Retroterm of the Day: Alphonse and Gaston.

A popular comic strip a century ago featured two bowing and scraping French dandies who treated each other with elaborate deference. “After you, my dear Alphonse,” one would say, only to be told, “No, after you, my dear Gaston.” Its protagonists made such a big impression that “Alphonse and Gaston” remains shorthand for two people who elaborately defer to each other.

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