Race, class and birthday dinners..

In case you missed Anan’s post it was LV’s birthday this week. We went to a different part of the country and on the birthday night went to a very nice French restaurant.

The reason I mention this is a curious incident. There were three sets of diners; us, another older Anglo-American couple (I couldn’t grab the accent) and a group of 11 much older gentleman.

They were all white, WASPs (I hear them mention Italian and Jews) and in their 60’s. They were loud and interesting enough that we could overhear much of their conversation (country club Republican not a fan of Trump but decidedly pro-Kavanaugh).

As the evening wore on they became a bit more raucous (understandable for a group of 11) and they went on about hunting and the politics at their club (we were at corner ends apart and a column separated us so the fact that so much could be overhead is a testament to their volume).

Even the other couple were a bit weary of the crowd . However what happened next was an egregious breach of etiquette; the “chef” appeared and started dancing about the table. He engaged in general revelry and everyone at the restaurant was a bit surprised that the chef was so pally with this table.

It turned out it was one of the guest playacting on his way from the toilet. The reason this was such a faux pas is that this restaurant is very well-known for being a husband and wife team. The husband is the chef and the wife is front of the house.

It was by default a way to insult her husband since even though it was innocuous it just was not the done thing at such establishments.

I later mentioned to V that since my natural instincts are quite sympathetic to Waspy Republicans (I only moonlight on social media as a Social Justice Ghazi) I didn’t mind them to much.

However I imagine that if it had been a table of 11 Pakistani men up to the same antics I would have immediately been livid and ashamed of them “letting down our people.” I also suspect the matron would have done much the same even if it was a large table.

It’s always good to expose one’s own hypocrisies and biases and examine them. I suspect since I am on the periphery of Asianess and on the edge of white society; I’m always trying to knit two very different identities together, sometimes spectacularly sometimes abysmally.

It also goes to show that much as I feel British; I am very buttoned up in Britain. I always want to put my best foot forward (model minority syndrome) which is why I rag on the Mirpuris. When I am back home in South Asia I don’t need to *prove* my social status to anyone, it is simply assumed.

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