Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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5 May, 1995

The Lady Felicia has returned from her visit to the hinterlands. One missed her kind, gentle influence at the morning breakfast table (one rarely saw her elsewhere). It is true our union has not been blessed with offspring, yet one does not see the necessity of allowing foul conjugal indelicacies to mar a marriage of true minds. One's nephew, Chauncey, thus will inherit Blandsdown, and the Grandiose name will be carried down the generations. Chauncey is a fine lad, and once he finishes sowing his wild oats and returns from his lark as a female impersonator (a respected position in the days of the Bard of Avon), one excepts him to marry well and produce the progeny that one would never attempt to breed oneself.

One thus remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Confused writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I'm confused. I've been reading this column for a few weeks now and I think I've figured it out, but I'm still not sure. . . . You're not the same Sir Charles as Charles Barkley, are you?

Confused at Caltech

Sir Charles replies:


One does not find reference to a Charles Barkley in Debrett's. One must thus conclude that you, sir, are an ignorant lump. However, as you claim to have been reading my advice for several weeks, there must exist in you an ounce (one does not adhere to that vulgar metric system) of sense.

The surname Grandiose has been passed down through countless generations of titled gentlemen. One can trace one's ancestor's to Charlemagne. One could have traced them further, but an extended inquiry of the sort gives one the vapors.

One knows one has many admirers in the colonies. One also knows that the thick tongues of our cousins across the pond can rarely traverse truly noble names such as Taliaferro (which is pronounced, with great dignity, as Tolliver), or Faquier (similarly pronounced as Folkyay), one will inform you that one's centuries-old and ever so exalted surname is pronounced, and always shall be pronounced, as Grahnyoozhuh. It is originally from the French, though through no personal fault of one's one.

Hoping you are thus enlightened, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Bridesmaid writes:

Dear Sir Charles:

Help! I'm in a bit of a sticky wicket (that's what you Brits say, wot?). I've been invited to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, see. Now, I don't mind doing it, seeing as Stefany (that's the bride) is my best friend (since high school), and groomsmen are all incredible hunks and I might get lucky afterwards (just kidding!). Anyway, Stefany picked out these incredibly ugly dresses--Sir Charles, I'm not exaggerating, they're purple with lime sherbet green bows and lace dyed to match, and they have these tremendous hoop skirts that pop over my head whenever I try to sit down (and believe me, I don't want anyone seeing my undies, if you know what I mean).

Anyway, I bought the dress. Now I'm having second thoughts about being a bridesmaid. How do I back out of it now? I thought about that limo ride we have to take to the reception (and believe me, I don't want to have to ride for twenty-five minutes to the Elks hall with my skirt over my head), and let's not even think about the dancing!

Bridesmaid in Boston

Sir Charles replies:


Indeed, let us not think of the dancing. One is left incredulous at the idea that there are apparently those out there who believe that one is interested in this sort of twaddle. But as one has a duty to bring enlightenment to the masses, one will so do.

If one might be frank, madame, the surest way out of the wedding is to indulge in a brief dalliance with the groom. You seem the sort of cheap jade who would agree to such a thing. When 'Stefany'--one will not render an opinion on the sloppy and utterly reprehensible spelling of the wench's name--discovers your misdeed, and she will, she will be outraged. The two of you will undoubtedly indulge in a brawling cat-fight (you are, after all, Americans) during which you will blacken each other's eyes, part ways, and never see each other again.

As I see it, the plan has two distinct advantages. First, you will not have to wear that loathsome costume. Second, the 'Stefany' and her groom will also part ways, and never produce offspring, thus sparing this world a piece of flotsam in the human gene pool who would have grown up eating 'Taco Bell' and ending as one of those 'juke-box' listening, billiards-playing, cigarette-smoking 'hepster' youths one hears of.

Warmed by the prospect of this outcome, one remains
Sir Charles Grandiose

Personal to Mourning in Montreal:


Of course your confidence is assured. One would never publish a reply to so heart-rending a letter publicly, especially when it involves the loss of a loved one.

One advises you, however, to awaken from your doze and inhale deeply from the elixir of roast coffee beans that rests upon the silver platter the servants have left by the four-poster. It was only a goldfish, madam. One repeats, a goldfish.

As you might find a replacement companion given away at a local petrol station, one advises you that it is unlikely your friends (assuming you do not refer to parakeets and the odd garden snail, but to actual sentient beings) will write letters of condolence. Do not expect them to.

Hoping you overcome your loss, though yet stunned one has spent even this much time on so laughably insignificant a problem, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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