The Big Issue : Edition 486
THE BIG ISSUE 12 – 25 JUNE 2015 13 a teddy bear or similar. This will create less discomfort for your party than me and the inevitable misfortunes disgorged from my big mouth. An associate recently asked me to dine at his place and would not listen to my elaborate warnings. “Don’t be silly,” he said. “You’ll be great!” This has never been true. Years ago I managed to muster social mediocrity when I attended a dinner party medicated by cold-and-flu tablets, and found that this slowed my speech and willingness to argue down to a manageable pace. I have considered reprising this chemical behaviour, but I am generally of the view that drugs should be used only for fun and medication, and never to help one endure things you could otherwise easily avoid. So. Off I reluctantly crawl in a state of sobriety to an occasion held by a work associate that involved asparagus and a nearly new dinner service. It started well enough, with all participants agreeing on certain basic points: the Prime Minister is an idiot, the budget deficit is overplayed, cats are better than dogs. Then the youngish woman with whom I had suspected, largely on the basis of her haircut, I would eventually be tempted to disagree started talking. To cut a long and possibly familiar story short, she said women on television and in magazines should be more various in their shapes and sizes. To my credit, I let her and her blunt fringe flap about this matter for a full 45 seconds before the person you should never invite to dinner ruined dinner. She said it was the responsibility of The Media to see all women as beautiful. I said the only responsibility of The Media was to profit and as such, it was in the business of making us all feel as though we lacked value, such as beauty, so that we would buy it. I suggested smashing the television or at least only watching it when something good like Breaking Bad was on, and she asked me why I didn’t feel like it was every woman’s right to feel beautiful. I may have said that expecting The Media to make us feel beautiful was as deluded as hoping that Goldman Sachs would make us all rich, and I may have also said that if her idea of rights extended to feeling pretty, then maybe she’d like to call the UN and ask that they put ‘The Right to Feel Super Hot’ in the Universal Declaration up there with the right to free assembly and to live without torture. And she may have said that feeling un-beautiful was torture and then I may have used some Family un-Friendly language and started freestyling a Gettysburg Address on how four score and seven years ago, our foremothers threw themselves in front of horses for the right to be on the cover of Cosmo. Anyhow. Dessert was not much fun, which is a shame as I really like a coulis. If you are similarly fond of fruit reductions, do not invite me and those disagreeable sorts of my ilk to your next event. “Off I reluctantly crawl in a state of sobriety to an occasion held by a work associate that involved asparagus and a nearly new dinner service.” RAZER How to Win Friends... PHOTOGRAPHSBYJAMESBRAUND IT IS ALWAYS a great shock to me when I am invited to social occasions. That any human adult with a functional memory could suppose that I might add to group conversation is beyond my ken. And before the more positive reader interprets this as the result of low self-esteem, please be assured that I have an ego the size of a waxing moon. I may love myself sick, but my rational mind knows this is not a passion easily shared by others. I am, in fact, a real pain in the rear of the social. Let this serve as a warning: even if you have a nice new dinner service and its full display can only be justified by another guest and no one is available but me, stop! Set up a cardboard cut-out you have swiped from the movie theatre or » Helen Razer (@HelenRazer) is a personal trainer specialising in tact, etiquette and deportment.