I’m a fan of manners. Not a stickler, definitely, yet still erring more on the side of Debretts than Danny Dyer. Pleases, thank yous and a general sense of consideration for other people’s feelings do, I find, go a long way. And it grates - in varying degrees - when other people don’t afford me the same basic courtesy.
Given events, The Writer and I recently decided something of an impromptu celebration was in order. We ordered up on the booze, knocked together a few canapés and opened our doors to the people who would be able to make engagement drinks at our flat with some 72 hours’ notice.
Most people were delight personified. We were overwhelmed with kindness, cards that are still running the length of the bar in the kitchen, presents galore and more booze than we thought we could shake a stick at (spoiler: we can apparently shake a pretty thorough stick).
The night was brilliant - full of fun, friends, shrieking, fizz, people trying on the ring, laughter, more fizz, a small dog, more fizz and a late night round of Cards Against Humanity.
But there was just one thing that left a disappointingly sour taste.
About two thirds of the way through the night, I went to the loo to pee and touch up my eyeliner to find crystalline white powder all over the back of the cistern, and along the seat. I rolled my eyes, dusted it off and hoped for the best.
Then, on repeated trips, I found it again, laid along the length of the shelf in front of the mirror and then, clearly in a fit of decadent, wanton abandon and want of a bigger surface area, all over the end of the bath.
I’m not naive. A lot of our friends are bright young things in London’s politics and media scenes: recreational diversions at parties is not what you’d call unheard of. Hell, those of particularly long blog-reading memory will vividly remember the ex with the rather serious habit. It’s not something that’s new to me.
And yet, it remains something I deeply, deeply dislike; it’s never something that’s become acceptable, and the discovery riled in a way that few other things could.
If other people feel the need to take the stuff - at parties, in bars, at work, on a Tuesday lunchtime - that’s their lookout. But I don’t do it myself, I don’t like it and I really don’t like that other people would do it in my home, at a party to celebrate my engagement, and then, as if that’s not all deeply rude enough, not bother to clean up after themselves.
Manners cost nothing. But coke all over someone’s bathroom can come at the cost of a friendship.