art of good conversation eludes Indians
friend once advised my wife: 'never choose an end seat at
a party. If the lady next to you doesn't talk, you are finished.
At least if you are between two people, your chances for a
successful conversation are improved'. She wasn't assuring
an interesting conversation, just some conversation.
for one have become choosy about which parties I go to. Although
a lot of importance is attached by many hostesses to a lavish
spread, my first vote goes to the company. (Unfortunately
in family get-togethers there is nothing like choosing the
company or having an option to decide.).
ladies, the problem among men sometimes is not one of silence
but nonsense. Parties are meant for having a good time. Although
different people may look for different things when giving
or going to parties, most would agree that conversation is
an important aspect in all parties.
course food is around which it is centered and to some guests
food becomes the only aspect. It is said that when Calvin
Coolidge was Vice-President, he was invited to many dinners.
Always he was the despair of his hostess because of his utter
disregard of the art of conversation. One lady felt that she
had solved this problem by placing him next to a lady who
was known to be a brilliant conversationalist. After failing
to elicit any response from the silent Mr Coolidge, in exasperation
the lady acidly asked, "You go to so many dinners. They
must bore you a great deal." Calmly Coolidge replied
without lifting his eyes from the contemplation of the plate
before him, "Well, a man has to eat somewhere."
Another time a prominent Washington society woman was sitting
next to him at a smart party. "Oh, Mr President,"
she said gushingly, 'you are so silent. I made a bet today
that I could get more than two words out of you." "You
lose," the President replied. The problem is, not all
silent guests are that important or that witty.
reminds me of a recent party. As the ladies and men were sitting
in two separate groups, a few ladies wanted to join the men.
The hostess took the opportunity to request some of the men
to join the ladies. Only one rose to help the hostess in her
desperate effort to make the guests mingle. He walked confidently
towards the ladies and 10 minutes later walked back frustrated.
He was telling his wife, "I talked, passed compliments,
asked questions, told them jokes but couldn't get one word
out of them. I give up!"
course not all ladies are quiet and not all men want ladies
to talk. Dr Johnson, I am told, was one day in conversation
with a very talkative lady, of whom he appeared to take very
little notice. "Why, Doctor, I believe you prefer the
company of men to that of the ladies." "Madam,"
replied he, "I am very fond of the company of ladies;
I like their beauty, I like their delicacy, I like their vivacity,
and I like their silence."
don't always have to be stimulating and can't always be witty.
A significant part of some conversations involve describing
other conversations that we've had with mutual relatives or
friends or anyone. And it's fascinating to watch a story being
refined or altered or slanted through repeated tellings. Actually
according to one Francis Lockier "No one will ever shine
in conversation who thinks of saying fine things; to please,
one must say many things indifferent, and many very bad".
Some can be very amusing by narrating stories against themselves.
And for just returned vacationers the only aspect of their
travels that is guaranteed to hold an audience is disaster.
there are all sorts of people having diverse expectations,
and it is not possible to tell the hostess that your acceptance
will be based on who the other guests are, you might have
to respond based on your past experiences. Or resign like
Coolidge "A man has to eat somewhere"!