June 10, 2011 9:19 pm

Lady Gaga and the gagging girl

Would performing ‘Born This Way’ at my 60th birthday be undignified? Only if you don’t wrap yourself in frozen steak

Sir David Tang, founder of ICorrect, globetrotter, and the man about too many towns to mention, divides his time between homes in Hong Kong, mainland China and London. Here he invites readers’ queries for his advice on property, interiors, etiquette at home (wherever you live), parties and anything else that may be bothering you.

I am a man aged 64, with white hair and slightly arthritic knees. When travelling on London Underground trains and buses, I am sometimes offered a seat by younger people, often in their thirties or forties. While I greatly appreciate their kindness, I fear that by accepting their offer I am marking myself down as an old codger. What do you think I should do?

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Think “mind over matter”, and overcome your arthritis for a few moments, and try to perform a pole-dance on one of the aluminium poles, preferably wrapping yourself upside down round it or at least sticking your leg out at a perpendicular angle. For a further show of strength, grab hold of a couple of the triangular handholders across the top bar and lift yourself up and even half-somersault round to curl up in the air like a flying shrimp. These gymnastic moves will send a fairly clear message to the presumptuous young that they “ain’t seen nothing yet”, and that you do not require the sacrifice of their posterior. To perfect the whole exercise, make sure you keep silent at all times, and merely signal the slightest twitch of one of your eyes with which to round off your nonchalance.

I am a humungous fan of Lady Gaga and am keen to perform one of her songs at my upcoming birthday in October. Do you think that an all-in-one black PVC bodysuit and a mimed version of Born This Way might be rather undignified? It will be my 60th birthday and I am female but have always been a bit of a show-off and do look young for my age. Do you know Lady Gaga?

My daughter threw up on Lady Gaga the other night at Annabel’s while seated at her table, which was just feet away from her performing at a piano. Irritatingly, the trajectory missed the Lady by inches, because I would have loved to have seen the true measure of this living legend. If she thought it was rather funny she would have demonstrated that she really related to hopeless people, as she continually claims she does. But if she lost her cool, then she would be just another charlatan, too precious about herself and hypocritical about embracing sick people. As for yourself, Gaga is only now worth imitating if you were to wrap the whole of the Angus Steakhouse chain’s frozen stock round your body and heave like Boadicea in a trance. Anything less would be undignified!

If your service in a restaurant includes paper napkins, do you lay it on your lap like you do with cloth ones?

A “napkin” that is made of paper is not a napkin but a piece of tissue, for which the correct predicate is “wipe” and not “lay”. So now you can be clear about what you can do with it.

I take issue with your May 14 advice to the man (European Jew) regarding his wife’s (Chinese) career path. You stressed that being second-class or number two reeks of mediocrity. Does it occur to you that she may be focused on being number one in her child’s life? It is difficult to be number one in every aspect of one’s life. Your competitive nature appears to compel you to be on top in all respects.

I always travel with me, and you should do the same. In Cyril Connolly’s The Unquiet Grave, the first line imparts the pearl of wisdom that “... the true function of a writer is to produce a masterpiece and that no other task is of any consequence ...” Connolly was a very clever man and I am convinced that he is right that everything is pointless unless it is “wow”. He was obviously clever because as Britain’s second-ugliest man, he managed to marry one of Britain’s most beautiful women, Barbara Skelton, once a mistress of King Farouk of Egypt.

E-mail questions to david.tang@ft.com

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