These days, when ‘Ting Ting!’ rings out across the dining room or restaurant, jaws tighten and minds whir. It is, in these torrid times, likely to signal the worst kind of group activity: ‘Let’s go around the table and say how we feel about…’ Could be a birthday girl, a mother-to-be, a recently published author or a newly engaged couple. In political hotbeds like Martha’s Vineyard it might be ‘how we feel about the next political candidate’, or in spiritual-power-billionaire hubs like Ibiza it might be ‘why we are so grateful for this magical gathering of friends’. But this is NOT OK says Tatler magazine and we couldn’t agree more. Here are the reasons why says Tatler:
It is anti-conversation. We are virtually completely virtual anyway – so when we can look each other in the eye, we desperately need to practise normal (amusing, even) human interaction. Dinners are not public-speaking practice; they are human-being practice. Let’s not get even worse at being human. And humane.
It kills off any fledgling romance. Too. Much. Pressure. Meeting people is hard enough. The ‘Ting Ting!’ bleeds into the rest of the evening. If people suspect it is coming, then the whole occasion becomes chatter masking inner rehearsal. And afterwards everyone feels weird. Not fun. Not happy. Weird. Major, irreversible vibe kill.
Hosts and hostesses who do this (power hostesses are the guiltiest, because they are big on forced fun): your dinners are the talk of the town. In a bad way. If you sense a ‘Ting Ting!’ in the ether, you either daren’t get drunk, or you get nervous-smashed. Less than ideal.
‘Ting Ting!’ casts absolutely everyone in their worst light, be that smug, bigoted, idiotic, overly sentimental or show-iffy. It is undemocratic, dictatorial, controlling and – crucially – profoundly un-fun. The dinner-party equivalent of’ ‘Would you like to share that with the rest of the class?’
Let’s pull together on this and simply say no to the ‘Ting Ting!’. Effective immediately.