Picture: From the Sir Charles Grandiose Archives

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week

August 16, 1999

Picture: A Swine TimeOne's readers know (and one has it upon a sterling authority that one's readers are so many in number that were each a single rung on a ladder, at the ultimate peak one could ascertain with intimacy whether the moon was made of bleu cheese or Roquefort) that each year at this time one takes a visit to London in order to replace one's old wardrobe of suits and waistcoats with an entirely new wardrobe of identical suits and waistcoats.

Naturally, one stays at one's club, Boodle's. A fine place, Boodle's. An historic place, Boodle's. Why, did you know that the last time a woman the threshold past the lobby of Boodle's, Queen Victoria was but a sprightly young lass fond of Turkish Delight and an afternoon with her stick pony?

Despite that admirable record, however, one's club seems to have allowed its more progressive younger members to dictate its future direction. One does not use the word 'progressive' as praise. One never does, with these unfinished, unthinking youth. Apparently these young whippersnappers, the oldest of whom is a mere fifty-three, have seen to it that Boodle's inestimable menu has been irreparably altered, and for the worse.

Gone were the juicy roasts of beef. Gone were the succulent plain legs of lamb. Gone the mint jelly, gone the Welsh rarebit, gone the sausages and kippers and groats. And what was served in their place? Fajitas, readers. Fajitas.

Yes, the fajita, a lowly mess of highly indigestible meats and those most horrid of comestibles, vegetables that have not been creamed to a mush. Apparently one is supposed to dish them out for oneself into a sort of handkerchief known as a tortilla, fold, and ingest. As one coldly informed the waiter wearing the festive somnanbulero, if God himself had intended one to pick up one's food in one's fingertips, he would have clad one's digits in a fine old silver with the family crest emblazoned upon the nails.

Nor was that the only indignity one suffered that week, readers. For 'Japanese night' one was forced to sit on the floor of the Boodle's dining room, shoeless, only to be given a plate of circular objects known, apparently, as 'Sue Shee.' Shee, one infers, must be the name of the chef. One was indeed tempted to have one's solicitors bring suit against the infernal rascal, after taking a mouthful of raw fish.

Why is it, gentle readers, that foreign food must be so bloody foreign? If the Japanese must have a dish called Sue Shee, why can it not be a roast of beef, unseasoned and placed in the oven or boiled in a vat until it is pink and tasteless? Furthermore, why must we good, stolid English citizens be forced to dine in the accustomed style of other, lesser cultures? Why this mania for chopsticks when we have perfectly good cutlery?

Is it necessary, in order for a Englishman to appreciate a kous-kous, for him to crouch half-naked in the streets begging for baksheesh while shoveling it into his mouth between peddling hashish to visitors foreign to Morocco? Will the new mania in Russian Tea Houses require its patrons to scrape for quarters on the floor in order to purchase food at highly inflated prices, only to hear of the sudden forced resignation of the chef? In order to truly appreciate American fare, will English men and women be given, at the door to the restaurant, handguns to fire at each other as they eat paper-wrapped 'hamburgers' in the bodies of mass-produced automobiles?

If this is authenticity, readers, give one bread and water.

Hungrily, for another week one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Rocks Are A Girl's Best FriendCharlie writes:

sir charles:

so i want this girl, man, and my homeboy told me that if i want her i should get her a rock on her finger and he says the bigger the rock the better she'll like it. so what do you think. i figured you'd know about it being rich and having the same name as me. what kind of rock should i get for the girl?

charlie watson

Sir Charles replies:

Dear lad,

Sedimentary, my dear Watson.

Tersely, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Lady Alexia writes:

My dear Sir Charles,

I am writing to you now of a matter which I know you will understand and with which you might, unfortunately for us all, empathize. I have recently been conversationally offended by a commoner. What to do?

