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March 22, 1999 Picture: A Clever MinxFor over four years, four very long years according to one's leather-bound Diary 2000 provided by Social Outlooks, Ltd. (and has it upon an unshakable authority that the hand-tooled leather that forms the case for this diarist's delight is imported from Spain, and that if one acts swiftly and purchases a Diary 2000 from Social Outlooks, Ltd. before the end of the week one's readers will receive not only the time saving Diary 2000 but the Diary 2000 Sched-u-matic, which makes entering appointments into one's Diary 2000 a snap), one's readers know that by and large one has resisted the temptation to compromise one's integrity by accepting advertising.

"WHY," ask one's readers. "WHY DO YOU DO THAT, SIR CHARLES?" Or so would be the effect if one was wearing an AccuEar Deluxe Hearing Assistant, a device that can amplify even the dimmest of sounds to near deafening proportions. Imagine what it could do for your loved ones, the old aunties and uncles who can no longer hear your endearments, words of loves, and requests to stand up so that you might change their nappies. And speaking of nappies for your loved ones, why settle for those that merely prevent liquids from leaking? Why not invest your hard-earned pounds--and your love--in ElderSacks? ElderSacks' patented SpillFlo channels gently draw liquids away from sensitive octogenarian skin, thus preventing premature chapping and bed sores.

Well, readers. The answer is simple. If one were to give in to the temptation to 'plug' products, who would trust one's recommendations in the future? One might prostitute one's column in order to recommend, for example, that each and every one of one's readers should rush out immediately and buy a vitamin-packed bottle of Grapeola Milk Enricher, the great Grape-flavoured powder that turns every sip of milk into a great grape experience, one that is packed with enriching nutrients that give children of all ages plenty of energy for their schoolwork and athletic activities. But one is certain that one's readers might see through such a thing.

One brings up the topic because recently a representative from Peterson's Pit-Pruf Perspiration Pomade, a product that the Lady Felicia uses constantly in order to maintain her natural ladylike freshness, requested that one run another endorsement for their sterling product, which really does wonders in protecting the Lady Felicia's shirtwaists. One refused strongly. One said, and one quotes oneself, "Sirrahs! Although Peterson's Pit-Pruf Perspiration Pomade, a product made by the manufacturers of Mr. Schill's Improved Foot Fungus Powder with Improved Corn-A-Way Protection, is the only Perspiration Pomade that one's wife will allow to touch her highly sensitive and noble skin, for its delicate floral scent and new mountain springtime odour remind her of Swiss Alps and its pH balanced ingredients are all natural and herbal save for perhaps one or two of the chemical bits, one cannot stoop to advertise it in one's column, although one suspects that all one's readers will rush right out and buy a tin of Peterson's Pit-Pruf Perspiration Pomade during the Springtime Sale, during which it is reduced to a mere pittance of five pounds forty for a medium-sized tin."

Then they said to one, "Yes, but perhaps you could do it subtly?"

And one replied, "Well, of course one could."

But rest assured, readers. If one ever did place the crass desire for money over one's honour and dignity, one would do it in so subtle a way that only the sharpest-eyed reader who was an avid user of RedAway Itchy Eye drops, the drops that put the 'Aye!' in 'eye,' might notice. The likelihood of such an event, however, is slim.

Not even mentioning that Peterson's Pit-Pruf Perspiration Pomade is made for a woman, but one likes it too, one remains for yet another week,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Hank writes:

Picture: A Vats Right-Wing ConspiracyDear Sir Charles,

My wife and I have decided to have a bit of  adventure and visit a foreign country this  year. We've decided on England.

We are really looking forward to it -- we think it will be so fun to hear all those funny accents and to see all those people who drive on the other side of the road.

We're preparing as much as we can by watching Monty Python and Benny Hill, but we were   wondering if you would might have some good recommendations of things to do after we see London Bridge and the Crown Jewels.

Or if you're free, we might like to stop by and visit your house for "tea." It sounds like such a quaint custom. We've never met  a nobleman before, and my wife is hoping  to get a souvenir photo of us with you to hang on our fridge at home.


