A good friend of mine is attending a christening in England today. She panicked about the protocol at such an event and sent me a link from the expert etiquette guide, Debrett’s. She wrote, “According to Debrett’s, I have to ‘radiate effusive excitement‘ about the baby.” She sent the link 10 days ago, but now the link is dead! Did Debrett’s hear us laughing at them?! Did they scramble to remove the link before it could be further studied and mocked?
Too late. I found a newspaper article that quotes the old link extensively. If you ever need to know how to act at an English christening, look no further. Let’s highlight the best parts. From the (former) Debrett’s page:
Radiate effusive excitement and awestruck delight about the new baby. Greet its every burp and whimper with enthusiasm, gloss over its more unfortunate behaviour, exclaim over the beauty of its dress, shoes, shawl and compliment the parents extravagantly on the choice of name.” It is important you make the day as happy as possible for the parents because it is the last opportunity for them to revel in public approbation before reconciling themselves to the mundanity of a life spent changing nappies and mopping up sick, the Debrett’s guide says. “It is your job to defer reality for just one more day.”
Well, then. Full article here.
I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I was raised Jewish, and I’ve never been to a christening. But when the day comes, I’ll be ready to gloss over the more unfortunate behavior.