Monday, December 27, 2010

A Sinister Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad More Eichler Etiquette Pop Sci Jan 1924Here is another lesson in etiquette from 1920s social pundit Lillian Eichler. I love the way this sounds like an excerpt from a second rate novel about flappers and the psychological stresses of the Jazz Age. Which apparently include chicken salad:

She hears herself give the order as in a daze. She hears him repeat the order to the waiter, in a rather surprised tone. Why HAD she ordered that again? He would think she didn't know how to order a dinner. Well, did she? No. She wasn't sure of herself. She didn't really KNOW.

[It is a little bit rude of the gentleman to sound surprised at this. Especially since she seems to be rather predictable at dinner. Look, there's nothing wrong with ordering chicken salad all the time, really. I mean, it is a little boring. But it is not impolite. She did say please, you know.]

Feeling detached - hearing herself give the same dreary order as if from a great distance high above Calamari's (famous for seafood with tentacles, not so much the chicken, madam)...Oh, thinks Emerald Miller, the aging and no-longer-quite-so-famous soubrette, she must be such a bore to him. Now Rudolph will never pop the question. She isn't sure of herself, that's the problem. She can't even order a dinner properly. How will she be able to manage Rudolph's servants, if she ever becomes his wife?

But little does she know that Rudolph sounded surprised at her order because he is not only already married, but his estranged and deranged wife Gladys - who lives in the closed-off west wing of stately Picktooth Hall - has been ordering chicken salad for her dinner for the last ten years. And Emerald keeps ordering it too. He can stand it no longer. Must every woman in his life be obsessed with poultry? The fatal words "chicken salad" - said just once too often - will push him over the edge, tonight. Right now. But what next? And will Emerald, returning to her body, no longer in a daze, have the courage to tell Rudolph that she not only wants to change her order. And then demand the engagement ring that he has been promising her, with chicken-salad regularity, for the last year?

Chew on that social problem, Miss Eichler.

8 comments:

Richard said...

Emerald should cast aside her self doubt! She managed to order a dinner with aplomb.

And so what if she likes chicken salad!? Rudolph should just learn to deal with his chicken salad-related issues. Deal with it, buddy-boy!

Bill said...

And the waiter, tired of the endless parade of deceived young women Rudolph brings to his table, giddy because he's quitting his job right here & now, returns and sticks a wishbone deep into Rudolph's eye.
"Take that back to poor loony Gladys, you cad, and let her make a wish! Come away with me, Emerald! I've just inherited a million from my uncle, and I'll feed you chicken salad every night if it's your desire."

Marcheline said...

If she's ordering in a daze, my first question is what did Rudolph slip into her martini?

Cari Hislop said...

Poor Rudolph! I don't blame him for wanting to replace his loony wife, but he does appear to be repeating the nightmare. With his big red nose, maybe he'd do best to look for a plain little Jane Eyre who longs to see the world (especially the snowy parts) and will love him for his adventurous spirit and not his gold. Judging by the photo of Gladys (and her obsession with chicken salad) I think we can assume Rudolph prefers a well rounded woman in the literal sense, poor half starved Jane hasn't got a chance.

Lyn said...

I'll have what she's having..and much success to us all!
this is in a class by itself...fab!!!

Con Artist Trickster said...

If only Rudolph dated Obleix, he would've seen that chicken salad in every dinner is far better than wild boar in every meal.

Lidian said...

Richard - I agree! Chicken salad liberation!

Bill - Yes, that is just how it should continue.

Marcheline - Something from his hip flask, I suppose (that washtub gin is really strong!)

Cari - Not unless she starts ordering, say, lobster salad.

Lyn - Thank you, I love these Eichler ads a lot. And there are two more from this very ad that are really good, coming soon! :)

Con Artist Trickster - Yes, that is true!

P.L. Frederick said...

Emerald's hat may be on too tightly. That happened to me once. Such a fierce headache I didn't know what was going on, until I accidentally removed the hat and the pain instantly disappeared. Oh, miracle! Also, it was stuffed with chicken salad.

P.L. Frederick (Small & Big)