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Bertie the Beau’s Holiday Guide

Greetings!

It is I, everyone’s favourite Regency time-traveler, Bertram St. James.

(I am also known by a certain name which some of my intimates insist on using for me, Bertie the Beau. Of course, I have never encouraged this habit. After all, I am modesty personified!)

(Or…do I mean humility? I can never remember which is which. Though, come to think of it, what have I to be humble about? So perhaps I do mean modesty.)

Ahem.

Today, I am going to talk about what holiday gifts are certain to please any true gentleman of your acquaintance, and which would be destined only to be passed off immediately to the servants.

If you are on a tight budget, these gloves are a thrifty yet delightful gift. They are lined with cashmere, of course, because no real gentleman has skin that can withstand anything rougher. And how delightful — they only cost $200! So you can buy several pairs to “stuff” (as modern folks so vulgarly put it) the silk stockings of your favorite gentleman.

(I confess, I have not yet quite grasped the need to ruin a good pair of stockings every year by filling them with presents, but as you see, I am trying to adapt myself to the customs of the year 2007.)

Here is what not to get for a gentleman, or, indeed, anyone with any claim to elegance.

Is this not the ugliest thing you have ever seen?

What grace? What beauty? What possible redeeming feature does this “watch” have?

Of course, all “wrist-watches” are inherently repellant, when it comes to aesthetic considerations. I have no idea why they were created.

If you must give a gentleman a watch, it should look like this. Graceful, pleasing, and made of precious metals.

Of course, no watch can have true elegance.

After all, why in the world would one need to know the time?

Very well, one might if one had agree to meet one’s fellows at one’s club at a certain time. But one could always rely on one’s man to send one off in time for that.

(Unless one’s man is a hedgehog, but that’s another matter entirely.)

Think about it. Whenever you see a man with a watch, you immediately know that he is some kind of clerk, rushing off to do things with papers and money and other tedious and decidedly middle-class inventions.

This is by far the best thing to give to any gentleman.

A gigantic-screened TeleVision Device.

Heavenly.

And, yes, it is rather distasteful to look at. But only when it is not turned on!

This, by the way, is what a certain Beau of your acquaintance would prefer to be given this year.

And if I receive multiple copies of this “item” — then all the better! I can watch several of my favourite “shows” at once.

Here is another example of what not to give a gentleman of elegance — the most recent “cinema” version of Miss Austen’s novel.

(Do I hear some shocked murmuring out there? Very well, I admit that there are rumours floating about here and there that Keira Knightley and I are secretly pledged to each other.

But let me assure you — those stories were all put about by my eternally embarrassing aunt, and have no relation to earthly reality. For, as much as I respect Mlle. Knightley’s dramatic talents, and envy her cheekbones, I must confess there have been no promises made between us. And if I have even met the young lady, I refuse to either confirm or deny.)

No, my prejudices against this Movie are all because of the disgraceful coiffures displayed therein.

Of which this is but one example. (Private note to K.K.: what were you thinking? The next time we see each other, I shall insist you buy yourself a comb.)

There you have it! Your shopping made simple. Yes on cashmere gloves and enormous TeleVision Screens, perhaps on gold pocket watches, and an emphatic no to wristwatches and Mlle Knightley’s tangled mane.

Yours in elegance,

Bertram St. James, Exquisite

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Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Bertie!
I am trying to decide if I want a GPS system for Christmas. None of the models I’ve surveyed have a Time Traveler function but I am curious as to what you would recommend.

Bertram St James
14 years ago

I am trying to decide if I want a GPS system for Christmas.

Ah. I have a Gentleman’s Personal Servant myself, and I highly recommend one. More commonly known as a gentleman’s gentleman or a valet (though please pronounce this “vallitt” — they do not drive cars to the park), a GPS is essential in the upkeep of any true man of fashion’s clothes.

yrs,

Bertie

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

I knew I could rely upon you, my dear Bertie.

