A Gentlewoman's Guide to Flaking Out on Friends

You, the Gentlewoman, have found yourself in a situation where you must Flake Out on a planned engagement once again. The details of the events that have led to this Flaking Out are not important: Perhaps you swooned a little too hard this afternoon after spying a peek of a young Gentleman's sock garters; perhaps you cannot find a suitable hat to wear about this evening; perhaps you are just badly, badly hungover. It matters not. What matters is that your Gentlewomanhood is on the line here. How one handles the necessary-yet-hated act of Flaking Out is what separate the Gentlewomen from the Scallywags, Rogues, and Highly-Disreputable Rascals. So please, do pay attention.

A Gentlewoman must observe certain manners and rules of conduct in all arenas of her life, but most especially in the most tricky arena of "totally flaking." Whether a lady is canceling plans at the last second with a dear friend or a casual sex partner, one must pay careful attention to how one Flakes. For greater Gentlewomen than you have been cast out from their local garden society and their gin rummy association for Flaking too late for their would-be partner to other make other plans, or for Flaking with text message that was mostly just the "poop" emoticon. These Gentlewomen were demoted to mere Women, and were thus never able to purchase a cabbage rose in this town again. So, you can see, a lot is on the line here.

Please, fine Gentlewomen, protect your virtue by availing yourself of the Guide to Flaking Out below.


A true lady of refinement and breeding knows that the essence of Flaking lies in when one Flakes. One may Flake a minimum of four hours before said event, ideally with a text that contains more words than emoticons. To Flake any closer to the evening's festivities than that, the Gentlewoman must either be experiencing a genuine emergency, or willing to at least briefly fake her own death.


The Gentlewoman's apology for Flaking only has value insofar as it is genuinely believable. A terse, nearly vowel-free flake-off like "rilly trd; sry!" batters the senses, and calls one's status as a Gentlewoman into question. As your friend will now be without an evening's activities, and presumably stuck at home reorganizing her hope chest and sewing some new bows onto her chastity belt, the least you owe her is a heartfelt and believable apology. Express your regret, and, if you intend to ever see this person again, promise that next round will be "on you."


If the evening's diversion that you are Flaking out on required the exchange of money, you are in quite the Gentlewoman's Predicament! Ideally, a Gentlewoman never handles money and falls into a lovely and delicate swoon whenever the subject is mentioned.

But, if the Gentlewoman must Flake on a situation where a ticket that costs money is in play, the Gentlewoman must offer to find another to purchase her unused ticket, and, in the event that the Companion no longer wishes to attend the event, the Gentlewoman must eat the cost of both tickets. Yes, that's rough, but the Gentlewoman should have thought of it before she did all those Jell-o shooters with the bartender last night.

In the event of genuine illness, the Gentlewoman should still offer to pay for her own unused ticket. In the event of genuine emergency, the Gentlewoman does not have to pay anything, and the planned Companion should send her an Edible Arrangement.


The Gentlewoman may lie about her reasons for Flaking out, especially if they are embarrassing, and being truthful about them would cause the Gentlewoman to have to speak an indelicate phrase aloud, like "in a pool of my own vomit."

However, if the Gentlewoman promises that the make-up drinks date will be "on me," she must actually go through with it, and not innocently look at her companion when the check comes and say, "So, do you just want to split this on cards? Your drink was almost as expensive as my drink, so I think that makes the most sense." This runs the risk of sending your companion into a fit of hysteria, or worse, a fit of subtweeting.


An event may be rescheduled twice by each member of the party and only twice, barring major catastrophe (family emergency or a case of wandering uterus, for example).

If the Gentlewoman has cancelled twice on a companion and must cancel yet again, her options are thus:

1. The Gentlewoman may admit to herself that she secretly hates this person, has a psychological block against actually seeing them, and was hoping that if she Flaked enough, the Flakee would just kind of get the memo and stop asking.

2. The Gentlewoman may send a heartfelt note explaining why recent responsibilities or events have kept her from being able to maintain plans, express a desire to meet up in the future when things calm down, and accept that the Flakee may indeed hate her forever now speak poorly of her to some mutual friends over margaritas.

3. The Gentlewoman may reschedule the event one more time, with the stipulation that all of the evening's festivities (films, dinners, unlimited adult beverages) will be paid for by her.

Above all, dear Gentlewoman, Flaking Out is not an activity to be taken lightly. Now, if you'll excuse me, some of my fainting couches need fluffing, so I will be off. Good morrow to you!

Images: Wikimedia Commons, Giphy (6)