Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

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January 4, 1998 And what in what better manner, dear Readers, to start the new year than with a review of the lessons we have learned in the last? There will be a quiz, so swot up on your manners, so that you may perhaps one day end up bearing a common resemblance to

Your weekly correspondent,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Alfred writes:

Picture: Oo, Mr WhippleDear Sir Charles,

I realize that you're probably not the kind of person to be asking about this sort of thing, considering your views on your sister-in-law's use of the Swami Ralph. But this is more of a love question, not about psychics.

I'm in love with this girl who channels the spirits of Native American Crones. That is, she goes into a trance and these words of wisdom just come pouring out. I've seen her do it! In person, twice, at Navajo rug/Tupperware parties.

Unfortunately I don't think she knows I'm alive. And I'm worried about all those Navajo crones. Would they be watching if we . . . you know. Kissed? How should I let her know I'm romantically interested? Please, please, I need your help before Valentine's Day. Should I try to hug her and whisper words of love in her ear?

Alfred Whipple,
Bethesda, Maryland

Sir Charles replies:

Mr Whipple,

For all our collective sakes: Please don't squeeze the shaman.

Sincerely, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Clarence writes:

Picture: Ah, The Sports of the Gay CommunityDear Sir Charles:

I am one of your faithful readers, who are so numerous that if (God forbid) you were to die suddenly in a car accident, the resulting Elton John "tribute CD" would stay atop the charts until the sun's death.

My question is this: my wife and I, being fond of the theatre, were planning to see one of the new plays that just opened downtown. However, upon informing the chauffeur of our plans, he took me aside and whispered that this particular theatre (which we have never attended before) is in the heart of the so-called "gay community".

What might this "gay community" be, Sir Charles? I am not all that familiar with the commoners' slang, and I am too embarrassed to ask the chauffeur. Naturally, we all feel somewhat happy, joyous, and gay from time to time -- but to stay in a constant state of gaiety seems a little undignified; unmanly, even. Is it some sort of St. Vitus' Dance that makes grown men prance about like fairies? Please tell us, Sir Charles; our chauffeur's warning sounded quite ominous, and I do hope it hasn't become unsafe for the gentry just to take in a bit of theatre.

J. Clarence Berkeley

Sir Charles replies:

Mr Berkeley,

Fear not. One's own nephew, Chauncey, has been a self-proclaimed member of the 'gay community' for years. And he is indeed quite a cheerful fellow, particularly during his amusing imitations of Miss Liza Milenni. Oh, the sparkle in his eyes as he sings her version of 'Cabaret'. One expects he will be every bit of the lively lad even after he settles down and marries a nice girl, to carry on the family name, eh?

Obviously, Mr Berkeley, you may be a bit unused to the dour tendencies of the servants to quash the gentry's impulse to have a bit of fun. Why, when one wishes a bit more of brandy, of an evening, what do they bring? Coffee. When one is looking for a bit of a pinch--you know what one means, one is sure--does one get it? No. One receives a slap. When one orders the car to go round to one's friend Chatsy's flat, where does the chauffeur take one? Straight home. It's a frustrating life, ofttimes, old chap.

So when your chauffeur expresses a bit of distress that you might have a gay old time in the heart of the city, cuff his ears and damn the consequences. Drive straight to the heart of that gay community, enjoy your theatre, and do be sure to stop by the Manhole Lounge to see a friend of the family, Miss Anita Manceau-Baddeley, who is currently performing in the show, "Guess What's Between My Legs?"

(One has already guessed. It is a pair of shapely ankles.)

Feeling somewhat gay himself, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Heathcliffe writes:

Picture: A Man Could Go Quite MadDear Sir Charles,

Me wife is one of your big fans who are, she vows, so numerous that were each to flush the loo at exactly the same time, the Thames and a goodly bit of the North Sea would be drained dry. Anyhow she wrote to you back in October about me 'abit of pinchin' 'er buns, and how she was cuttin' back on me pleasures. Of eatin', that is. D'ye recollect 'ow yer took my side in the matter?

Anyhow, I need yer help agin. The doc put me on a special diet, the mainstay of which is roasted chestnuts. Now those nuts aren't too bad when they come fresh outta the oven, but when they sit a bit and cool off, they're more than a man can take. Roasted chestnuts is naturally supposed to be hot. Me wife is so busy tendin' 'er buns and all that she neglects to warm me nuts. What can I do to get my nuts warmed proper?

Heathcliffe in Basingstoke  

Sir Charles replies:

My dear sir,

One has judged--and take no offense, for it is merely a surmise based upon the correspondent's execrable spelling, utter disregard of syntax, and insolent tone--that you are either of the lower classes, or that you are the Prince of Wales.

If the former, one suggests that the correspondent take the nuts firmly in hand, and then to slam them upon the table in order to crack their casings. Do not flinch. This step is essential. Then a short sojourn in a sizzling hot pan or, if you are a more 'modern' type, a minute or two in the 'microwave oven', and they will be piping hot.

If the latter, one suggests letting Camilla perform the slamming.

Ever so glad to share one's expertise in cookery, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Puffing writes:

Picture: A Breath Of Fresh AirDear Sir Charles:

I took up smoking when it was a genteel and sophisticated thing for ladies to do. However, the art of smoking has fallen from favor, yet I remain addicted. Ashtrays, once so abundant, have all but disappeared. Pray tell, Sir Charles, what is a proper young lady to do with her butt?

Discreetly Puffing

Sir Charles replies:

My dear girl,

We should all emulate the example of one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe. Not content to sit and regard her importance as (and has one mentioned this salient fact before?) eighty-fifth in line for the throne, the girl is an avid crusader against the burning and inhalation of tobacco. And yet she recognizes that for some poor souls it seems to be a necessity, and provides them with an outlet for their nasty habit.

At a recent reception for the Fishampton Rugby League, for example, she strode into the room, gave the burly muscular tobacco-addicted fellows an appraising look, and remarked loudly, "All the gentlemen currently smoking should take their butts to my bed-chamber." My, didn't the room empty quickly.

Not remembering when one has since seen such a smile on the girl's face, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Christie writes:

I have just turned 16 years old. In all my 16 years I have found nothing to live for. Is there anything to live for?


Sir Charles replies:

Dear girl,

One cannot completely answer the question, of course, without supporting information. Are your parents titled? Are they of the upper income brackets?

Not, of course, that one is implying that there is nothing to live for, among the common folk. There are the television serials, of course, and the horse races, and for our readers across the Atlantic, the weekly knife and gun shows. And if nothing else convinces the correspondent that nothing is worth living for, week to week, one has five simple words to share: Advice from Sir Charles Grandiose.

Just do us a favour, Christie. Don't breed.

Wishing the correspondent good day, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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