Savoir Faire Consulting Service

The Holiday Season is fast approaching. Soon, life will be a whirlwind of dinner parties and fetes. We realize that we will be the main topic of discussion for many of our readers at these parties, and we’d like to do our best to help our reputations and yours. We’re proud to introduce to you today the new Bayard & Holmes Savoir Faire Consulting Service.

As a recovering boy from the hood and a bellydancing closet redneck, we are more than qualified to assist anyone, even the most long suffering Je N’ais Pas Faire victim, in developing the necessary social savvy and handy fake veneer of sophistication.

To help you determine precisely how much coaching you’ll need to maximize your social success while mingling with sophisticates during the holiday season, our intelligent, educated, worldly team of Savoir Faire Savants (us) have developed the following quiz.

A)   Which of the following sentences best reflects how you handle wardrobe issues?


  1. What sort of slob would go out without his white shirt and cufflinks?
  2.  I like cufflinks, but some of my white shirts have buttons.
  3. White shirts are ok, but a little color never killed anybody.
  4. I never go to a party without wearing my Hawaiian shirt.


You shopped for three days to find the perfect dress. The hostess compliments you on it when you walk in. Your response is . . . .

  1. This thing? I almost gave it to the maid, but I decided to wear it once first so that she would value it more.
  2. Why, thank you. You’re too kind.
  3. I almost fired my shopping assistant for bringing this thing home, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings so I wore it tonight.
  4. It fit perfectly into the pocket of my knock-off Louis Vuitton purse when I ducked into the fitting room. The eighty-year-old Walmart security guard didn’t stand a chance.

Choose the most accurate sentence that describes your attitude and behavior at an evening social event.

B)   When you’re seated at the table, you discover an abundance of silverware at each place setting. How do you react?

  1. You point out that they have forgotten to include an oyster fork.
  2. You confidently use the silver in order as each course is served.
  3. You cautiously wait to see which fork the host and hostess use when, and then you mimic them.
  4. I brought my switchblade. I don’t need their utensils.

C)   You receive a formal invitation stating that dinner will begin at 8:00 p.m. What do you do?

  1. You arrive at 8:40 p.m. with a re-gift of the same crystal bird statue the hostess had given you six months before. When she welcomes you, you tell her that you’re glad you could help improve her party with your presence.
  2. You arrive at 8:15 p.m. with a bottle of wine and flowers.
  3. You arrive at 7:45 with no wine or flowers and ignore the hostess while hovering over the oven, waiting for the hors d’oeuvres.
  4. You arrive empty-handed at 7:15, compliment the hostess on how great her ass looks in her dress, ask for the TV, and demand a cold one.

D)   The hostess’s very aged and not altogether coherent grandmother is attending the party in her wheelchair. She attempts a conversation with you but is having difficulty forming sentences. How do you respond?

  1. Mrs. Vanderbilt, I see you’re not on your medication. And why don’t they dress you properly any more? I’ll see if I can find someone to attend to you.
  2. It’s so good to see you. I always think of our last time together and how much fun we had. You’re looking great this evening.
  3. You quickly walk away; grab the elbow of the overly ambitious and not too attractive self-important flirter who had been regaling you with his tales of grandeur, whispering seductively into his ear, “Oh, Chauncey. I want to introduce you to one of the world’s most important business women.” Then you deposit Chauncey with Mrs. Vanderbilt and escape back to the party.
  4. You pretend to be her caring nurse and roll her outside behind the garage in her state of light dress and leave her shivering there pleading for mercy as you return to the party.

E)   A man in a dreadfully tailored tuxedo with the unpleasant odor of an unfashionable brand of gin on his breath arrives late to the party. While staring at your chest, he attempts to engage you in a plebian conversation concerning politics. How do you respond?

  1. You point him to the kitchen and tell him he is late for work.
  2. You excuse yourself with an urgent but polite tone and seek out conversation elsewhere.
  3. In a condescending tone, you ask him, “Is that really your tuxedo or did you steal it off a homeless man?”
  4. You whisper seductively, “Come closer,” and when he does, you deliver a hard blow to his head with a candlestick.
F)   You’re feeling sleepy. What do you do?
  1. You announce your departure to everyone with the explanation that you can’t stay late tonight because you’re expected at Buckingham Palace in the morning.
  2. You graciously thank your host and hostess for a lovely evening and quietly depart.
  3. You tell your host you’ve had a bit too much to drink, and ask him if he wouldn’t mind having his wife drive you home?
  4. You take the host’s 18-yr-old daughter to the guest bedroom and retire for the evening.

