November 5, 2001
It is with a sense of dread that one sits down to one's cherrywood desk and takes up one's quill to pen this particular column, for one has a topic quite serious in nature that one must address. One's readers (and one has it upon a particularly reliable source that the number of that particular elite group is so enormous that were each a particularly juicy leech applied to Sarah Ferguson's rear end, the entire force of the combined sucking might be enough to enable to sit in a single airplane seat without oozing over into her neighbour's) know well that one has addressed Serious Issues in the past. But none is as serious as that which one takes to heart this very evening.
One speaks not of the polite manner to dispose of an anthrax-laden envelope. One does not mean to imply that one will discuss the legality before God and man of the so-called 'drive-through wedding window.' Nor will one discuss the mental breakdown of Miss Mariah Carey, a singer of some minor fame who went quite mad, poor girl, when one refused to be her 'boy toy.' No, these are mere trifles in comparison.
One would like to address the paucity of good manners during dinner conversation these days. Shocking, it is, to sit at a table in polite company and find one's gorge repeatedly rising at the casual topics of conversation that take place. Let one recount a conversation from a recent dinner to which one was invited. One sat horrified to hear the following exchange:
Need one even say that everything, everything was wrong? Naturally one sat there in a stony, freezing silence during this exchange, and one's readers doubtless can pinpoint exactly why.
No one--let one repeat firmly, no one--should ever bring up Kylie Minogue during dinner. One never knows where lurk sensibilities too delicate to handle the very mention of her name, particularly during the fish course.
Now. Never let one have to speak of this again.
For yet another fortnight, one remains,
Madame Fefe writes:
I LOVE YOUR ADVISE COLUMN SO VERYVERY MUCH ITS SO MUCH FUN!DO YOU WRITE FOR ANY OF THE NETWORKS OR MOVIE CO.YOU'RE SUCH A JOY TO READ.
YOUR DEVOTED FAN, MADAM FEFE
Sir Charles replies:
Let us reflect for a moment, all together, upon how very fortunate any motion picture or television production company would be, to have one upon their payrolls. Quiet, now. Close your eyes, and reflect upon it.
Now let us take just one more moment of silence to reflect upon the possibility that sometime in the future the lipstick-stained 'Bubble Yum' might come unstuck from your shift key, allowing the correspondent an opportunity to experience the freedom and joy of two cases of alphabetic forms, a total of fifty-two unique shapes altogether.
Ah. Wasn't that nice?
Nothing that this word processor is for hire, one remains,
Dear Sir Charles,
I've got a cool seven hundred shares of Intel and another block of Cisco that's I'm just itching to get rid of. But the market's so volatile these days.
What do you think? Should I pull out or stay in?
In a hurry,
Sir Charles replies:
Although many priests of the Roman Catholic church private advocate the 'rhythm' method, one thinks a man of means and his wife should really put his faith in more modern means of birth control.
The Lady Felicia and oneself, for example, employ a time-tested system of icy frigidity on her part, and a series of expensive mistresses on one's own. Works like a charm, my boy.
Your friend in mutual shares, one remains,
Lady Sarah writes:
Dear Lady Felicia,
I am writing, my lady, because I find myself in desperate need of your advice.
You see, my husband has been overseas with the navy for the past six months, and of late, after a girl's night out at a local club, the ending of which evening I do not recall, I have been feeling rather under the weather. At the urging of a friend, though since she is the one who talked me into trying those oddly named Purple Gecko drinks, I wonder if she is indeed a friend, I went to see my doctor.
The shocking news I received is that I am with child: a month along, now. What on earth do I tell my husband when he returns home next week?
The Lady Felicia replies:
How exciting it must be for you, my dear, to know that your dear husband will soon be home after so long an absence. After so much time with no one to amuse him save for a handful of salty seamen, think how thrilled he will be to have his lovely and fair wife greet him at the door wearing nothing save a darling apron, a blender full of Purple Geckos, and one of those plastic conveyances known as a straw? Why, my dear, I would be quite surprised if the poor fellow remembered anything of what followed the following morning.
And we know all about men, don't we dear. If they can't remember to put the loo lid down, how can they be expected to count to nine?
Serenely, one remains,