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June 7, 1999

The Sir Charles Grandiose Travel Guide
For Distressed British Gentlefolk Who Find They
Must Travel Abroad

With the advent of the summer season, many find reason to uproot themselves from their country of origin and to visit new climes. Some of one's readers (and one has it upon a sterling authority that the numbers of this teeming throng are indeed so vast that were each a single penny of Monopoly money, one could easy buy and build hotels upon every property from Old Kent Road to Pall Mall) may find handy this   translation guide for a trip to the wilds of the Americas.

After all, what better a travel authority can one's readers find than the very man who put the 'gag' in 'luggage'?

What to say in American: What you really mean:
Howdy! (alt.: Hey dude!) It's really a pity that the best exports you Yanks could come up with are Dallas and Baywatch.
Buh'bye! I don't really have the sincerity or depth of personality necessary to make an honest farewell, but since I'll forget you the moment you depart, more than a syllable or two would really be a waste of my time.
Smashing! (alt: Ripping! Jolly good! Topping!) (No real meaning, but peppering your speech with it will charm the pants off many a young lady, eh?)
Gee, your hair smells terrific! Just for the moment I'll pretend to appreciate a culture in which one is judged more by the way one's hair smells and looks than by one's intellectual achievements or appreciation of the fine arts. But all the perfumes of Araby won't disguise the fact you're an airhead, love.
Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon? (Handy for eliciting a chuckle after you've been found with a misappropriated article or two in your pocket at Tiffany's.)
I love you. We've known each other for twenty minutes, but the presence of so many highway billboards selling denim dungarees with naked models has made me a bit randy, and Las Vegas is only down the road. Is it true they have inexpensive hotels there?
I've gotta GO! Pardon me, but where's the loo?
Let's do lunch! We'll do no such thing.
Let me speak honestly for a minute. . . . Rather than tell you the truth I'd insert razor-sharpened bamboo skewers beneath my nail, set them afire, and play Chopin's 'Minute Waltz' on the pianoforte.

Horsing Around writes:

Picture: A Strapping Young House BoySir Charles,

I've been having trouble with my house boy. The lad simply has no finesse when it comes to oiling my crop.  When I've a mind to mount and hunt, I require a  well-oiled crop and I require it lubricated with finesse!

Sir Charles, how do you handle your house boys?  I imagine you take them into the scullery and give them a stiff one up the backside, eh?--a good wallop!  I imagine you there in the hot, cramped, moist darkness of your scullery walloping your house boy over and over and over until he cries out like a girl.

What say you, Sir Charles?  How should I handle my house boy?

Horsing Around with the House Boy

Sir Charles replies:


One finds that first rule of thumb, when dealing with servants of any sort, is to take them firmly in hand. If not, they will take you firmly in hand, and we all know where that can lead.

One must admit that one has never taken a house boy into the scullery before. At least, not since Eton. But one admits that the thought of such firm, masterly discipline appeals to oneself. In fact, a bead of sweat breaks upon one's brow at the very idea of it. One really must consider asking young Penelope Windsor-Smythe to relinquish the duty of disciplining all the house boys, footmen, and stable lads herself. (As eighty-fifth in line for the throne, she is well aware that one day she may have to manage a number of serving men at once.)

With a reminder of firmly in hand, sirrah, and the firmer the better, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Vexed writes:

Picture: Ain't You Fresh, Sir?My dear Sir Charles,

I have been troubled with a most delicate matter of late.  I turn to your sapient personage for advice on the matter, for one has heard it on unshakable authority that those who seek your advice are so copious in number, were each to boycott the sale of chewing gum for one week, the resulting ruin of that industry would eventually lead to global economic collapse.  You are a man of excellent breeding and fortune; perhaps you might help me.

Ever since the Season began, I have been plagued by men.  Do not misunderstand me.   Being a high born, well-bred, wealthy heiress imposes that I always have men supplicating themselves at my feet.  They seem moved to tears of agony for very love when they see my wealth of golden hair cascading down my bare, slender shoulders.  Or the turn of my delicate cheek, the scent of damask roses which emanates from me, my red velvet lips, my long eye lashes. . . Normally, I can keep them all under my thumb and quite unaware of the grasp I have over them. 

However, recently I have been having a difficult time of it.  One lord, most amorous in his pursuit of me, has knowledge of a certain knight who also most keenly desires my humble company.  At first it was most amusing, I do confess, to watch them battle these things out.  But now they have come to me for decisions!  Can you imagine?  Coming to a lady and asking for a decision between two young, decadent, and wealthy men?  I am most irresolute about the situation.  I am only thankful that these two seem oblivious to the other entourage of men pounding at my door.  They may accuse me then of perfidy and scandal! 

Is this truly as portentous a matter as it seems, or shall I ignore their quibbling and let them pummel each other over me?

Vexed with Vacillation

Sir Charles replies:

My dear gentlewoman,

Though it is generally accepted that yours is the weaker of the S-xes, we must both admit that in the affairs of the heart, what man cannot be swayed by a golden haired beauty? What man can resist a come-hither glance from une bonne damoiselle in the springtime of her youth? What man can withstand the siren lure of soft, feminine lips, of supple, feminine skin, of a woman's lingering touch and scent? What man, that is, other than one's nephew, Chauncey Grandiose, whose taste in women seems to run to the brawny bruisers currently appearing in that perhaps soon to be coming to the West End experimental musical, Cry, Baby! (an adaptation of the film The Crying Game)?

Although it would be unseemly for a girl of your youth to be forced to make a decision before she is properly trained and ready for marriage, one sees that unless you make a decision about which of your swains should receive the bulk of your attentions, you may have endure the unsightly blemishes, bruises, and occasional lost teeth the gentlemen may inflict upon each other. Therefore one suggests employing what young Penelope Windsor-Smythe calls the 'You Know I Treasure You As A Friend Speech.' (As eighty-fifth in line for the crown jewels--if one has not mentioned that salient fact recently--she knows the sight of treasure quite well.)

The YKITYAAFS, as it shall henceforth be known, comes in many forms. Here are a several examples.

"Francois, you know I treasure you as a friend, but Mummy says I simply can't entertain boys whose great-grandmothers were on the music hall stage."

"Soren, you know I treasure you as a friend, but I'm much too young to be involved romantically with a bloke who eats Tandoori take-away straight from the cardboard box."

"Arturo, you know I treasure you as an amigo, but Papa heard you yelling Ole! at the top of your lungs the other night and got quite the wrong idea."

One feels certain that a variation of one of the above may cool the ardour of one or more of your suitors. If not, young Penelope recommends Mace.

Failing to see how a ground spice could assist, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Ali  writes:

Picture: Our Usual CorrespondentDear sir charles,

I wonder will I have a relationship with the woman of my dreams.

singed, worried Ali

Sir Charles replies:

Dear Worried,

Oh, one doesn't see why you shouldn't have a relationship with the woman of your dreams.

Provided, of course, that the woman of your dreams resembled both in appearance and bodily odour one of the Squishies from that cinematic masterpiece, Attack of the Killer Squishies from Pluto, Part II: The Squishies Strike Back. And that the 'relationship' you seek consists of her holding you off at arm's length and informing you that she'd rather spawn with the red-headed 'comic,' Carrot-Top.

Ever the optimist, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

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