Style Invitational Week 1373: Prime time for creative product reviews
Rave about a frying pan, a spatula, a men’s micro-thong and more. Plus jokes about typos.
(Bob Staake for The Washington Post)

Pat Myers
Feb. 27, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. EST
(Click here to skip down to this week’s winning jokes involving typos and misheard words)

From 2019: Flat shoelaces, 5/16-inch wide: My doctor told me to get a neti pot, but these were way cheaper! The plastic bits on the end hurt, though, so only 4 stars. (Todd DeLap)

From 2012: Emery boards, 24 count: I file my fingernails for hours and hours every day, and these boards never let me down. They’re so gratifying that lately I’ve been compelled to stop young women on the street and file their nails, too. Thanks, Revlon! (Rob Cohen)

From 2014: Cotton balls, 200 count: I can’t believe you call them durable for everyday cleanup — when I used them to scour my frying pan, they fell apart in a minute! (Edward Gordon)

Black elastic hair ties, 200 pieces

Read their lips. See their hips. This week’s second prize. (Dover Publications, 1990)
Read their lips. See their hips. This week’s second prize. (Dover Publications, 1990)
100 latex balloons, 11 inches, 10 each of 10 colors


Gold unicorn-horn headband

Brave Person men’s micro thong underwear

10.25-inch cast iron skillet

13-inch nonstick slotted spatula

3-by-3-inch yellow Post-it notes, 12 pads of 100

It’s the latest installment of a contest the Empress has been running since 2012, before The Washington Post needed to include the line “Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post” in every story mentioning Mr. B’s other little venture. This week: Send us a humorous “review” (like the samples at top from our earlier contests) for any of the Amazon-listed items above — click on the links to see the exact items we’re using this week. Keep them brief; 75 words would be long for us. The reviews must not cause harm to the manufacturer or seller. Feel free to post the reviews on Amazon itself after we post the results.


Submit up to a total of 25 entries at (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, March 9; results will appear March 29 in print, March 26 online.

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a fabulous book of paper dolls of “George [H.W.] Bush and His Family,” dated 1990 — during his presidency — and featuring pictures of many descendants as children, including a teenage George W. But what made the Empress flutter her little fan were the long-legged President 41 wearing only a T-shirt tucked into white briefs, and Barbara Bush looking like a Lingerie Model of Age in a slinky black slip and, of course, pearls. Fortunately, you can cover them up in 24 matronly and, uh, patronly suits. Donated by Pie Snelson.

Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “Too-Weak Notice” or “Certificate of (de) Merit.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline “Blunderachievers” is by Kevin Dopart; Jesse Frankovich wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at “Like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at; follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.


The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column, published late Thursday afternoon, reviews each new contest and set of results. Check it out at

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago …

Blunderachievers: Typo jokes from Week 1369
“Gosh. Crafting a joke is way harder than making puns,” noted one longtime Loser with hundreds of inks to his name … who didn’t get ink this week. True enough, the challenge of Week 1369 — to tell a joke involving a typo or misheard word — proved impossibly daunting to all but a few Loserly efforts. In fact, some of the funnier tales turned out to be true.

4th place:
The bride’s friends were taken aback when she got a boob job immediately after the honeymoon. She explained: “We exchanged notes at the wedding about our wishes for each other. Mine said, ‘Always be kind.’ And his said, ‘Just do your bust and we’ll be happy forever.’ ” (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)


3rd place:
“I’d like some new boots for my birthday,” my wife said. “Nice ones like Nicki got.”
“Nicki’s are spectacular,” I agreed. “Do you know the name of her plastic surgeon?”
“Boots! Boots!”
(Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.)

2nd place
and the monkey-butt tissue dispenser:
At the National Spelling Bee: Pronouncer: Your word is “Missouri.”
Contestant: Use it in a sentence, please
P: Kansas City is located in Missouri.
C: Missouri: K-A-N-S-A-S. Missouri.
P: I’m sorry, that is incorr … Ahem, I’m being informed that we have now been instructed to consider that the preferred spelling.
(Hildy Zampella, Alexandria, Va.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
Police later determined that the stampede began when Cy's cousin arrived with beer and announced to the party, "I've got the Coronas, Cyrus!" (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)


Oops C's: Honorable mentions
Diner looking at menu: “Whoever runs this restaurant must be nuts! Why would anyone want to eat a half-fried chicken?” (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

So yeah, I texted my mother-in-law pictures of my bare butt on the beach. Well, look here at my phone: She asked me to send her photos of the hineymoon at Cabo. (Mark Raffman)

Note on a doorstep: “Dear trick-or-treaters: I am away for the evening but please help yourself to a treat from my bowel.” (Jesse Frankovich, Lansing, Mich.)

Q. Why did the British millennial spend the night in the bathroom at work?
A. His boss sent him an email asking him to “stay in the loo in case I need you on this new deal.” (Mark Raffman)

Sign in a hotel lobby: “The sofa cushions are currently being cleaned. We apologize for the incontinence.” (Jesse Frankovich)


Sheila was spending her first semester away from home when her parents received this text: “Doing everything to raise $1,000, sort of dropping all my classes to become a paid escort.”
She waited 10 minutes, then followed up: “Sorry, that should read ‘short of,’ not ‘sort of’ — and only need $100!”
She got $500. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)

“Jeez, you guys,” Barr complained. “Nice tighty-whities, but all I said was this was no place for Pence.” (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)

A man was asked to care for his neighbor’s cat over the weekend. The neighbor explained that the cat was very constipated and required four to six doses of medicine over the next two days.
“When the neighbor returned Sunday evening, the man met him outside. “I never made it to forty-six, but when you step inside your house, you’ll know your cat is no longer constipated.” (Drew Bennett, on a cruise ship in Tahiti)


Correction: Last week’s bulletin meant to say that the church is looking for couples who SING. We regret the added “w” and thank the many who responded. (Ryan Martinez, Takoma Park, Md.)

“U wanna do the wankathon with me? Come on, it’ll be fun. We’ll go for the whole day and we can do it side by side. TMB.” (Chris Doyle, Denton, Tex.)


My new French teacher had an unfamiliar Belgian accent. Which is why I couldn’t figure out why she told us to put late assignments in her boîte de toilette, or “toilet box.” It turned out to be nothing so odd: it was the similarly pronounced boîte aux lettres, letter box. (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)

A good friend told me she was having bad pain from cancer. I meant to text her, “Sending you virtual hugs” — but it auto-corrected to “Sending you burial hugs.” I caught it before sending, and now I’ve used up all my luck for the day. (Alex Blackwood, Houston)


My young nephew had trouble saying “sh”; “hush” came out as “huss,” “mashed” as “massed.” One day he and my son were jostling each other in the supermarket checkout lane — and my nephew complained to his mom in his loudest 5-year-old voice: “CHRIS IS GETTING PUSSY WITH ME!” My sister-in-law never went back to that store. (Dave Davies, Locust Grove, Va., a First Offender)

Still running — deadline Monday night, March 2: our “Balliol rhyme” contest. See

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