What Not to Wear; OK, What Not to Do!

The guy I was chatting with repeatedly picked his nose. It was not only disgusting — and messy — but distracting. This was not transpiring in the privacy of his home, but at a very public singles event. The conversation was the typical, banal talk guys have with each other while scoping out the environment.

This was a relatively intimate party with no more than 40 people in someone's home, sponsored by a Jewish agency's singles division.

On top of grossing me out and boring me, I was cognizant that this guy was also likely to convey an image that I did not necessary need to be tainted by. I politely closed out the conversation and moved on. And I certainly did not shake hands with him.

How do you carry on a conversation with someone who's more intent on excavating his nasal cavity and rubbing it with a dirty tissue than a conversation? If I knew the answer to that question, I would be able to solve a lot of problems.

A run-of-the mill singles event is not steeped in the pomp and circumstance of a debutant cotillion, a senior prom or even a Bar Mitzvah. However, in some social settings, especially the pressure-cooker of singles events, there are things to do and things not to do.

I do not pretend to be the arbiter of taste or etiquette, just an adherent to common sense. Surely, most normal people would not want to be seen picking their noses at a singles event.

Here's a List
Is it now time for an official "Out of the Gutter" "Do's" and "Do Not's" list for singles events, like TV Guide's "Cheers and Jeers," or Ebert and that other guy's thumbs-up for movies? Maybe Martha Stewart will one day dedicate an episode of her show to the topic.

There's plenty of other behavior that should be avoided when it comes to singles events. Here's a little list of things to do and things to not do at singles events. Believe it or not, I have seen most of these faux pas in action, live in the flesh at singles events, dances and social mixers.

· Do say that you're looking for the right person. Don't tell the person you're chatting with that nobody at the event is good enough for you.

· Do make sure you look presentable. Don't carry on a conversation while picking a snotty booger from your nose.

· Do ask for someone's phone number if you had a nice conversation and want to continue it later. Don't proceed around the table to every member of the opposite sex, asking for phone numbers.

· Do have a snack if food is present. Don't overload your plate and get into an argument over who took the last carrot stick.

· Do allude to previous relationships. Don't give a detailed roster of everyone you ever dated or worse go off on a rant about how your ex-fiance physically and mentally abused you before being institutionalized.

· Do politely scan the room while conversing with someone. Don't totally ignore the person you are talking with until someone more attractive walks by.

· Do have a beverage at or before the event, maybe to loosen up a bit. Don't get sloppy drunk so your speech is slurred, you are incoherent and throw up in a stairway.

· Do carry on a conversation at a reasonable distance from the other person. Don't get in the face of the person you're talking with so he/she is so close they can tell what you had for lunch.

· Do enjoy holiday parties, such as Purim or Halloween, where wearing a costume is not only fun but encouraged. Don'twear the same costume to Shabbat services.

· Do engage in witty banter. Don't tell offensive jokes to a stranger with no sense of humor.

· Dotell people about your workplace or home life. Don't ask a total stranger to represent you in far-reaching litigation against a former employer along with former doctors and local, state and federal government authorities who conspired to break into your house so they could poison you and your dog, then steal your car, house and money.

· Do exchange information, such as telephone numbers or business cards with interesting people you would like to know better. Don't give out phony numbers to unsuspecting innocent people.

· Do make eye contact. Don't stare at a woman's breasts.

· Dopay a compliment if it's warranted. Don't use raunchy pick-up lines like, "Nice dress, betcha it would look good on my floor tomorrow morning" or "You know what would look good on you? … Me."

· Doattend an event with a friend or friends. Don't use your friends as an excuse not to talk with anyone else, even if the other people there do not meet your ideal.

·Do attend and participate in social events with an athletic or competitive bent. Don't pretend as if the fate of the free world rests on your performance at the sporting or charity poker event.

· Do try to enjoy your next singles event. Don't be disappointed at the end.

Roy S. Gutterman is a Syracuse, New York-based writer. To contact him, visit: www.Lrev.com.



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