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Slothykins at Home: A Slothy Lesson in Table Decorum

by wolfofthewoods


Also by stal0s

THE QUAINT HOME OF SLOTH--Sit down, my friends, and welcome to the long-anticipated article series: “Slothykins at Home.” Later in the season, we’ll be discussing the fine art of crepe-paper crafts, the super-stay-at-home-mom hairstyle, and we’ll even venture into cooking lessons. Now, Neopians, let us submerge in my very first issue: A Very Slothy Lesson in Table Decorum. You’ll spend an allotted amount of time here in the presence of yours truly (breathe in the homemaking vibes of my aroma while you can, denizens of Neopia).

As the title states, I’ll be teaching you wannabe-Sloths just how to properly arrange your table for dinner, and, but-of-course, how to behave yourself; everything that everyone needs to know. We’ll begin with a matter of much importance: table setting.

Now, you may think that you know all there is to know about placing the right utensils in the correct spot. But are you sure? I don’t think you are. But some brain-zapping can cure everything if you do know too much. Hmm.. Right. We’ll… Continue.

Firstly, tie a neat bow in the back of your apron (you don’t want to stain your dinner dress before you’ve even begun to eat!), and dig around the linen closet for a table-cloth. Keep in mind that lighter and brighter colours are recommended for summer weather. You’ll also require adequate placemats (be sure that they match your tablecloth).

Iron your cloth before you even think of setting it atop the table (the creases! Oh, dear COLTZAN, the CREASES!)—think of the children! Do you want them to learn to set the table with a folded cover? I think not! Check that your tablecloth is centered both width and lengthwise on the table, and proceed to lay down the placemats above the seats. The chairs below should fit under the table with lots of legroom (enough for those rowdy, rich Grarrls, who spend their retired days eating lobster with butter sauce on their catered yachts), and they should never, never be pushed up against the table’s legs.

CENTERPIECES, darlings! Why, the variety makes my hair stick up ever more! Actually, I must apply some more gel… Anyways, centerpieces are defined by Slothster’s dictionary as being the “main attraction at dinner parties.” You can have flower arrangements, candelabras, fruit baskets! A romantic, single white candle in a brass holder! Now, I, myself, believe that freshly cut daffodils are the perfect touch to a woman’s display of food.

The flowers are in a vase on the table, the placemats and tablecloth are down, the chairs are tucked in… What now?, you ask? Why, the plates, of course! Choose something stylish—preferably pink, or a calming shade of blue to go with the daffodils. Make sure everything matches up. You can’t just have the placemats and tablecloth go together—each and every little item placed on your dinner table (or around it) must suit the others ideally. Sloth-green rug? Have everything set up to go well with your surroundings. Does your window look out on the marvelous Virtupets Station? Either get some classy drapes to assimilate the setting of the dining hall, or set it up as an elegant vista to upgrade the chicness of your guests’ eating experience.

Let’s continue this evening’s pursuits to the utensils. I’ll bring to the surface the well-known factoid that, when eating at a formal dinner, you must begin with the silverware that is the furthest from your plate, and gradually make your way in. For instance, if the place setting before you has five forks to the left, and five knives to the right, you’ll chow down on your Celestial Salad (or whatever your appetizer may be—Celestial Salad is actually a perfect selection, as it’s low in calories! Can’t let that ripped stomach dissolve—that would be a waste of plastic surgery, now wouldn’t it?) with the outmost pair.

When you’re eating fancily, forks must be to the left of your plate, and knives to the right (to this old Slothy, any other way is simply disturbing). However, there are a variety of other paraphernalia that will be placed around your plate, as well: the soup spoon, the oyster or shellfish fork, the backscratcher, etcetera. Soup spoons are always to the right, outside your array of knives, and an oyster or shellfish device-type-thing will be to the right of the spoon. This is because the shellfish is, customarily, served before the soup. But let’s get to the real head scratcher (literally, I suppose, if you want to go beyond the limits of the tool’s name): the very last, most important utensil… Can I get a drumroll here? No? Lazy, brainwashed minions… The aforementioned backscratcher. Of course, any respectable dinner party host will have employed some sort of lowly Neopet to scurry around and scratch those itches from your behinds. Don’t let yourself be the one warlord on the block who can’t afford backscratching cronies!

Now, moving right along, we will discuss one of the absolute most important pieces of this article. We've conversed about what all needs to go into making the table and food pleasant, but what about the dinner itself? The presentation has to be complete, so proper etiquette must be adhered to. Even evil warlords, such as myself, adhere to them. You don't see my minions with any nasty manners when I call them in for a victory dinner. Commander Garoo, even, is the most polite Blumaroo to have walked the face of Neopia.

First on the etiquette list is what to do when your guests arrive. Greet them at the door in your most humble and gracious attitude, even if you wish to really blast them into space particles. Receive their gifts (if they're polite guests, they will bring them) with even more graciousness. Just be sure to make note of who gives you what--you really do not want to give the same gift back to them at another time, do you? As well, be sure to take all coats, jackets, blasters, and swords up front. No uprisings or attempted assassinations take place at my dinners, and shouldn't at yours, either.

When it comes time to eat, be sure they all sit in their proper places. Oh the unimaginable CHAOS if seating arrangements aren't adhered to, just so. The horror, the horror! Why, just imagine the outcome of setting your Grundo minions next to the visiting Snow Beast! Also, you always want to make sure the Tax Beast is sat towards the end of the table (do you really want him pillaging your Evil Overlord fund? I think not.)

Be sure the other common courtesies are followed: napkins in the lap, no elbows on the table (Meercas, same go for your tails!), and none of that ghastly 'breaking wind' should be tolerated. Other points to watch for should include: no picking one's teeth with leftover bones (Grarrls, this means you...), waiting until after dinner is over before discussing anything involved with your job (yes, that does mean plans for world domination must wait).

When the visit is over and your guests begin to leave, be sure all proper belongings are returned. See them off with the utmost grace and dignity a polite host would have. Once more, resist any urges to turn them into piles of sludge on your doorstep. You can always do that at a later time and place.

And now, you all must travel to a different place—it’s time to say adieu. Neopia, I bid you good day. Do not forget what you’ve learned, and be sure to implement it in your next gathering or dinner party. Hurry through the door; you have five seconds until my plastered smile snaps back to normal, and that won’t be a pretty sight. I’ll see you next time, on Slothykins at Home! Perhaps I’ll teach you how to make Chicken Cordon Bleu?

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