Mess Etiquette (again)

Discussion in 'Officers' started by bigpod, Dec 2, 2010.

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  1. I am going to my first Mess function this W/E. I was already feeeling a little out of my depth, but now find I will be on the CO's table. I have read plenty of threads regarding basic mess Etiquette, but as Salvation Army Officers my wife and I don't drink; how do we deal with toasts, port, etc.
  2. msr

    msr LE

    Use water. No offence will be either intended or taken. Except by those who do not matter.

  3. Top answer. It's intended to be a pleasure, not an ordeal, and those on the table with you will do their best to make it so. Look forward to it rather than dreading it, and you'll enjoy yourselves.
  4. Sticking my nose round the door...

    As a guest, it's incumbent on all Mess members to do their utmost to help you feel comfortable. Raise any issues with your host (different messes have different rules, so an ARRSE reply may not be appropriate).

    The response that you can toast with water is correct, but doesn't address any sense of discomfort that you may feel having a clearly (sorry about that) different drink to the rest of the herd. A quiet word to your host and you could be served fruit juice in lieu of alcohol, Ribena instead of port, for example. Most things are possible provided that you give notice. Don't be shy, the intention is that you enjoy yourself.

    ...sneaks back out, hoping that nobody will notice...
  5. msr

    msr LE

    More important that you have something in the glass to toast with than what you have in the glass. PIMH is quite right, but if you feel a bit uncomfortable, water will be provided on the table and there will be a number of others who won't be drinking either.

  6. Just to reinforce what msr and Donny have rightly said, Queen's Regulations for the Army specifically say that officers are permitted to drink the Sovereign's health in non-alcoholic beverage. This is typically repeated in regimental Mess rules, but still applies if it is not. Anyone suggesting otherwise would themselves be committing a huge faux pas.
  7. a point of interest for the a Salvation Army officer, you equate to a commissioned officer? Never the less, mess etiquette should be observed at all times for guests. sorry if spelling is bad....too many pims!!
  8. Yes, I am officially/legally a Major, not just equivalent rank although of course it's not a Queens Commission, so I am not saluted, etc. I pay mess subs as a Major. However, as I only ever achieved the rank of Signalman 30 years ago, I still find being in the mess daunting.
  9. Don't find the Mess daunting: if social illiterates like myself can get in then anyone can!

    As stated earlier in other posts: no problem with you being teetotal. As you are clearly an old fart (based on your declaration of being a flaggie some 30 years ago), then the children (Lts and below) will leave you alone/tread carefully around you unless they really want to attract the attention of their CO or the PMC (with resultant fines of Port/Champagne or a visit to the Adjutants office the next morning to find out how many weekends they've lost).

    Depending on your Mess, things may get a bit boisterous after people have risen from the table. Traditionally the junior captains and Lts will gather at one of the table and drink any Port/Madeira/Brandy left over and then (depending on the evening's entertainment) dance like spastics (sorry, un-PC comment. I meant Scopies) to whatever 1980's music is played / grab something and play rugby with it /stand in the bar and drink until they fall over. There will enough grown-ups around to keep you and your lady entertained.
  10. udipur

    udipur LE Book Reviewer

    Appreciate your concerns but remember you are a newcomer with moderate rank so the PMC should be able to set you right if you have any questions - find out who he/she is before and ask for specific rules. You will also be able to square away the ribena/juice option so there won't be any awkwardness on the evening.

    In terms of toasts, I would also check whether your mess is excused the loyal toast. Like others have mentioned, different rules for different messes.
  11. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    All of the above, go and enjoy it. Functions like this are only an ordeal for the very youngest red-arses at the raggy end of the table, and that's only the case because the 'old hands' (ie, been in for 2 years) sitting next to them do their best to make it so in an eternal merry-go-round of excess.
  12. Prior to vacating the table stand on your chair and give a rousing, hand clapping rendition of Onward Christian Soldiers. This will help to ensure that you are included in any after dinner conversation.
  13. I had them singing that at a Battery Service the other day. The last time I sung a solo was a couple of years ago at the Remembrance Service; nobody joined in, so the next day the whole Regiment was put on CO's PT for the day.

    Thanks for the advice everyone.
  14. As a civvie member of a Mess the whole etiquette thing is quite new to me but I use water for toasts purely because I can't stand port! No-one's batted an eyelid so far so I wouldn't worry too much about it.
  15. So, Bigpod - how was it and did you have a good time?