Courtesy call

May 23, 2010

Travelling with my family in the car can be traumatising because of our differing taste in music. I insist on listening to alternative rock, my brother to rap and my mother to Indian music. The argument over who controls the CD player can get very heated. Shouldn’t I be the one who gets to listen to what he wants since I am the most passionate about music? Music lover

While you may have the better taste in music (unless your mother only listens to Asha Bhosle or soundtracks from Dev Anand movies, for whom I have a particular soft spot), age before everything else comes into effect here. I suggest you use the opportunity to let your mother serve as a guide to a bygone melodious era. If she only listens to jhankar Bollywood fare, I suggest you buy your own car, or noise cancellation ear plugs.
Is it ever appropriate to choose convenience over etiquette? I often go out for dinner with girls and since neither of us can drive or own cars, we always take a cab. On our way back home I feel like the correct thing to do is to drop the girl home first but often my place is closer to the restaurant than hers. I am not a great believer in the ‘women and children first’ doctrine so I don’t think my behaviour is all that bad. Or is it? Wannabe knight

Since this is essentially an etiquette column, and one in which — humour me — I want to preserve some form of chivalry without forsaking feminism, I beseech you to ensure your female friends are safely escorted home.
Not being a sports fan, I hosted a dinner party that turned out to clash with an important cricket match. Thankfully most of my friends showed up, but a lot of them expected me to have made arrangements for them to watch the match. I didn’t want my dinner to be ruined by the segregation of cricket fanatics and those of us who don’t care so I refused. Was this rude and thoughtless? Sports hater

This is a no brainer. The host almost always triumphs. If a guest is unable to attend, s/he politely declines. If a host chooses to make provisions for guests during an important match, that is his/her discretion. It must be respected, not ridiculed, most certainly not attacked.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2010.