• How To Return To Polite Society

    by  •  • Etiquette

    So yes, it’s been a while.

    This is both a good thing and a bad thing. Bad because a societal hiatus of longer than four months and you start to hoard homemade marmalade and buy television show-themed ouija boards off the internet.

    But good because you get a chance for a do-over. One that you have planned for a long time… A long time.

    Here’s what I have learned.

    1. Sort Out Your Commute

    I could walk to work at Discovery Channel because it was -and still is- in the absolute ass end of fucking nowhere.

    Which is about twenty five minutes from my house.

    Now it’s around an hour and I have to use those old-timey metal machines that run along tracks inside tunnels underneath London.

    Points to consider:

    • Are you prepared to sacrifice speed for comfort? I don’t mind taking a longer route if it means I get to sit the whole way.
    • Experimentation is the only way to know for sure. The quickest way in for me is a bus/train combo that no one else in the world has thought of. I can beat East Londoners into my Barbican office but I only know that because I have now tried every single combination of public transport routes to get to and from my house. (Excluding ferries because they are expensive. But I looked into them. That’s my point.)
    • What are your priorities? I have a huge amount of unread books that I am positively raping through now that I have about an 80% chance of getting a seat both ways. So two hours of sitting and reading is absolute bliss… Even if it is with 1.2 million of my closest citizen friends.

    This is something you have to do every day. Be awesome at it.

    2. Quit Weekday Drinking

    At least temporarily.

    If you’re returning to polite society then you don’t get to spend the very late evenings scheming in your front room, drinking scotch and making repeated mental notes to buy new sweat pants tomorrow because these ones smell of scotch.

    What I am saying is you need to be organised.

    James and I are coming off the last five months of me living out my most Nigella of fantasies… We had full larders and amazing meals and a clean house and all that because I had the time for it.

    Last week the bottom of our food pyramid was the kebab store at our tube stop.

    No booze on weekdays. (Excluding important social events, world cup wins, world cup losses. Offer not valid on Fridays because in my head they are technically weekends.)

    3. Use Weekends For Washing Rather Than Sleeping

    Because you are now getting home later and eating dinner later and then going to bed earlier because you’re bored/sober and you need to get up at dawn.

    Also you’re not doing this like a good little frau during the week anymore because you’re at work.

    Point three falls under the broad category of “be organised”.

    4. Be Social

    I mean “internet social”, of course… Not “social social”. Otherwise how could you satisfy point 2? With that in mind, may I present to you three handsome gentlemen:

    All are Londoners or soon to be Londoners. (Josh will be with us soon because I’ve just tipped off some people he owes a whole lot of money to exactly where he’s hiding. Hint: It’s under a pile of coats.)

    5. Drink Tea

    Everything here appears to relate to point 2!

    But seriously, the trick to one day becoming Queen of England is to never turn down tea. Ever.

    • Be simple with your tea preferences. I just go black. (heeheehee.) Nobody likes a douchebag.
    • Don’t be a tea nerd. If you try and pick different tea aromas based on quality then people are going to think you watch old ladies in the shower.
    • Someone is always counting the rounds. This is why you can never turn down an offer of tea in the office. Because even if you say yes once then you are on the round.

    In the evenings you can be as douchey with your tea preferences as you like. I’m rocking this detox one at the moment because I get sick of coming home and drinking nothing but water like the common horse.


    Polite society has its rules. Rules that you oddly fantasize about while you live a carefree cooking/writing life.

    But… Like the Pirate Code… They’re really more like guidelines.

    The real trick to returning to polite society is to find a corner of it that is lovely, welcoming and just that little bit impolite.

    Here’s to you, new workmates!

    *Sips tea*

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