Now add up your score for your Savoir Faire Social Quotient.

1 = 1

2 = 2

3 = 3

4 = 4

Score of 5 or less – This is not the proper curriculum for you. You might consider some math tutoring.

Score of 6 – 9 – You’re an arrogant, insufferable snob. If anyone is still inviting you to parties at this point in your life, we advise that you decline those invitations. They are probably only inviting you in the hopes of drowning you in the pool as a source of amusement for the rest of the guests.

Score of 10 – 20 – You’re the sort of person who could most benefit from our Savoir Faire Consulting Service. Stick with us, and you’ll be at the top of the social list in no time.

Score of 21 – 24 – Not all the news is bad. For one thing, there is no need for you to attend the Bayard & Holmes Savoir Faire Consulting Service. You’ll almost never find yourself invited to a party, and if you did, it’s unlikely that the penitentiary where you are serving time would grant you a release to attend. Think of the money you’ll save by not having to upgrade your evening wear.

Now that you have your starting point pinned down, we here at Bayard & Holmes stand ready to assist you with all of your Savoir Faire dilemmas.

What was your score? What questions do you have this Holiday Season for our worldly Savoir Faire Savants (us)?

Piper Bayard–The Pale Writer of the Apocalypse

Holmes–Student of Sex, C4, and Hollow Points

21 comments on “Savoir Faire Consulting Service

  1. Tori Nelson says:

    Haha! This is brilliant 🙂

  2. I scored! Oh, wait…

    That’s a line for the day after the party.

    Twelve or thirteen (depending on how much dinner hardware the hostess has on the table).

    Woot! I’ll benefit from Savoir Faire Consulting Services. What should one wear to a holiday event billed as “Upscale Country Chic?” Is it acceptable to wear my hand-tooled belt with my name on the back to accessorize? I would, of course, replace the “Bubba” belt buckle because that cowboy and I no longer ride together. Infer away on that last sentence. I write romance. Shoot me.

    • J Holmes says:

      “Upscale country” screams overpriced chic brand blue jeans with some high fashion cowboy boots or heels to match a nice mohair sweater. Before taking my clothing advice seriously you might consider that my wife thinks it best that I wear whatever she selects whenever we attend a party. Piper might have to chime in on this one. Between the two of us she is the qualified shopper/dresser.

      On the other hand anyone that would describe their party that way is probably not likely to generate a lower numerical score than you and they likely use their hot garage as a wine cellar so don’t fret too much. I have a suspicion that they drink domestic brandy from two liter bottles when nobody is looking. Just go and have fun. If all else fails you can use your romance writer skills to enthrall the guests with fascinating stories about the hostess’ colorful history. You won’t get invited back again to her party but you’ll likely pick up tons of invitations from all the male guests.

  3. Ellie Ann says:

    This is hilarious!! But I have some questions for you:
    -what is that place called Wal-Mart that you mentioned?
    -don’t you know serving oysters is so last season?
    -why would anyone give a dress to their maid? It’s not like they have any days off…all they need is their uniform and that’s that.

    • J Holmes says:

      Don’t you try to out-snob ME young lady!

      Just joking. I’ll call Manila and see if they need a higher class replacement for Emelda Marcos. We’ll get back to you.

  4. Julie Glover says:

    I performed decently overall, but I look forward to your consultation. I do have a couple of questions:
    (1) What if you are a savvy party goer, but your spouse is a socially awkward corner-hugger? Will you continue to receive invites as a couple? How can you bring out your other half?
    (2) How much personal space should people give one another at a party? A few inches? A couple of feet? A football field length? How far away should you stand and sit while chatting with others?

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi Julie.
      1) Several strategies come to mind. You could teach him some circus tricks if he has the aptitude.

      You might wish to refer back to that 1 page owners manual that I gave to Piper shortly after she married her husband. We men try to not engage any of our psychological complexities too frequently. Appeal to his love of simple solutions.

      Suggest to him that you have a fantasy about him speaking briefly to everyone at the party and asking them each two polite questions that don’t concern work or politics and pretend to be interested in the answers. When he tries this whisper sweet nothings in his ear between his approaches to guests.Tell him that your fantasy concludes with you going home with him and engaging his every sexual whim followed by you cooking his favorite meal the next day. Remind him that before you met him the very idea of sex made you ill but that there’s just something about him that drives you wild and that you are glad that you found the one man on the planet that can turn you on. This second strategy involves pushing his three big red buttons, sex, ego, and food. If that doesn’t work take him to his doctor.

