February 19, 2006

Pass the butter, won't you?

Many available vertical surfaces in my part of town have been recently plastered with fluorescent green posters advertising the Godel Institute of something or the other and personality development. They have courses that can teach you:

  • Language/Communication Skills
  • Development of Poise/Elegance
  • Voice Delivery -- 5 different ways
  • Self Confidence
  • Importance of Personal Hygiene

    and, very crucially,

  • Presenting oneself/Handshake & Smile.

    Now I don't know about you, but I'm simply longing to meet a graduate from this Institute. I expect her to smile incessantly yet elegantly at me while nattering confidently in five different voices about how personally hygienic she is. And just to prove it, she will stick her hand out to shake mine and ever-so-subtly have me notice that there ain't no dirt under those fingernails.

    Anyway, the Hindustan Times tells me that Godel is part of a boom industry: etiquette classes. ("Manners matter", February 18 2006).

    For example, a fetching lady whose handshake I just know must be poised, a Chaya Momaya, conducts etiquette and grooming classes for clients in the age bracket of "12 to 67". (Whoops! I'm out). Very narrow bracket, you think? Fear not, there's Pria Warrick, who has classes for clients "as young as six." (Forget that karate or dance class for your little tyke). Shital Kakar Mehra focuses on CEOs who might be "highly qualified", but "struggle at business lunches as they lack certain skills." (Like what skills? Eating?)

    There are plenty of valuable lessons to be learned from these people. Some are sprinkled through the HT article. A sample:

  • While dining, pick up the napkin only after all are seated
  • Cell phone users should avoid displaying anger in public
  • Differentiating a teaspoon from an iced teaspoon ("an intimidating task", we're told; clearly you're not permitted to simply check which one is cold)

    and my personal favourite:

  • Once you are done slapping the butter, fold the empty foils in half and place them under the bread plate.

    Yes, but as you slap the butter, are you allowed to say, sternly, "Naughty butter! Very bad butter!"?

    Anonymous said...

    Uff! This really made me laugh. *shakes in his chair*

    Shobana said...

    :)like your sense of humor.

    Anonymous said...

    Eminently funny! Thank you.

    Anonymous said...


    I would be interested why a western handshake would be so desireable? Is the "Namaste" going out of fashion now?

    Dilip D'Souza said...

    Helmi, I think the handshake is becoming desirable now because that way, you can quietly pass on some of the mess on your hands from slapping the butter. If you had to do a Namaste, you'd simply be transferring it from one hand to the other.

    Glad to be of help.