in case I forgot to mention: You were invited.