December 11, 2000
One's faithful readers (and one has it upon an authority who cannot be disputed that one's readers are so many in number that were each a chad, the resultant confetti could be used to enliven any number of New Year's Eve celebrations in New York's famed Times Square) know that for the last six years one has provided a weekly service: a penetrating and stimulating look at the foibles and follies of the human race. A philosophy so stunning in its simplicity that all cannot help but be struck still by it. A guidebook, as it were, to the very Destiny of Mankind.
And even better, one has plugged away at it for six years without recompense. Does one make a profit from the site? Indeed not. Does one receive any royalties other than the grateful sighs and murmurs of an adoring audience? Nay. Has one been bought yet for millions of pounds by the AOL/Time Warner Conglomerate or been offered a book contract? No. But one is still hopeful.
It is because of this tireless devotion to producing quality content without a crass concern for maximizing one's profit that one investigated the possibility of sainthood. But then one discovered that apparently one has to be Roman Catholic for it. As one cannot abide the thought of the Popemobile, one had to settle for accepting banner ads to accompany this particular edition of Advice from Sir Charles Grandiose.
"But oh!" one hears one's readers cry. "They're so ugly! They're so declasse!" Therefore one has accepted only the most tasteful of ads for this edition. Barely perceptible, they'll be. And if one's readers chose to support one's advertisers, one would be most grateful.
Still looking into that sainthood thing, one remains,
Dear Sir Charles,
Some of the nearby landed gentry are celebrating the holiday with a wine and cheese gala. As the servants will be given their yearly night off, guests have been enticed to "help out." I have been assigned as master of the cheese board.
Since I am newly titled and, I hate to admit, newly rich (thanks to an assortment of elderly, albeit wealthy, relatives who finally succumbed to various ailments), I do not wish to appear gauche in public. How would you cut the cheese when numerous neighbors are standing nearby and eagerly awaiting the fruits of your labors?
I shouldn't want them to turn up their noses at my efforts. Surely this situation has presented itself to you before, has it not?
Social Neophyte in Newcastle
Sir Charles replies:
A delicate situation, indeed. For who among us would care to be shunned from future social gatherings for the vile and obvious way one cut the cheese?
None of us care to be associated with such a low task, my boy. A little misdirection is all it takes. Whilst standing next to the tray of stiltons, look off in another direction, or point to an oil painting on a distant wall. While the others follow your gaze, lean slightly to the left, and cut one. A few slices of limburger later, and you've stunk up the place.
Wishing one a merry gathering, one remains,
Needs to Know writes:
Dear Sir Charles,
Therein lies my problem: from the placement of these dainties, it is often difficult to determine whose nuts are whose. Does one let one's fingers stray to those on the left or those on the right? One does not know. If one finds that one has grabbed the nut of the gentleman next to one, how ought one to handle it? Or if the lady adjacent claims one's nuts for her own purposes and refuses to release them, what ought one to do or say?
Tell me, Sir Charles, how do you handle problems with your nuts at social functions?
Sir Charles replies:
Ah! How the holiday season always brings out the culinary questions.
When it comes to the question of nuts, it's every man for himself, one fears. If a lady suddenly grabs your nuts during the soup course, softly yet firmly slap her fingers until she lets them fall. If a man slyly seizes your nuts, hoping to pop them into his mouth, call attention to his error and suggest he desist.
On the other hand, if one finds oneself fondling another man's nuts in an accidental manner, a brief apology will suffice. Occasionally a gentleman may wish to share his nut with a lady friend. In order not to arouse jealous feelings among the other guests, this delicate intercourse may be postponed until the cheese course, or during the after-dinner cigars.
Ever so glad to have been of assistance, one remains,
Lady Saddleback writes:
Dear Lady Felicia,
I cannot say I agree, I think every woman should have the
right to ride, whether at a gallop or a canter (every girl prefers
their own pace), and though a man can certainly help, he's not
all that necessary once she starts the run. I'm not quite
sure why my darling makes this such a problem, as we are both
accomplished in the field, and he never complained about my handling
of the reins before the engagement!
The Lady Felicia replies:
Dear Lady Saddleback,
A husband's first duty in marriage is to consider his wife's pleasure in all things. If you like to ride, then he should indulge you in this. Surely he will not argue with the beneficial effects of such healthful exercise - a lithe and graceful helpmeet with a bloom in her cheeks. In marriage, so many women and their fancies are crushed by their husband's heavy-handedness. This sort of repression is one of the gravest dangers to connubial bliss and very often leads to peevishness of nature which is a joy to no one. Do not let this happen to you.
I do think though that you discount the man's usefulness a bit. Yes, it's true, once you have started your run, you should need no one's assistance. The lady who rides well, has a good seat, and a stout heart, can jump multiple hedges without a helping hand. However, a gentleman can be useful when it comes to opening and closing gates. If you ask most sweetly and don't seem to expect it. Best wishes for your married happiness and may you continue to post with much dexterity.
Serenely, one remains,