Diplomatic Dinner

Mar 25, 2009

On Wednesday Big Roo calls me from work to share news that we (or he and me by default) were invited to a diplomatic dinner on Sunday night. Well it was dinner hosted by Australian diplomats. He wanted to know if I thought it would be possible to arrange for babysitting that evening for Little Roo.

I asked the Pennsylvania's (our neighbors who are from Pennsylvania), to babysit. She said yes and we had the green light to attend.

Arranging babysitting was the easy part. I had so many more questions, from how do I address the hosts and their guests to what do I wear and what do we bring?

When I think of diplomats on international postings, I think glamorous parties, jewels, furs (I am not going to judge), private chefs, domestic staff, secrets and intrigues. As it turned out I was not entirely wrong…....

Big Roo is a Defense (Defence, if you are Australian) consultant and the dinner was being attended by industry folk. Being in Defense they all have titles, which poses the question, how do I address everybody? By their rank, their first name or shall I just channel Zsa Zsa Garbor and call everybody Darh-ling!

Big Roo was not very forthcoming with helpful details, but lucky for me there is a plethora of online protocol manuals for just this very occasion! My personal favorite"Protocol for the Modern Diplomat" Prepared by the Transition Center, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC and of course the ultimate in etiquette bibles (or so I am told) "Emily Posts Favorite Party and Dining Tips" by Peggy Post.

I had four days to study up and ponder the BIG diplomatic issues of our time: How do I dress for the occasion? What do we bring? How do I address the hosts and guests? I will leave the other BIG diplomatic issues of terrorism and free trade agreements to another week (hopefully I will be able to find a suitable manual on those topics as well).