The inspiration for this entry comes from a dinner party I attended a few weeks back. The people gathered were an eclectic bunch of artists, lawyers, designers and all the rest. Halfway through aperitifs, we were told that one of the guests was bringing her dog - the dog turned out to be a terribly nice middle-aged man whose name I won't mention in a public forum but he had a rather attractive stud collar with a silver ring on it. Now, I'm of the school 'easy-come-easy-go', but there is no amount of social etiquette classes and training that can prepare you for such an event. This is why I've decided to share my knowledge gleaned from this highly unusual, but infinitely inspirational dinner. Should you find yourselves in a similar situation, the following should help.
Try not to laugh - Although this sounds incredibly obvious, it is the hardest task you will have to complete all evening. You will see things that will make you squirm with embarrassment and send you spiralling through space and time to your schoolyard days. Even though humiliation is part of the raison d'être of the whole relationship, being outright rude is not.
Assumption - The relationship between mistress and 'dog' is not necessarily sexual - it is wrong to assume so.
Do not feed the animal - The 'dog', as all dogs are, is to be fed by his mistress alone and will usually feed from her scraps1. If you catch the 'dog' begging or eyeing up the food, tell the mistress - it is not your job to scold him. At the party above, the mistress was kind enough to give her dog a sip of champagne; when he held the glass and was offered a top up, he got a telling-off.
Do not speak to the animal - if you want to speak to the 'dog', you must ask permission from mistress. If you don't, the 'dog' will ask her for permission to answer. Most of the time, the mistress will answer for her pet.
Fetch! - If you want a pen, light, cigarette or more gravy, ask the 'dog'. This is the one time when you can speak directly to the pet without mistress's permission.
Supremacy - If mistress declares that she is the representative of Female Supremacy on Earth, do not laugh - you will regret it. This Researcher did...
Petting - Don't pet the 'dog' without express permission. This is the only way that the 'dog' knows that he has pleased his mistress; if everyone pets him, it'll lose some of its potency.
Keep your eyes peeled - Although the relationship is mistress and 'dog', the 'dog' is in fact a man and occupies space and positions that are not usual for a human for any length of time. You can expect the 'dog' to be squatting behind his mistress's chair or sat on the floor by the sofa.
House and home - Don't ask where the 'dog' lives, or at least be prepared for a shock. The guest at the party above paid a substantial amount of money each week to live in a kennel in the house of his mistress. Others live in cupboards under the stairs.
This entry, although written tongue in cheek, is meant to serve as a guide on the faux pas that are so easy to commit in such a social situation. The Researcher of this entry certainly learned a lot about the nature of relationships, the power of relationships and just how uncomplicated his own life really is.