Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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August 21, 2000

"Say, Sir Charles," say one's determinedly casual readers (and in the event that one has not mentioned it previously, one has it upon the greatest of authorities that one's legion of admirers is so numerous that were each one of them to lace their neighbour's tea with just a pinch of potassium cyanide, the authors of Population Bomb would have nothing to write a sequel about), "You're not the only snooty advice columnist on the block, you know."

Picture: Mr. Gouphous and Sir GallantDisregarding a certain adjective in that last advisory, one replies that one's readers may be correct. There is a certain other journalatrix . . . one has referred to her previously as 'Miss Born In A Barn,' though her professional nom de plume is much shorter . . . who claims to dispense the same sort of advice that one does, on a regular basis. But one will refer to her only as 'Miss M-----s.' Her lawyers are quite formidable, you know. Why, it is as if they did not recognize that one's little suggestion, last time, that one's readers all send her a slightly putrid sardine through the mails, was a little joke on one's part! (Though one was gratified at the response. Why, the story of the fumigation even made it into the London papers!)

But one is forbidden, by an 'injunction' one received in the post this week, to do such things as to come within fifty yards of the woman, to engage her telephone, to generously order her the American delicacy known as an 'anchovy pizza' through a delivery service, or to slander her by recounting one's personal memories of the summer she spent at Blandsdown as a gauche child amongst her betters. As one would never, ever, ever, want one's readers to find themselves dunned at every turn by greedy solicitors anxious for reparations for 'psychic damage' to a woman who has already foisted her books upon an unwitting and rapacious audience, one presents an object lesson with one's willing puppets, Mr. Gouphous, and Sir Gallant. We have made their acquaintance before, of course. Let us observe how they handle the woman.

Psychic damage, indeed. One had no idea the woman was clairvoyant.

Mr. Gouphous and Sir Gallant Meet Miss M-----s: A Cautionary Tale

Picture: Two of a KindFirst, Mr. Gouphous encounters the self-styled expert upon etiquette.

Mr. Gouphous: Oy there. Ain't ye famous? Let me 'ave yer autograph.
Miss M.: Why certainly, I would be glad to mingle with the middle class likes of you. Let me retrieve my ostentatious and vulgar gold-plated Bic pen. . . .
Mr. Gouphous: Yer a pretty filly, I dare say. But tell me, what's your opinion on bowls?
Miss M.: Why, I go bowling myself every Friday night.
Mr. Gouphous: What about the 'baccy chewing? Me wife says it's common.
Miss M.: Spit away, my friend. Why, I enjoy a good plug myself, when I am writing my over-distributed flummery and gloating at the misfortunes of my arch-rival Sir Charles Grandiose.
Mr. Gouphous: Oy, I'm too illiterate to understand 'im, but you I find I can read all right.
Miss M.: Did I mention that I'm President of the No Knickers for Ladies Wednesday Afternoon Club?


Picture: Miss M. Meets Her MatchOne finds oneself shuddering at that (completely fictional, yet entirely possible, one must point out) particular scenario. Let us refresh our souls with a more refined encounter.

Sir Gallant: Good afternoon, Madam. Excuse one while one measures fifty yards between us.
Miss M.: Oh, Sir Gallant. Don't you know that injunction was just my way of getting your attention?
Sir Gallant: But how interesting. One, two, three, four. . . .
Miss M.: Sir Gallant . . . may I call you Gally-boy?
Sir Gallant: Indeed not!
Miss M.: I thought we could make amends between us . . . a weekend in a quiet hotel in jolly Weston-Super-Mare . . .
Sir Gallant: I am a baronet, and a man of connections, Madam. I do not indulge in 'dirty weekends' with tarts of dubious background. Perhaps if you were to tell me your real purpose in throwing yourself so fixedly upon me, we could terminate this conversation as quickly as possible.
Miss M. (in hysterics): All right! All right! You caught me out! I've forgotten the differences between spoons in a full silver service. I could never keep these things straight! Please, please, Sir Char . . . er, Sir Gallant, aid me in my time of distress!

We note with pleasure however, that Sir Gallant walks off and leaves the female columnist in a quivering heap. And one must follow in his steps, for one must attend to the usual weekly stack of mail.

Wondering why one receives so many unsolicited posts from psychiatrists offering expert assistance, one remains, as ever,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Watch Out From Above!

Randolph writes:

Dearest Waddles,

Although it has been years since I have seen you, my school chum, I know, as I have always known, that you are the gentleman to inquire of if one has a problem, as I do now. I fondly recall those days when you did hasten to advise one in matters of my impish youth. I do hope that you do not still blame yourself for that bit of poor guidance which did land me in Mistress Leonie's classroom for the remainder of the school year, polishing her blackboard and other sundry chores. It was not any fault of yours, dear friend. The advice was indeed sound, and, as I hold no grudge against you, I come to you again in my hour of need.

