While the George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and its film and theatre musical derivative My Fair Lady had Professor Henry Higgins teaching common shop girl Eliza Doolittle the finer points of English and etiquette so NASA has apparently taken a leaf from his book.
While NASA is officially an agency of that classless society calling itself the United States of America. NASA reports staff and NASA's Langley research center are being encouraged to enrol in a course called "Outclass the Competition: Dine Like a Diplomat" which teaches them the finer points of manners while eating and speaking in social situations.
The etiquette class, which is run by a genteel lady from the southern states called Cheryl Cleghorn who holds the title NASA Langley's outreach and protocol coordinator, is designed to give staff the best chance of getting new business for the centre.
Tips from the "classy" class include:
- No using a mobile/cell phone at the table
- Pass the salt and pepper together
- Don't use your fork as a shovel (American style)
- Eat soup dipping your spoon out from the chin, rather than in
- Always hold a wine glass by the stem
- Never eat from someone else's plate
- Never order a doggie bag
Of course Presidents and Prime Ministers do not always show such good table manners themselves. Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, showing his "man of the people" credentials usually used a mug to drink his tea with and not a china cup and saucer as a true gentlemen would. Worse, he famously once publicly eschewed using a spoon and lifted his bowl up to drink his soup. Mind you this not-so-gentlemanly author also does this latter one - but only in private and with the curtains shut.