Magazine article The Spectator

Misleading Address

Magazine article The Spectator

Misleading Address

Article excerpt

ONE of the things that amuses me about bridge is that as soon as the game gets going we address the person we're playing with - no matter whether it's a spouse, a friend or a total stranger - as 'partner'. 'Thank you, partner,' we say when dummy goes down, or 'well done, partner,' when a contract is made. It's always struck me as quaintly formal.

But nowadays, away from the bridge table, it can also be seriously misleading. At last weekend's National Women's Teams tournament, held at the Hilton in Bromsgrove, one player found herself saying to a waitress at breakfast: 'I won't have coffee, but my partner (sitting next to her) will.' The waitress poured the coffee but looked decidedly embarrassed: clearly she wondered whether the whole event wasn't some great get-together of lesbians all determined to flaunt their sexual preferences. …

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