The snippish manner in which my perhaps too-friendly-and/or-gracious-for-the-likes-of-her comments were answered took me entirely by surprise; this occurrence has become such a source of mental and emotional anguish to me that I can no longer think of anything else. The persistent echoings of her foul, vile, abrupt and certainly less-than-polite retort, ringing in my ears! It is horrible, Sir Charles. I have not been able to receive callers, nor have I had the heart to deal with the servants for the last few fortnights . . . something is amiss! Frightfully amiss!

Therefore, in order to avoid these wretched feelings of devouring ennui and murderous rage at the impertinent tart, I have decided to become better prepared for the future, should such outrageous lacks of breeding and miscreantelles of behaviour dare to raise their snappish, scabby little entities at me when I am out among the common folk! I must be able to put them in their places with a word or two! Or else I shall never be able to leave the castle grounds again! And this simply will not do, for one must shop.

Here is where I call upon your worthy advice; for indeed, I have it upon exceedingly priggish and fertile authority that the members of your readership are so numerous that, were they all gay, "Wig Islands" everywhere would now be entirely out of stock . . . you do give very good advice indeed! What I should wish from you at this point, Sir Charles, is a number of responses and replies, perhaps epithets and aphorisms, that I might use in dealing with these huzzies, and others who know not how to respect their betters properly. I am afraid that I do not possess your astounding wit, nor your keenness in turning a phrase . . . do, oh do send me a few lively "tooshays" which will silence these marauders of polite conversation, and I shall henceforth practice them when alone in my chambers at home, that I may have them at my disposal, and on the tip of my aristocratic tongue, forevermore.

With heartfelt thanks, and a dinner invitation to the castle as soon as I have quite recovered from this upsetting "thing,"
Lady Alexia von Schpilterkenhassen-Dorf-an-Weemsburgerhaus-am-Rhein.

Sir Charles replies:

My dear, gentle lady,

Tempting as it may be to resort to a nasty 'put-down', one abjures you to refrain. Think of what distinguishes the aristocracy from the common herds. Our exquisite breeding. Our expensive education. Our exclusive refinement. Can such qualities manifest themselves in a snippy retort?

Indeed not, madam.

One suggests that you cultivate your free time thinking up a number of retorts that reflect all the good graces to which you have been raised. When at the hairdressers, coin a bon mot and commit it to memory. When in the Rolls on the way to London, think of a witty apercu for future use. And when closing your eyes and thinking of England . . . well, one is certain you get the idea.

Let your repertoire of genteel putdowns combine cultural allusions, wit, and a modicum of shock value. Craft them carefully, and then dispense then in that very special tone of condescension we reserve for putting the commoners in their grotty little places.

For starters, one suggests something along the following line: "My dear girl, your unfortunate presence is as welcome to be as would be Camilla Parker-Bowles, accompanied upon the bagpipes by the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, dancing an exultant jig choreographed by Michael Flatley upon the grave of the late Princess Diana in front of her two sons."

Then, while the wench is still chewing on that one in bemused silence, sharply rap her upon the head with the lead cane of your umbrella.

Helpfully, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

Picture: Carry A Big Stickhopeful  writes:


Iam a 30 year old man single, iam working in gulf country, and iam an indian, my problem is iam working in a office here in gulf , and iam fall in love with one girl who is our secretary and this is her country, and i feel there is another guy who is also trying to get her love , and they are good friend friends but iam not , she is talking to me , but not like that guy, she is talking with him always, and going for the cafe also, and this guy is not a good guy , because he is looking something different from her (sex that is what i feel) and she does't know that she is thinking he is good but he is not iam sure that, sir shall i tell her that he not good, what i do sir iam really love her, i canno't think with out her, please help me sir?


Sir Charles replies:

How, pilgrim.

One-um is sure that the squaw for whom you have heap big feelings might-um wish to decide for herself-um. Why not give her a copy of this letter as wampum and let her be big chief judge of who is good and who is not good? Based on grammar alone, one-um suspects you of being an also-ran.

Always sensitive of the cultural differences between oneself and the lesser people, one remains,
Sir Charles Grandiose

The Library | Write to Sir Charles | Cast of Characters | Credits | This Week