The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette (Bluffer's Guides) by William Hanson
|The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette (Bluffer's Guides) by William Hanson|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Perhaps not the ultimate guide to etiquette but it's the one that will tell you most of what you really want to know and make you laugh too. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: January 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
If you ask people what they fear most in any social situation most will tell you that it's not knowing how to behave. They'll be fine about the basics, but it's those little niceties - how to introduce yourself, what to ask for as an aperitif, how to address someone, for instance which can suddenly reveal you as a parvenu. William Hanson gives us a quick trip through the essentials in a book which is very readable and - in places - hilariously funny.
To start with there are explanations of where the word 'etiquette' comes from and making small talk and good impressions when you meet people. I was fascinated to find out the originals of the handshake, and slightly embarrassed when I read the list of words which you should not use. Dinner parties are covered in some detail including the correct placement of cutlery. Pudding (no - it's not dessert) spoons and forks do not go at the top of the setting, by the way - and there's even a nice way of reminding a gentleman that he has not passed the port.
Eating is always something of a giveaway but Hanson tells us what to do - or not do - on a range of food from artichokes through to toast. You did know that you should break a piece off rather than slathering the whole slice with butter, didn't you? Good! After food the next major obstacle is clothing and there are hints (well, actually, they're a little stronger than that...) about what you should wear on various occasions. Do remember that 'brown' and 'town' might rhyme, but they should never be found together.
There's a foray into the pitfalls of social media but one senses that Hanson's instinctive advice would be don't. He's rather more at home on hatching, matching (I never knew that there were so many ways of getting a wedding invitation wrong) and dispatching, along with the joys of The Season. Crowning it all is advice on how to behave in the presence of royalty. You'll probably chuckle about the improbability of John Humphrys getting a knighthood - or even a luncheon invitation to the Palace.
It's not exhaustive: I still don't know how to address a bishop, but this probably doesn't matter too much given that my lifestyle and beliefs bring me into contact with only a small number (zero). It's also not something that's aimed at the bluffer - someone who wants to pull a fast one and pretend that they're something they're not. This is solid information that's going to stand you in good stead wherever you go and whomever you meet. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Now all I have to do is remember that it's a beaker of coffee which I'm currently enjoying...
Do you like chocolate? Have a look at The Bluffer's Guide to Chocolate. But we trust that you'll remember to break off a piece and eat it rather than chomping into a full bar.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette (Bluffer's Guides) by William Hanson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bluffer's Guide to Etiquette (Bluffer's Guides) by William Hanson at Amazon.com.
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