Etiquette of online dating
During the test, I unashamedly took my hand off the wheel to thank an articulated lorry for letting me out at a junction.
Well, according to examiner Paul (I have no idea if that was his name - it was something nondescript like that) I may as well have mounted the curb and run over a cat. Still, I'd rather fail and be polite than win and be rude. My toe was first dipped in the waters of etiquette before I had left school: I was asked to teach table manners to the younger years.
His family had asked for someone to show him around London whilst instilling courtesy, respect and traditional British values - such as self-respect, confidence without arrogance and a pathological consideration of other people's feelings.
Our base for the trip were the roomy penthouses at Claridge's and I toured the boy around the city, who for some bizarre reason took to calling me 'Euston' for the duration.
After a slow 'getting to know you' stroll through Regent's Park on day one and a tantrum to end all tantrums at Legoland the day after, we had both sussed each other's boundaries up.
I had free-reign as far as activities for his time in London; prime seats for big West End shows would be found with two hours notice if he suddenly wanted to go to the theatre, and we'd have VIP tours around safari parks and other amusements. So much so the child insisted I walk behind his incontinent pony during his riding lessons through Hyde Park.The Chinese have a keen thirst to understand how the west behave and how we think - sadly, many in this part of the world have such a backwards and arrogant view on life that they don't share reciprocal sentiments.If you're ever being interviewed by Chinese journalists be prepared to answer questions like 'what's your blood type' (I once answered blue, and am convinced the faithful reprinting of this is why I still get work there) and 'how much do you earn in a month?Being an etiquette coach is an actual job: despite what Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs annually tell me. If Donald Trump can be President and Paul Burrell can still get work, then there'll be no stopping me.A few years ago when travelling to New York for work, I was asked by a US border official what my profession was; after hearing my reply he asked whether I 'felt guilty when people pay you for that'. This summer marks my tenth anniversary of teaching and commentating about etiquette.