Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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December 27, 1996

As an especial end-of-the-year treat, one had ordered one's minions (both of them) to prepare a special multi-medium, full-graphical, hyper-tax rich virtual tour of one's vast and historical collection of spittoons, complete with full-motion video, em-pegs, and middy blouses or middy sound or something of that sort. One pays no attention to the technical details.

After one's minions worked upon the project for nigh on three months, they presented one with the only copy of this glorious heritage of tobacco juice on so called 'floopy disks,' which one immediately handed off to one's secretary for the necessary confibrulation or whatever it is he does with his spare time. Unfortunately for Dame Posterity, the idiot lad mistook the floopy disks as small table mats, set them on a phonograph speaker, and put his glass of chocolate milk atop them while playing those undoubtedly Satanic rock-and-roll ABBA albums. Ruined. Ruined! The floopy disks were both demagnetized and stained with brown rings. (The sop-for-brains has a tendency to dribble.)

Thus yet again, one is forced to use one's year-end column to present some of one's favourite letters of the past months. One hopes one's readers (who, one has it upon the greatest of authority, are so many in number that were one to order them all birthday hampers from Harrods--though one warns one's expectant readers that one is not That Sort Of Baronet--the establishment would have to hire all of the town of Weston-Super-Mare alone to keep up with the packing) derives some amusement from them.

One sighs. The spittoons would have been ever so much better.

One remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: The Leisure Arts of the Idle and Witless

Chester writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

The school dance is just around the corner and yet I have no one to share it with. I am a very lonely person. I have a crush on this girl and yet she does not notice me. There is also this other girl who gave me a shirt from Structure and a stupid rose, but she is the ugliest girl I ever seen but I don't know how to tell her to back off and leave me alone. Please, Sir Charles, I need a lot of help!

Desperate Chester

Sir Charles replies:


Indeed, the correspondent does need no small amount of help. Preferably of the sort administered by licensed mental health practitioners. However, one was wondering if the correspondent could answer a question, for you see, one has never before met a chap with Mexican jumping beans for brains: Do they rattle, in a high wind?

Succinct, as ever, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: She Has Not Mastered the Curling Iron

Bad Hair Year! writes:

Dear Penelope:

I never should have trusted Mummy or Mr. Raphael. Now I have the absolute worst perm in town. What do I do?

Bad Hair Year!

Young Penelope Windsor-Smythe replies:

Gentle Reader,

How one sympathizes with you! There is nothing more terrifying than an afternoon's hairdressing gone awry, especially when one has functions that very evening to attend. One notes, however, that you mentioned certain words of import, namely, Mummy, Mr Raphael and trusted. One advocates employing this basic vocabulary to your advantage--with the resulting funds banked a la Suisse.

Alternatively, one recommends a sensible hat with a wide brim.

Anxious as to the result, one remains,
Penelope Windsor-Smythe

Picture: The Eating Habits of the Heathenish

An English Country Lady writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

What is the proper manner in which a finely-bred gentlewoman might eat the 'spaghetti'?

Deferring to your advice,
An English Country Lady

Sir Charles replies:


Ah, the spaghetti. An unseemly viand, created by garlicky Continentals especially so that, by vulgar, sensual slurpings and sucking motions of their wet, pursed lips, they might the better make an ostentatious, greasy display of their untrimmed mustachios. And one is referring to foreign devourers of the female s-x! One shudders to think how a well-bred Englishwoman would react upon encountering an unconscionably long limp foreign noodle brandished by a swarthy foreign man!

The unmanageable strands of this dish are simply too exotic and worldly for more civilised digestions. One encourages one's female readers (the clamouring throng they are--and no, one does not give out locks of one's hair to them) to ingest the spaghetti's less unfortunate cousin, the macaroni. For it is a certainty that the English gentlewoman is more certainly more accustomed to a stubby, unexciting noodle.

Ever glad to render one's advice, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Two of the So-Called 'Lipstick Lebanese'.

Unmanned writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

A question of a delicate nature, one which your well-travelled and world-wise family may have an answer for.

We live in a very fine neighbourhood, and we find that our new neighbours are causing a small buzz in the community. They are two ladies, in their early middle years. One is a botanical librarian at the Kew Gardens, and the other a physical education instructor at one of our finest Ladies' Colleges. They keep mostly to themselves, and we have yet to see any gentlemen call on their home. When they go out, it is always together.

Could they be Lebanese?

Unmanned in Manswell Gardens

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Mental Defective,

Ah, one knows exactly of the sort of woman you speak. One's dear maiden aunt was also of the type. Fond of horses and Radclyffe Hall. Yet blatant ignorance disgusts one infinitely more than these lady neighbours could ever disturb one's correspondent. They are not 'Lebanese.' Gracious, no! 'Lebanese' is a descriptive term reserved for dark-skinned, spice-imbued foreigners who indulge in the vicious and wicked practice of sun-bathing. The correspondent's neighbours are thespians. Make not this mistake again!

Shortly, one remains,
Sir Charles

Picture: I Just Had Them Done, Do You Like Them?

Taloned writes:

Dear Lady Felicia:

What is the maximum length one should keep her fingernails?


The Lady Felicia replies:

Dear madam,

At one's finishing college for the frightfully high-born, a thorough knowledge of personal grooming was drilled into our well-coiffed heads until it became second nature. Any well-bred woman knows, therefore, that if one's manicure shows white nails wider than the platinum band on the salad plate of Royal Worchestershire's Empress Devan china pattern, one is 'letting oneself go.'

Serenely inspecting one's perfect manicure,
Lady Felicia Grandiose

Picture: It Does Not Occur in One's Own Set

Would-Be writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

I'm having some problems with mastication. I can't seem to generate enough spit to make it comfortable enough to masticate three times a day, much less between meals. Should I see a doctor?

Would-be Masticator in Tossings, NY

Sir Charles replies:


A doctor? Three times a day and between meals, and the correspondent wonders if he should see a doctor? One believes a visit to a priest might be more in order.

Brusquely, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Postscript: Confidentially, it is not at all true what they say about the hair on the palms. And one's eyesight is still sharp enough to discern imitation Wedgewood from a distance of forty paces, so the correspondent need not worry on that account, either.

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