Reading Time: 2 minutes

…in front of the prime minister

Andrew Ikeman | Fulcrum Staff

Illustration by Mathias MacPhee

Two weeks ago a travesty occured. Canadian pop-music persona and fan-girl muse Justin Bieber was awarded a Diamond Jubilee Medal. If that isn’t travesty enough, Bieber received the medal clad in a T-shirt, a backwards hat, and—worst of all—a pair of overalls. Bieber’s choice of clothing resulted in a lot of angry glares thrown his way—yes, more than usual—because nobody could quite understand why he was wearing such a ridiculous outfit to accept an award from our prime minister. Stephen Harper, himself decked out in a black suit, presented Bieber the medal at Scotiabank Place. I asked myself, “How can I help both Bieber and anyone else from making such a grave fashion faux pas in the future?” With that in mind, I present to you my top ways to not look like a tool in front of the prime minister:

Understand the context of your meeting

You don’t always have to look your best for the PM. Even the prime minister can’t always be expected to look ready for a spread in GQ magazine. If you’re meeting him on the campaign trail or he’s touring your place of employment for whatever reason, you’re good to go with your own classic uniform—it should be clean and presentable, but hopefully that goes with out saying. If you are to receive an award or have a meal with the prime minister, suit up. Extra points awarded for men who wear a bow tie.

Don’t wear stupid accessories

Hats, chains, tiaras, and any other type of bling should be left at home when in the presence of the PM. He does try to be in touch with the latest fashions, but the bling just may blind him, and a hat is straight up disrespectful. If you happen upon the PM while wearing a hat, it’s polite to remove said hat. Think of it like a throwback to the past.

Go with the flow

If you are not a member of the media, chat with the PM about whatever inane topic he chooses. Bieber gets points here, as they chatted about playing ping pong while they had their photos snapped. During photo ops, the press often won’t care what is being said, and the chat will help to diffuse the awkwardness associated with posing for pictures. Don’t bring up anything controversial during an award presentation, because then you have an awkward few minutes of no talking and fake smiling.

Don’t do a duck face or a peace sign—unless asked

Yes, I know that President Barack Obama was photographed with Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney doing her now famous “not-impressed” face, but you shouldn’t assume the head of a country is willing to chuck up the deuces or throw gang signs. This is a head of state, not the bros at a club. Smile, shake their hand, and avoid the duck face. Good lord, please avoid the duck face.