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Copyright The Washington Post Company Aug 29, 2004

Thou anointest my head with Brylcreem; my Super Big Gulp runneth over.

This week's contest was suggested by Stephen Dudzik of Olney, who found on the Internet a "Product Placement Bible" (excerpted above) by Raphael Carter of Minneapolis. Surely there are plenty of biblical and other literary passages, poems, etc., that could similarly benefit from product placements. Have at it.

First-prize winner receives the Inker, the official Style Invitational Trophy. First runner-up wins a ceramic toothbrush holder in the shape of a bathtub with an elephant sitting in it, deep in swirling ceramic water, brushing its ear with a ceramic brush, donated by Kevin Mellema of Falls Church.

Other runners-up win the coveted Style Invitational Loser T- shirt. Honorable mentions get one of the lusted-after Style Invitational Magnets. One prize per entrant per week. Send your entries by e-mail to or by fax to 202-334-4312. Deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 7. Put the week number in the subject line of your e-mail, or it risks being ignored as spam. Include your name, postal address and phone number with your entry. Contests are judged on the basis of humor and originality. All entries become the property of The Washington Post. Entries may be edited for taste or content. Results will be published Sept. 26. No purchase required for entry. Employees of The Washington Post, and their immediate relatives, are not eligible for prizes. Pseudonymous entries will be disqualified. The revised title for next week's contest is by John O'Byrne of Dublin.

Report from Week 569, in which Loser Eric Murphy of Chicago e- mailed us: "I just signed a lease for a new apartment with my girlfriend, and her grandparents are not especially keen on the idea. (1) What could I say to them to allay their fears? (2) If I were to propose to said girlfriend, what methods should I avoid? And (3) if the two of us made it all the way to the altar, what statements should I leave out of my wedding vows?"

Along with hundreds of suggestions from total strangers, the Empress also received advice for Eric from Eric's own parents, Andrea and John Murphy (don't vow, "I will support you on my royalties from The Style Invitational"); Eric's own fiancee, Emily Leskinen (tell the grandparents, "It's really not a big deal -- I plan on living with all my girlfriends before marrying them"); and even Eric's own self (don't propose by saying, "If you say no, I'll just suggest another newspaper contest for ways to take my revenge"). Won't the Murphys' Thanksgiving dinner be delightful this year.

{diam}Third Runner-Up: How to explain to her grandparents that you're living together: "This way I won't have to get her drunk anymore to get her to come home with me." (Greg Pearson, Arlington)

{diam}Second Runner-Up: What not to include in the wedding vows: "Mother, may I?" (Chris Doyle, Forsyth, Mo.)

{diam}First Runner-Up, the winner of the LP "Chevrolet Sings of Safe Driving and You": What not to say in the proposal: "Darling, there is no one else in the entire world better than you who would be interested in me." (Russell Beland, Springfield)

{diam}And the winner of the Inker: How to explain to her grandparents that you're living

together: "But you see, sharing a closet is the most convenient way for me to wear her clothing." (Mai Nguyen, Clinton)

{diam}Honorable Mentions:

What could I tell the grandparents?

"Yeah, I know the saying about free milk, but I do plan on marrying your cow someday." (Brian Feldman, Chantilly)

"Hey, it's not like I'm still doing her sister or nothing." (Russell Beland)

"She'll be safe with me. I always sleep with a Beretta under my pillow." (Scott Campisi, Wake Village, Tex.)

"Let me put it in terms you can relate to: We're not living in sin, we're getting the Early Bird Special at the Conjugal Diner." (Brendan Beary, Great Mills)

"The country is having trouble defining marriage. We're waiting for a clear

definition." (Mel Loftus, Holmen, Wis.)

"Hey, it's only temporary -- once my grad school tuition is all paid, I am just so out of there!" (Russell Beland)

"If it'll make you feel any better, I'm still in my evaluation phase, and she's

probably not going to make the cut. I'll keep you posted." (Tom Witte,

Montgomery Village)

"Don't worry, anything she's got I must have already contracted."

(Russell Beland)

Tell them that if they're truly concerned about what is going on in the apartment, they can pay $9.99 a month like everyone else and log on to (Joseph Romm, Washington; Robin D. Grove, Chevy Chase)

If I were to propose to said girlfriend, what methods should I avoid?

Don't point to a mark you made on the bathroom scale and say, "Once you're this thin, will you marry me?" (Seth Brown, North Adams, Mass.)

Don't surprise her by unrolling the toilet paper, writing "Will you marry me?" and rolling it back up. Trust me, this never works. (Russell Beland)

Don't carve the proposal with a penknife into the underside of the toilet seat. (Pam Sweeney, Germantown; Ross Elliffe, Picton, New Zealand)

And don't say any of these:

"Honey! When you finish the dishes, bring me a beer and, uh, there's something I want to ask you about." (Larry Phillips, Falls Church)

"Of course, asking you to spend the rest of your life with me is a formality. It's not like I'd ever let you get away, so don't even think about it."

(Brendan Beary)

"Can you please shake these pompoms and say 'Goooooo, Eric!"? I've always wanted to marry a cheerleader." (Seth Brown)

"If my next question is 'Will you marry me?' will your answer to that question be the same as the answer to this

question?" (Elden Carnahan, Laurel)

"There's a gift certificate for $150 at Rings-R-Us waiting to be picked up. They do take plastic. Oh, and you'd better use your card, because mine's maxed out." (Elden Carnahan)

If the two of us made it all the way to the altar, what statements should I leave out of my wedding vows?

Don't proclaim, "I am Eric Murphy and I'm reporting for duty!" (John Deupree, Silver Spring)

Leave out, "If there is anyone present who. . . ." Nowadays there's always some joker who wants to be the star of your wedding video. (Judith Cottrill, New York)

When the preacher asks, "Will you love her, honor her, comfort her . . ." don't say, "Okay, no problem." (Chris Doyle)

"For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in beauty." (Erika Reinfeld, Somerville, Mass.)

"With this ring, I thee own." (Chris Doyle)

"Till death do us part, restraining orders be damned . . ." (Brendan Beary)

"Till death do us part, that is, assuming that the multiverse doesn't experience a splintering dimensional shift that puts us in separate universes. . . . I mean, I don't really see what I could do about that." (Scott Campisi)

"For richer or for poorer, in totally hot and totally not . . ." (Elden Carnahan)

"If, hypothetically speaking, I were to catch you fooling around with another woman, I would remain calm and

understanding." (Seth Brown)

"From this day forward, I will use my own makeup." (Jean Sorensen, Herndon)

And Last: "And when we have grandchildren, I promise not to be a nosy buttinsky like some people we know."

(Joseph Romm, Washington)

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