Thursday, July 10, 2008

wild...embrassade, to see the Queen

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Wild clematis if you like looking at it. Bindweed if your a gardener.

After more than 12 years away from the business scene, I note with interest how friends and acquaintences greet each other nowadays. At the Caterer & Hotelkeeper Awards dinner in London on Tuesday night, men and women , whereas a few years ago would have exchanged pecked kisses accompanied by the embarrassed "mew mew" sound, which has become an anglo-saxon attitude all of its own, have now developed a fulsome bear-hug greeting, accompanied often by tentative pats on the back. Men who might have been satisfied with a handshake now greet each with a similar hug, not unlike that practised by the gangsters in the Sopranos TV series.

A couple arrive on the London platform of Sevenoaks railway station. He is an army officer in dress uniform, (three pips on his shoulder). She is wearing a three-quarter length, mauve dress with a light flower pattern and white high heeled sandals. She holds a pale, violet hat in her hand. It being that time of year, they are almost certainly bound for one of the Queen's garden parties at Buckingham Palace. He poses, unsmiling, his hands behind his back. She snaps him with a compact camera and shows him the result on the screen. Now it's his turn to photograph her. I think to myself that she might well have spent days, probably weeks, thinking about what she would wear. While he has had only to shine his shoes and polish his brown leather belt. Though I expect it was she who pressed his uniform.


Anonymous said...

Interesting observations on greetings, which I think is happening here too, though I'm no expert. Then the last one on gender behaviour which reveals things haven't changed much!

Roderick Robinson said...

Being born in the West Riding didn't prepare me for the more florid social mores of the south-east when I moved to London. The dos and don'ts of social kissing were a nightmare. A nightmare that continued and darkened when I moved to the USA. There, you don't shake hands with a woman unless she first proffers her hand. But once introduced a hurricane of social kissing ensues. In the USA I read a lot.

By the way the fully-dressed officer was only a captain. The rank hardly justifies all that show.

Lucy said...

Umm, sorry, convolvulus. Wild clematis is old man's beard. It is a pretty flower though, I've always thought so.

I'm amazed at all this hugging going on, it probably is the Sopranos influence, that's how they all fancy themselves!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the correction, Lucy. Wild clematis of course has a smaller,altogether less impressive flower.

Social hugging could become a nightmare. One former hotelier was so effusive that he almost knocked me off my feet. A famous chef left me looking over his shoulder rather like the woman you sometimes see in the movies, who stares rather blankly at the camera, from which you are supposed to deduce that she in not in love with the person who is embracing her.