      Licensed marriage councilors (not us) would likely charge you thousands of dollars to bore you both to tears just to get you to eventually realize that you need to accept him as he is. On the other hand pushing his three buttons is hardly spousal abuse.

    • J Holmes says:

      Whoops. I forgot your second question Julie.

      With Americans start with lots of space and watch their body language as you get closer. We Americans like to know that we own our personal space (personal space as in anything between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans) and we share it at OUR discretion. You will each signal what distance you are comfortable with. If Nigel or other Brits or Germans are at the party start at two feet, remain at two feet and to avoid legal action don’t touch them. If there are any southern Europeans start with a hug and a kiss to each cheek and remember to hug them again at the end of the night. I love a party full of Spaniards or Italians. They are all giant hug fests filled with laughter and lacking in angst.

      If Silvio Berlusconi shows up at the party the safe minimum distance is thirty feet and you would want to maintain a firm grip on your revolver.

  5. Piper, I’m disgusted. I trusted you with my photos from last year’s Christmas celebrations and this is what you do with them. I punched most of the people in the first picture (before the Vodka affected my aim), I am the guy in the second picture, the guy in the third picture is my best friend, the guy in the fourth stole that shirt off my back, the woman in the fifth picture is still stalking me, and what Kelly the Knife is doing with a trombone in the last picture after we got busted I have no idea.

    Since you’ve blown my cover I’m going to have to renew my wardrobe. Thankfully Dollar Store is having a sale.


    PS the scoring system was a bit much, I ran out of fingers at nine (thanks to Kelly the Knife’s party trick that never works). What (printable) thing can your services do for me?

    PPS 😀

    • J Holmes says:

      You’re in luck today Nigel. There is a high demand for people to help upgrade a party with the sophistication of a “European presence.” With a little training from us and a story about how you lost your finger in a duel with Prince Charles and how that duel was the cause of his prosthetic ears we can get you lined up with some lovely parties.

      Remember, some of these folks are the sort that trusted Bernie Madoff with their cash so our training program could eventually improve your retirement scenarios. Switzerland is lovely this time of year.

      In your honor we are renaming that particular training module. We are calling it “My Fair Engineer”.

  6. Catie Rhodes says:

    Well, I knew the right answers…but I’m not sure I’d have done that. The other answers sounded so much more fun. Imagine the expressions on people’s faces. The holidays are such a busy time. Why not make a lasting impression? LOL

  7. educlaytion says:

    I prefer thrift store chic. Actually, I’m giving a talk tonight to some science society and asked if I had to wear a tie. I like dress slacks with oxford and rolled up sleeves. Maybe I’d like ties better if I ever bought a custom shirt that actually fit my neck, arms, and waist all at once. #tailorsnightmare

    • J Holmes says:

      Hi Clay. Indulge yourself a bit. Get a few nice white shirts made and buy a pair of cufflinks that you like.The cufflinks need not be of the classic basic plain gold variety. Even colorful and unusual cufflinks are acceptable as long as they aren’t too large and don’t require batteries.Get a few simple ties in dark blue, maroon, and perhaps a medium blue with a simple pattern of fleur de lacs or something similar. Stripped ties are OK but can be tricky.Think of all the ugly stripped ties you’ve seen philosophy professors and med school professors wearing. Play it safe and have your wife pick one up.

      In your case this would all amount to “plan B”. As a professor you get a fashion pass. Professors that show up to parties too well dressed are viewed by many with suspicion. As long as everyone at the party knows that you are an academic stalwart, they will expect you to speak intelligently (which I believe you do) and dress unfashionably.

      I haven’t used a white shirt or cufflinks since last Christmas season except to attend two weddings. Cufflinks are like pistols, you hope to not have to use them too often but you feel better knowing you have some nice ones.

  8. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    You two are soooooooo bad! And hilariously funny! I’m super impressed. Thanks for the laughs.

  9. You are hilarious! *wipes brow* So glad to know that I am not actually in need of your services because I don’t actually DO any of these things.

    Is it bad that I want to? Sometimes?

  10. malia says:

    13! guess i am in need of your help!

    • Piper Bayard says:

      Lol. Oh, no! I honestly find that hard to believe. Let me guess. It was the grandma question that sunk you, right? Just kidding. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Always a pleasure to see you.

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