A Tale of Two Dinners

Marking season has kept me from regular blogging, so let me give you a short anecdote while we wait for normal service to resume.

The year: 1997.

The place: Belfast.

The event: Political Studies Association annual conference dinner.

Your hero: a 24 year old man with long ginger hair. Note the long hair. I’m talking about a beautiful, glossy bob which was really something to behold from behind.

The dinner was a silver service affair, with different people bringing each part: one for potatoes/ vegetables and one for the big ticket item. I’m vegetarian and it was 1997, so I was already pretty excited to hear that the main event was a pie rather than veggie lasagne.

So, the first person comes round and says to me, ‘vegetables, madam?’ The person next to me and I chuckle about this and I get an extra potato because the silver server is a bit embarrassed and distracted by the handsome mug sporting what-they-thought-to-be a lady’s haircut.

Then the next person comes round: ‘vegetarian, madam?’ So, I say to the person next to me, ‘that’s twice it’s happened!’ I also put up two fingers to reinforce the immense twiceness of the situation. The silver server thinks that I am asking for two pies. No doubt, they would normally refuse, but since they think they’ve just offended me, they pop down two pies on my plate and get the hell out of there.

That is the story of how I got two dinners at the PSA Belfast conference in 1997.

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