A lot of people talked about getting the hell out of the U.S. of A in the most recent time of political turmoil, but Ben Franklin actually did. In 1776, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, he made the rough voyage across the Atlantic to forge ties with the crafty French and get a treaty signed the American way.

The French loved Ben Franklin. He was somewhat of a celebrity after the success of his lightning experiment, and he gained the kind of intellectual validation and sexual gratification (oh Ben and your insatiable eye for the ladies!) that Penn students only dream of.

Ben Franklin came back with everything he went for: a powerful ally, the promise of an independent nation and several illegitimate children. Why such success in France? Ben learned the basics of ever-classy, ever-important French table etiquette. Looking to climb the political (or sexual gratification) ladder? We pass to the left my friend.

1. Women can keep their forearms on the table while not eating; men, wrists only. And to think that France is accused of being anti-feminist.

2. The best policy in cutlery use is to start from the outside and work your way in.

3. Use salt, pepper and ketchup sparingly to avoid seeming like a tasteless American or implying that the host's food is bland, you ungrateful son of a bitch.

4. It's PC to ask the host for more water, but not wine. The French, as well as those with impeccable Euro manners, will get you drunk and take advantage of you of their own volition, not yours.

5. Eating well is a crucial cultural concept and an act of respect towards the host. So is being and staying thin. Navigate accordingly.

6. No pressure, but make interesting, controversial and fabulous conversation to stimulate and engage the whole table. Americans are generally thought to be indifferent, ill-informed and grossly Republican. and as true as that is, we are still just as worthy of intellectual validation as our forefather.


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