You can’t ask me that: Why is it rude and socially unacceptable to ask certain questions?

Screen Shot 2018-05-22 at 11.50.20Picture the scene. You’re at a party. You know no one but the host and they’ve had to rush to the kitchen to rescue some smoking vol-au-vents from the oven. You spot a friendly looking fellow guest, also on their own, and sidle over to make their acquaintance by the buffet table. You swap names. You compare notes on your respective journeys to the venue. You talk about the weather. Hasn’t it been strange this year? So far so good. Now what?

The host passes by with those vol-au-vents. You grab one and shove it in your mouth. And before you’ve entirely finished eating it you come out with the line, “So, what do you do?”

If this were the 1970s, the needle would skitter across the vinyl on the record player, bringing the music to an abrupt and ugly end. As it is, the entire room falls silent as everyone turns to stare.

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