Why it's wiser to choose the peanuts
I owe a lot to the mile-long cheese straw I was offered at a recent trying-to-impress social event. It taught me a lot about how to socialise while simultaneously wielding something the length of a basketballer's trainer, the width of a champion texter's thumb, and as crumbly as the toenails on an octagenarian. (And as cheesy....)
These are the lessons I learned.
1. Don't point cheese straws at important people and say, 'Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet' just because it sounds funny to you.
2. Proffering a cheese straw when someone tries to shake hands with you and saying, 'Fingers this long don't half help when playing the piano' doesn't impress either.
3. Don't sneeze just after biting into a cheese straw; not all the stuff on the jacket of that man over there can be dandruff.
4. For every bite, only twenty per cent of the cheese straw goes in your mouth; the rest litters your cleavage so you look like you've got untreated chest psoriasis.
5. Waving a cheese straw around like a conductor's baton and saying, 'I'm playing Air Chopin' doesn't make anyone smile.
6. Dunking Bourbons into tea. Yes. Cheese straws into pink champagne at posh parties? Don't even think it.
7. You can't say to people you hardly know, 'Look, this cheese straw is too much for one. You start at that end and I'll start at this end and we'll see how long it takes 'till we're really friendly.'
8. Don't hide a cheese straw in a trouser pocket with a hole in it; it's hard to stand still for that long so it doesn't emerge from under your hem.
9. When Gene Kelly performed 'Singing in the Rain' swinging an umbrella at the end of his fingers, that was entertaining.
10. There is a correlation between your desperation to be rid of a cheese straw and the likelihood that it will grow back to its previous length each time you bite it, like a worm that refuses to die.
11. If someone is telling you a joke while you are eating your cheese straw, it might be best to delay your amusement. No one sees wet pastry in the eye as a good thing.
12. When it is time to leave, if you have not yet finished your cheese straw, bear in mind that although disposing of your wine dregs in a plant pot may go unnoticed, most people hold up their plants with green sticks from the garden centre.
Next time, I'll eat before I go out. There are some lessons one should only learn once.