As you may or may not have heard, I did fortune myself to wed the lovely Priscilla Fathmore. Although our life has been near bliss since our consummation, one's eyes do tend to wander as it were. Such has been the case with me. Upon a journey to the 'Big Apple,' as the Colonists call it, I did chance to espy a fine pair of high powered binoculars. Now over the years, I have developed myself into quite the avid watcher of our fine feathered friends. Living in Vermont has increased my interest in the hobby as I have more spare time and even more species of birds on my hands. Hence I did purchase said binoculars and returned to the chalet with them.

My troubles, they did begin when I, upon spotting an odd species of cross bill, did quickly retrieve my new prize and scan the horizon. To my surprise, I did not find the cross bill, but instead, a fine pair of Great White Boobies.

Upon further scrutiny, I was shocked to see that these birds had, along with them in the yard, a female goddess who was bathing herself with the pure rays of the sun. At any rate, this American Athena, how she did cause my eyes to melt with lust. It took all of my willpower to pry my binoculars away from my peepers. The problem further mounted when I discovered that this woman--whom I shall call 'Pandora'--did come out every afternoon at the same time as the boobies.

For the moment, I have covered my tracks by telling my wife that I have been keeping watch over that pair of boobies, but I know in my heart of hearts that she will find out the deep dark truth after not too long. Whatever should I do? I have tried to distance myself from the situation, but I am drawn to Pandora like the proverbial moth to the flame. I write to you for consolation and aid in my sad situation.

Yours in spirit,
Randolph St. V------.


Sir Charles replies:

Old chum,

Though one is not an orthodontist (for those readers who have difficulties with words over three syllables, the meaning is 'bird-watcher') oneself, one can thoroughly understand why you would become excited over a fine young pair of Great White Boobies. They are quite rare in this particular region, though one hears they are more plentiful in the distant state of California.

But ah, Randolph, this woman. She may be entrancing. She may be lovely, this Pandora. But how badly do you want to open her box?

Best to forget the whole affair, Randolph, and the boobies as well. Next time, I suggest settling for nothing less than a Long-Necked Sapsucker.

Sympathetically, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Antsy writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I really need to get laid. You have no idea how desperate I am. Any suggestions?

Antsy in Alabama


Sir Charles replies:

My lad,

One understands the correspondent's gibbering anxiety, especially at this season of the year, when all is grey and dull. One needs a little excitement. One needs a bit of fun. There is an itch (purely metaphorical, of course) one must scratch. Eh?

But one cannot comprehend why the correspondent has not contacted his local travel booking agency and reserved for himself tickets to Hawaii. From what one understands, the natives of that quaint isle have armfuls of the flowery necklaces, and even place them about your neck the moment one steps from the aeroplane.

More of an admirer of coconuts, oneself, one nevertheless remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: In Vino Veritas

Tamara writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

My sister Gillian, who has moved from our little town of Tewiff-By-Sea to the south of France, has taken up with a (French) viticulturist who makes (French) wine and distributes it across the country (France). I fear that they will become engaged, and then my sister will be forced to stomp grapes for the rest of her life, like Gina Lollabrigida in those (Italian) films. It doesn't seem a very sanitary life. I haven't been able to drink the stuff myself since she moved. I keep thinking about her bunions.

What can I do to convince her to move back to our Tewiff-By-Sea? We have some very nice boys here. Some of them are even off the dole.

Thank you for your help,


Sir Charles replies:

My poor young lady,

These malapert Frenchies! How they lure away the young blooms of British soil with their wooing words and their waxed mustachios! One can only imagine the lurid seductions this wine-maker used to persuade the correspondent's sister into a life of sin and toil!

One can just envision him standing, at sunset, with young Gillian, her small dainty hands in his big warty paws, persuading her to reach down and grasp his large, pendulous grapes that hang beneath his vine. So tenderly. Lovingly, almost. With the application of firm, yet gentle pressure, he persuades her to coerces the plump orbs to release their juicy offerings. And how quickly and wickedly he follows up this depraved plucking by wantonly taking the girl on the pressing room floor!

Young Gillian must be saved, Madam. You must take the boat to France, bring her to her senses, and take her home to sweet Tewiff-By-Sea! Leave that vile garlicky Frenchman in his vineyards alone, to tug endlessly on his vine, and to touch his clusters with hands and his hands alone!

Wishing that vile seducer's grape would shrivel to raisins, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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