Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

 

CP: Got time for a funny story?

 

RN: Always.

 

CP: It seems my younger sister’s Minneapolis friend DeEtte recently got into a heated argument with a friend. The friend insisted that you and I were a couple.

 

RN: Seriously? And, DeEtte? Now that’s a name.

 

CP: DeEtte said no. Each was certain she was correct. Only after a week’s time are they back on speaking terms.

 

RN: Holy Gay Pride, Batman, we’re so not worth seven whole days of the cold shoulder. Well, you aren’t, anyway. Kidding.

 

CP: The misunderstanding is understandable. We have the low-level bickering of a long-established couple down pat, for one example.

 

RN: We also share a kind of secret vocabulary. But don’t all platonic friends do that?

 

CP: We often finish each other’s sentences.

 

RN: I prefer to think of us as a modern-day Betty Comden and Adolph Green. I’ll be Adolph.

 

CP: See. You always do the movie-reference thing, and I usually take a dim view of things.

 

RN: If you’re about to say, “We complete each other,” please, for the love of God, don’t.

 

CP: We really should be invited to more dinner parties. But then, of course, your actual spouse would be mad. Robert already likes to complain that he sees less of you than I do.

 

RN: Oh, so that’s what people mean when they use the term “work husband.” As per usual, I’m a little slow on the uptake.

 

CP: That’s OK. I like you just the way you are.

 

RN: Sweet. Here’s a scary thought: If we were a couple, and I took your last name — use your imagination here — I would be Rick Peck. Yikes.

 

CP: One big happy, monosyllabic family. You could do the cooking, or we’d be eating Lean Cuisine nightly.

 

RN: Reason No. 6,772 why I thank my lucky stars that my Robert said “I do.”

 

CP: Be forewarned though, that due to my superior age, I would likely pre-decease you. And I wouldn’t want you to remarry.

 

RN: What every widow wants to hear.

 

CP: It would be such a comfort to know that you were wearing black and keeping my cremains in that Lladro urn on the antique secretary.

 

RN: Actually, whenever anyone mistakes the two of us for a couple, I get a twinge of guilt because some people are under the mistaken belief that you and John, our dear pal, are hitched. I don’t need to add interloping hussy to my already lengthy list of character faults.

 

CP: This is getting way too complicated. I want a divorce.

 

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib