Staying over at a friend or relative's house is never as simple as staying at your own house. We all have our own set of house rules and expectations as to how a guest should behave. And we all have those special items that we'd rather our guests didn't touch.
So before you blow your social standing, here are nine things you should never touch at someone else's home:
I don't mean this in a creepy way (although, obviously that too) but when it comes to dishing out discipline, this is best left to the biological parents or legal guardians.
Suppose young Oscar or Matilda pour their parents' uber-expensive Bashkir honey all over the antique Berber. Let Mum or Dad deal with it, rather than giving them a smack yourself. Ever read The Slap? It can only end poorly for everyone.
Their eames chair
Yes, they are incredibly comfortable, but a real Eames chair and its ottoman will have set your hosts back almost $10,000. The last thing they want is for you to actually sit in it.
Best you think of the Eames chair as an over-priced sculptural piece, and squat on the floor instead.
Their underwear drawer
Well, this is just plain weird. Why the hell are you looking in your hosts' undies drawer? I mean, what do you hope to achieve by it? Do you want to know their clothing size? Perhaps you have a La Perla fetish? No. Just no.
Their feather duster
It's a Monday morning and the cleaners haven't shown up because the hosts forgot to leave the $100 on the kitchen bench for the past three months. Whatever you do, don't pick up the feather duster and start whisking around the home. Your hosts will be offended that you think their house is grubby.
Instead, mention your chronic asthma and start coughing and wheezing. They may take the hint and find an emergency cleaning crew.
Their fancy ice-cream
The only reason people buy pricey ice cream is to eat it themselves; that's why you'll always find the tub hidden in the freezer wedged beneath the McCain baby peas and frozen vegetable gyoza.
If you must sneak some, at least wait until late at night when the house is sleeping. That way you can blame their kids.
Their en suite
Most posh houses have heaps of bathrooms so this shouldn't be necessary, but if you find yourself busting and your hosts' own private en suite is the closest port, it's probably still best to avoid it.
The en suite is a veritable sanctuary, a sacred space filled with the kind of stuff you should never know about another human being. Which brings us to …
Their medicine cabinet
A real no-no and up there with the underwear drawer when it comes to "absolutely not". Cut your arm and bleeding to death? Too bad. That's no excuse to open a cabinet that might contain your hosts' private medication.
Their music streaming
Do they play Maria Callas from dawn to dusk? Too bad, you'll just have to put up with it. It is the height of rudeness to hijack someone's Spotify.
Your hosts might tell you to "feel right at home" but they don't mean it. They especially don't mean you should have free rein with their alcoholic beverages. Keep out of their cellar and keep your hands off the Grange and Clonakilla. Ditto, their 25-year-old Scotch.