kristin scott thomas, four weddings and a funeral, happy, beaming, smiling, must you?

Must you?

Please don’t. Stop that. I’d rather you didn’t. Cease and desist. Oh, for God’s sake, no… What to say when something just seems like a bad idea? Or a boring one. Or an inconvenient one. Or an irritating one. How to say, ‘I don’t like that plan’ without being a vibe killer who is speaking her truth? And how to make your feelings clear without squashing the other person’s brio?

What about summoning up something sparklingly Mitford-y like the simple and laconic ‘Must you?’ As in:

Person: “I’m going to sign us up for a spiritual cleanse in Ibiza.”

You: “Must you?”


Person: “I’m going to XXX you till you’re XXX in the XXX.”

You: “Must you?”

Person: “I’m going to put a team meeting in at 5:45pm

You: “Must you?”

Someone frots you on the tube; “Must you?”A waiter keeps appearing at your table and hovering until you look at him and then saying, “How is everything?” when you’re in the middle of a very heartfelt conversation; “Must you?”

Because, while we have all learnt to say no or go away, whilst we know we have the right to say no or go away, whilst we fully expect to be taken seriously when we mean to be taken seriously, sometimes there is no need to come across all worthy and to waste energy on a big old ‘womansplaining’, session which is draining for us and boring for them.

Time is short, energy is limited, concentration is… what was I saying? Oh yes, I was saying, “Must you? Must you really?”

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