Entertaining

This Thing Now: Sir/Madam Advice Letters

Show Dad you were listening to his advice with a token of thanks
Sir Madam Advice Letter Napkins
Photo: Courtesy of The Assembly

We're pretty obsessed with This Thing Now. Here's how to get it into your life.

"Go with the grain." "Lights to lasers." "It's a beautiful day; get outside!"

Every dad has his own arsenal of maxim, and those are my dad's. The first two were part of a very detailed strategy in clearing the dinner table, the third a precursor to endless bike rides (to my chagrin) and all-day drives around Long Island. (Somewhere along the way, he also taught me a great deal about empathy, but there was no pithy maxim for that one.)

Jesse James and Kostas "Gus" Anagnopoulos, the designer couple behind Sir/Madam and fathers to daughter Olympia, share my soft spot for fatherly advice and transformed the wise words of four historical dads into handsome table linens.

Turns out Charles Dickens urged his youngest son to "never take a mean advantage of anyone in any transaction, and never be hard upon people who are in your power," and Thomas Jefferson pressed upon his daughter to avoid misspellings at all costs (arguably, he could have done better). Rudyard Kipling opted for more practical advice, like never eating oysters on top of a bus ("It annoys the passengers") and not stealing paintings from the National Gallery (good one).

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But my personal favorite is F. Scott Fitzgerald's laundry list of things to worry about (courage, efficiency, horsemanship) and not to worry about (triumph, dolls, boys, insects in general) for his only daughter, Frances, affectionately called "Pie."

Wise words, indeed.

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