Each Sunday (barring the last two when she was swamped beyond swamped and posted nothing) Marie Antoinette answers etiquette questions in this space. To have your own answered, send an email to What Would Marie Antoinette do at Gmail Dot Com.
My Darling Majesty,
I am dating a boy who I like very much but who I suspect is more interested in my family than myself. He is an actor and my father is a director. My boyfriend seems to take more interest in family events than one-on-one dates and asks more about my dad’s work than my own. Am I paranoid?
Today’s youth talk of a phenomenon called beer goggles, when someone looks more attractive after ingesting several alcoholic beverages. My own Mom Maria Theresa’s ministers were afflicted by a similar sickness I call “crown goggles,” a syndrome brought on when a female ruler’s husband and co-ruler passes away. Maria was still a looker at 48 but she somehow grew all the prettier with an empty throne beside her.
A plot was hatched: Her three ministers would vie for my mother the Empress’ hand. Mom and dad’s marriage was very much a love match and the ministers decided her heart was the path to the crown. For scheming cads, the men were gallant enough to declare they would not be jealous of whomever mum chose. (The heart wants what the heart wants, apparently, bids for power notwithstanding.)
Another woman might have changed her plans to rule with her son and not remarry. Another woman might have remarried, selecting from just those 3 suitors. However, another woman wasn’t my mother and wouldn’t have made it 10 minutes as the Austrian Empress.
Mom made it her business to know all her ministers’ plots and schemes and was onto the plan. One day, after a council meeting ended, she spoke about female rulers and what people expected of them. She said if she ever fell in love, it would be with a man who could prove he was led by affection, not ambition. As a rule, she’d decided, that man would need to quit any state affairs and live a private life as a happily married husband. The ministers gave up their plot and Maria Theresa kept power within the family, co-ruling with her son Joseph. She never remarried and power never left the family.
Limit your boy’s access to your family and let it slip in conversation how your father hates to do business with friends and family. If he’s still around, you pegged your boy wrong. If he’s not, you’re better off with out him.
What do you think? Did the queen get it right? Post your additional thoughts in the comments.