Todd
14 years ago

Dear Bertie,

From your reaction to the wristwatch, I take it that you do not fully subscribe to the philosophy of many men–that is, that All Gadgets Are Good. However, your desire for a giant television shows that you are not completely immune. What is your opinion of the many popular gadgets that men might like to find beneath the Christmas Tree, such as:

— an iPhone
— a Nintendo game system, with games
— a stereo with speakers capable of shattering rock and melting lead
— a Swiss Army “Annihilator” knife, with two blades, sixteen tools, and a built-in flamethrower

I would be most interesed in your opinion. Yr. most obt.,

Todd-who-prefers-the-model-without-the-flamethrower

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Bertie, my beau, I vow, I’m most vexed with you. Mme Knightley is gorgeous and her dramatic talents far superior to that of a certain (cough) vastly overrated Mme Ehle. Your unflattering depiction of that one with whom I share a name made my decision for me. It’s that wrist watch for you!

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Todd, if I may, I’d go with the Nintendo and wait for version two or three of the iPhone. 🙂 Asking for one thing means that there’s some hope of having it from at least one of your relatives. Having more than one on that list means the list gets laughed it. The Incomparable Gaston has it right.

doglady
14 years ago

Bertie, dearest!! Fabulous choices as usual. You have such exquisite taste!Now if you would like to see a poor old widow’s Christmas list for her brothers it will contain chores for them to do around her house instead of buying gifts. Little things like cool sealing the top of my trailer, sealing up a leaky window, chopping up the old oak tree that the last windstorm took out for firewood. Things like that.

And I adored your take on the GPS!

Todd
14 years ago

Keira wrote:

Mme Knightley is gorgeous and her dramatic talents far superior to that of a certain (cough) vastly overrated Mme Ehle.

Ahem! I trust you have some friends who will act for you?

Todd-who-is-cleaning-his-pistols-now

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

Since you’ve issued the challenge, I get to choose the weapons. And I say: rapiers.

I am Keira Soleore.
You issued me a challenge.
Prepare to die.

Bertram St James
14 years ago

Mme Knightley is gorgeous and her dramatic talents far superior to that of a certain (cough) vastly overrated Mme Ehle.

I have no idea why you are vexed at me, my dear! You know I adore La Belle Knightley’s cheekbones, adore her collarbone, and admire her histrionic abilities.

But the most important part of a Dramatic Presentation, after all, is how the actors and actresses look. And in this Pride and Prejudice, the lovely lady has intolerable hair.

Really, need I say more?

Your unflattering depiction of that one with whom I share a name made my decision for me. It’s that wrist watch for you!

But that makes no sense! If you said, “Oh, I do detest Prime Minister Bertram Fuddleton,” I would not decide to give you the ugliest present I could think of, such as an S.U.V. or a chihuahua or fake eyelashes. (What are those things made of, I ask you! Cobwebs?)

yrs in dismay,

Bertie (still Beau)

Cara King
14 years ago

Thank you for your holiday guide, Bertie!

Some hints:

1) not all folks think that $200 gloves are inexpensive;

2) you need not hang up silk stockings! In fact, a silly stocking-shaped thing with pictures of candy-canes on it would do fine;

3) I agree that wrist-watch is ugly. (Why do men like those?)

4) Well, you’re not getting a plasma TV from me — sorry!

By the way, I never have understood this hedgehog valet thing you have going on. When you lived in Regency London, was your valet human? Or is this hedgehog thing a longstanding tradition with you?

Cara

Todd
14 years ago

Keira wrote:

Since you’ve issued the challenge, I get to choose the weapons. And I say: rapiers.

Aha! At last I will get a chance to use those years of fencing training! Not to mention those years of first aid training!

But dawn is a bit early for me. Can we meet around 11 am? Or maybe after lunch?

Todd-who-doesn’t-like-to-wake-up-before-nine

Lois
14 years ago

Ooh, a duel! And I agree, it just simply is inhuman to get up before dawn, for anything, especially a duel.

Ooh, nice plasma. . . all the more to see Sean Connery with! (And Colin Firth, popping up from a lake) 🙂

Lois

Todd
14 years ago

Lois wrote:

I agree, it just simply is inhuman to get up before dawn, for anything, especially a duel.

Exactly! And it should still be possible to have the traditional breakfast after the duel–we can just go to Denny’s, which has breakfast all day! And it’s so economical. Even our seconds can afford to have seconds.

Todd-who-received-no-money-from-the-Denny’s-corporation-for-this-comment

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