There once was a young man from Ghent,

So Belgian his ankles were dreamt

From pee-pee to pink

Creating a stink

Till Mother demanded the rent?

There is more to this poetry than some words on a screen - there really was a chap and his mother. She was in the business of demanding, naturally, but it is hard to say what and how much of it, as the suggested (simple) payment of rent suggests. Moreover, when interviewed the young man said that Ghent was simply a location, nothing more, especially not a meaningful metaphor for his youth (from piss-stained nappies to something pink, though we are unsure what exactly turned pink in his later years. There is something he represses) - like Manneken Pis and his costumes. He was a bit piqued by the comparison anyway: 'That little pisser with his smile. But he's not from Ghent, is he, and the poem doesn't mention him, does it, you idiot. And leave Mother out of this.' The only solution for this rhyming debacle is to invent the word 'emt'. It is a glorious word, a word of proportion and distinction, and it certainly requires a coupe of the best champagne. That could be the pink of the poem. Anyway, we start drinking.

A full analysis will be available next Wednesday when undoubtedly it is revealed that the shirts are pink, or at least when our tennis whites could have been in a wash with the most Recent Jupiler T-shirt. What could be a fashion 'faux-pas' is entirely different from the Tavistock conception of such delicacies. A sideboard of meats and cheeses, with an additional pile of soft fruits and dried nuts is required here as the gentleman of standing would expect, when wearing a shirt of pinkish hue. [This paragraph is nonsensical, with leaps of logic and terrible pseudo-montage. However, several of the above lines are deluded projections and rationalisation of future conduct - i.e. we did buy several shirts of said 'teint', but we are increasingly unsure as to their acceptability in society. Damn it all, we should have gone for the pink gin instead]. Amy Vanderbilt in her Book on Etiquette prescribes the shirt as a staple of civilised dress, although we have met a few gentlemen in state of undress who claimed to be decent (after we had knocked on their door). Anyway, what she knows is old hat we think, as champions always choose the quick exit, the route to comfort, without caring for shirts. What Amy V. knew is also utterly perverse (or 'cut-and-dried', if you insist), as she did not accommodate for any other men from Ghent who may have their buttonholes in order or their eyes glued to the horizon (it gives us at the least excellent posture). We continue sipping.

To finish off this poetry lesson, we were required to fill out a detailed questionnaire. We put together a packet with our atrocious curriculum vitae (by now a single word: 'pink'), dental records, series of photos over the years, family tree, financial records, etc, and the 15-page completed questionnaire, and handed it over to our inquisitive suitors for their perusal. As William Hazlitt wrote: "When other people have no manners, they have you at their mercy". Thoughtful manners approach morality. Lying, for instance, is shocking bad manners in regular society, apart from the aesthetics of it (when done stylishly, wearing moustaches and sucking a pipe, it's ok). To us, it's always been a deficiency though. So what if it's an honest person who screams at us? We will still flee her presence. Mocking and humiliation are not listed in the Ten Commandments after all. "Mistreat others as you wouldn't wish to be treated" is the essence of kind manners but an after-thought in Non-Commonwealth countries. Books of etiquette and behaviour are often considered shallow, unimportant, jejeune. We can't agree. Manners will maybe undo the odd man out ... but always all of womankind (Wainwright).

Final drink-up, it has been good. POW.

To be continued