Hank Grady

Sir Charles replies:


One is sorry to report that all the British Isles have been quarantined of American tourists for the duration of the season. Such a pity. Apparently one of your compatriots came across a spotted dick in a pub, and called the health authorities.

But sir, consider taking yourself to France. One hears the French simply adore tourists, especially those who attempt to engage them in conversation with only two years' worth of upper school French to their names.

And think of the the Frenchified things you might do while you were there. Why, you could visit the Eiffel Tower, and gawk at the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. And then, sated with culture, you could return to your hotel room and watch le television for the remaining nine days of your visit.

Do be sure to order les escargots for dinner while you're there. Such a divine dish. And when you've done with it, be sure to ask the waiter the ingredients. Wait until afterwards, however! We wouldn't want to to miss the fun of guessing!

With an enthusiastic 'Oh la la,' one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Penelope  writes:

Dear Sir Charles,

Perhaps you (whose readers are so numerous that, were each to shed but a single tear for Lady Felicia's recent misfortune, the world sea level would rise so greatly that inhabitants of London would believe themselves to be in a bad Rutger Hauer movie) can settle a question that caused much dispute at the Blakes-on-Avon Ladies Sewing Circle and Small Arms Target-shooting Society, Tuesday last. 

Is sex too good for the common people?

Penelope Sexton-Rives

Sir Charles replies:

Dear young Penelope (who is not as close to the throne as one's ward, young Penelope Windsor-Smythe, who happens to be eighty-fifth, if you didn't know),

On the contrary. Sex is a good thing for the people. What would we do without a bit of sex for everyone? Without sex, would life have zest? Would life be quite as interesting?

Of course, even the common people should limit the amount of sex they have. One will do. Either man or woman.

Praising this modern age in which such things can be talked about frankly, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Chafing writes:

Picture: Greeks, ActiveDear Sir Charles,

Once again I find myself in the position of requesting your guidance in a rather delicate matter. In course of searching for (and one is assured that Sir Charles knows just how difficult, indeed, it is to find) competent household help, a rather disturbing exchange took place. I would appreciate your learned advice on how, in future, to better uphold my side of such a conversation.

I was interviewing a potential housekeeper -- the previous one having been let go in consequence of the unfortunate mauve undergarment incident. After touring the domicile, and noting the arrangement thereof, she asked which of the occupants slept on the sofa. I was shocked, and did not know how to respond. The arrangement seemed clear enough to me (perhaps owing to her ethnic background the massive Louis Quinze gilt mirror in the Great Room didn't register, but surely the velvet ocelot-print draperies in the boudoir would have alerted any delicate sensibility to the fact that two gay young bachelors were in residence) and the question took my breath away. I politely answered simply "neither," but this hardly seemed adequate.

Could you suggest an appropriately withering response to such inquiries in future -- ideally, though one realizes that this is not easily reconcilable with the goal of witheringness, one that would leave the potential domestic with enough abiding respect (and perhaps a bit of fear -- fear being, in my estimation, a good quality in domestics) that she could still conceivably be hired, in spite of the faux pas?

Chafing in Chelsea Heights

Sir Charles replies:

My poor chapped lad,

As one was at pains to grapple with the enormity of your question, given that the Lady Felicia is fond of chintz, herself, it was Dame Fortune who looked down upon her favourite son and sent him his nephew and heir Chauncey for a weekend's visit.

Chauncey, of course, is editor of Milady's Boudoir and the epitome of gay young bachelorhood. His little soirees at his Chelsea flat are known far and wide for their fashionable chicness and fabulous celebrity guests such as Elton John, Jaye Davidson, and George Michael . . . ah, one finds one has forgotten the last chap's surname.

At any rate, Chauncey read your missive with avid interest, and informs me that a full sized print from a chap named 'Tom of Finland,' hung and properly illuminated by recessed lighting, perhaps in a darling silver frame, would clue the prospective maid into the true nature of your living arrangements.

And to think one rather thought that the men of Finland had names such as Fjinovarr and Pkorik.

Resentfully, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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