‘The man seen in left profile’, aka John Carr, gifts us some

Guidelines for Mature Gentlefolk
in a Post-Genteel Age

The sudden emergence of Zoom and similar group cyber platforms has revealed a certain amount of unseemly, not to say embarrassing, conduct by many untrained users of the technology. Sadly, the unfortunate, rather common social backgrounds of some participants have been cruelly revealed, exposing their better-bred fellows (and their fair lady-wives) to quite unpleasant sights and sounds. Some of us are becoming painfully vexed with this and we can only hope that Our Beloved Queen does not hear of these vulgar excesses. Or his Lordship, the Bishop!

We entreat all Zoomers to follow these few modest proposals for more moral dispositions and behavior:

  1. The Studio

Please ensure that the furnishings, appliances and objets d’art in view are comely and unlikely to cause concern to those of us of delicate constitution. Suggestive paintings should be removed from view, as should posters and banners promoting popular concerts, Bolshevik political parties and the like.

  1. Seating Position

Sit neither too close to, nor too far from, the little camera in your device. Too close and your distorted visage will frighten the servants, too far and no one will know who you are and will, perhaps, fear you are an interloper of uncertain breeding.

  1. Dress

Zoom events are, legally, public meetings, so one should prepare one’s appearance and dress accordingly. Avoid extreme coiffeurs and on no account wear large ostentatious pieces of jewellery. Decorations emitting their own light, flashing or otherwise, are strictly forbidden. Ensure that your upper body is fully covered, with offensive tattoos safely out of view. Clothing of the lower body, of course, is optional.

  1. Food

If the meeting is set for, say, 7.30 in the evening, your afternoon tea should be complete and your dinner still some time away. Do not bring wine glasses, chicken legs or Streets Drumsticks to the camera and this is not an appropriate time for the deployment of tooth-picks, however discreetly. Unconsumed post-tiffin coffee and cognac are acceptable, but good quality porcelain or crystal vessels are to be preferred. So-called ‘takeaways’ in disposable receptacles cannot be countenanced under any circumstances.

  1. Competition

It is essential that wandering relatives, friends and animals be prevented from coming into the purview of the meeting, though a small lapdog, if sufficiently sedated on a lady’s lap, may not elicit any untoward concern. However, remember that many people of delicate disposition are afraid of dogs and many are allergic to cats. Larger pets, such as dromedaries, anacondas, sloths and aardvarks are illegal indoors and we should therefore be spared their intrusion into well-bred social discourse. Relatives constitute a particular difficulty, as they can be rather difficult to control. Toddling children, in-laws and tipsy bachelor uncles are notorious scene stealers. But, above all, ensure that your nude spouse, partner, servant or au pair is kept locked up in the attic for the duration.


Photo by mari lezhava on Unsplash