Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Art of the Polite Smack-down

When your eleven-year-old son is playing some sort of "Minecraft-something-or-other" on your iPad while you are binge-watching The Crown, the child will most certainly pick up a few choice phrases.  He will witness the "Queen Mother" quite effectively shut down some underling with this simple suggestion: "Do sit down".  Of course the "Queen" just gets straight to the point with, "Do shut up". Clearly our British friends have perfected the polite smack-down. You might think these phrases went right over your son’s head… you would be wrong.

Imagine my delight later in the week when I overhead, "Do shut up, Andrew!" from the game room. I couldn't even be mad. If it's polite enough for the queen, it's clearly polite enough for my boys. This wonderful new method of suggesting that one should be quiet has morphed into other equally mannerly statements such as, "Do kiss my butt", and "Do go away"...etc. Of course the proper accent is included...because it's just required.

Recently this graciousness has taken on more of a formal invitation-ish format; because what is more pleasant than receiving an invitation?  "I'd like to invite you to shut up". See how lovely that is?

This invitation often comes with highly elaborate and, quite imaginary, "packaging". For example, "I'm sending you an invitation on fancy stationary. The envelope has your name written in elegant gold calligraphy and is stuffed with silver and white heart shaped confetti. The invitation itself is embossed... it's a simple two-word message...”  Translation:  "I love you, but shut up!"  One time Army Guy sent me an invitation presented by buglers on white horses. It was a royal fanfare worthy of the queen herself.  Translation: “I acknowledge your princess-ness, but please shut up, your Royal Highness”. 

I, in turn, sent an invitation to Army Guy, which was delivered by a marching band and four dozen flag girls. The flags were made of a glittery red fabric and had large silver and rhinestone letters. Each flag had one single, sparkly letter: S, H, U…you get the idea. The other forty-two flags were for punctuation purposes only: exclamation points, to be precise. Translation: "S H U T - U P !!!!!!!!!!!" 

One time Matthew had his message delivered via the space shuttle and seven astronauts participating in a massive ticker-tape parade. But the very best and most creative invitation came from the daughter of my dear friend, Kelly, who invited her dad to a "Shush Party" where she was serving Shush Cake and Mu-shush-room Pizza.  Squeeeee!!!  Genius wit from an eight-year-old.

Here’s a special Thank-you to the Brits, who have inspired creative etiquette and social graces in our home. Bravo my Brit friends. I do believe the Queen herself would approve. Do feel free to like and share. :)

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