Posted August 1st, 2012, 09:28 AM
Suppose you are at dinner in the MDR, it's formal night. The guy to your right is dressed 'correctly' tux, self-tied bow, patent pumps etc. etc. but he is an absolute pain in the orifice, loud, opinionated, offensive, vulgar, flashy, insert your own derogatory adjective. The guy on your left is clad in chinos, polo shirt, sandals but is interesting, erudite, intelligent, quiet and well mannered, a veritable paragon of a dining companion. He just hates dressing up, and the Maitre has become quite Nelsonian. Which one impacts on your enjoyment the most? And which one should be advised to choose another line in future.
PS. Sod's Law dictates that the guy you will bump into the most frequently and who you will hear everywhere you go will be passenger A.
That is a very interesting point of view Shiny, and I have a little anecdote to tell that, I think, reinforces your point.
On a westbound TA in 2010 on QM2 we dined at a table for eight. Also at that table were a couple from Canada. The gentleman wore a blazer and tie, with a pair of slacks and lace up shoes. So, according to the general tenor of the discussion on this thread, on each formal night he quite deliberately, and presumably knowingly after the first occasion, infringed the dress code. His wife wore an ordinary dress every night, different each time but nothing special and certainly not what I, even with my limited knowledge of ladies' fashion, would describe as "formal".
So, unless I have completely misread and misinterpreted much of what has been written on this thread, the majority opinion here would demand that he should have been denied entry to the Britannia dining room.
Well, let me add a little background detail – about the gentleman in particular. He was a Canadian citizen but had served in the British Army. The blazer that he wore was that of the 15/19th Kings Royal Hussars, the regiment in which he had enlisted as a trooper at the beginning of World War 2. He fought in the Battle of France during which time his regiment served as the Divisional Reconnaissance Regiment for 3rd Infantry Division. The regiment was badly cut up during the German advance in 1940 and the survivors, including my dinner companion, were evacuated over the beaches at Dunkirk. Following Dunkirk, while the regiment was in UK, he was commissioned into 15/19 Hussars as a 2nd Lieutenant. Later, in 1944, he returned to Europe as a Lieutenant in command of a tank troop. By now, his regiment was with 11th Armoured Division and he fought through France and into Germany taking part, inter alia, in the Ardennes offensive, the battle of Hochwald and the Rhine Crossing - he was in Germany when the war ended and he was demobilised and returned to Canada.
So, am I correct in thinking that, in spite of that background, the Maitre D' should have stopped him entering the dining room? In my opinion, for what it's worth, he should have dined at the Captain's table every night! But instead, he had to put up with me – for my own part, I felt honoured beyond imagining to share a table with him.