The French Dismissal is a classic (centuries-old) near-silent gesture which can be easily learned.
Because it can be used in so many ways, it is also quite handy. The Basic form is in reaction to an
idea or thought, a statement or cleverness, a plan, an action, or performance which is found
deserving of nothing more than ridicule. The Advanced form is often reserved for dismissing an
entire person; declaring them unworthy of any recognition or consideration whatsoever.
In its most perfect form, the French Dismissal is tremendously effective. If, for example, someone
does something INADVERTENTLY which offends you, the French Dismissal allows you to then,
PURPOSEFULLY treat that person with lofty disregard UNTIL THE END OF TIME! Think of it.
Where, outside of a third grade playground, can you witness the wielding of such power?
If you plan to develop the French Dismissal for your own use, DO NOT employ a mirror while
practicing, or you risk the possibility of humiliating yourself so completely that you find Life itself no
longer worth living.
THE COMPONENTS of the BASIC French Dismissal:
1- Gaze upon the person with empty eyes for a while
(DO NOT shake your head; simply look at them)
2 - Purse your lips and languidly emit a small puff of breath from one side of your mouth while,
in the same gesture, allowing your head to roll slightly to one side.
Note: Typically, only one corner of the lower lip is involved in releasing this jet of air. At its best, the
head roll is maintained for only a beat, before returning upright.
3 – Roll your eyes in the manner of a king looking down upon a stupid servant in whom you have
no further hope of lifting from the quagmire of his stubborn ignorance of courtly manner.
Note: The rolling of the eyes is NOT a theatrical gesture; it is an act of unquestionable superiority.
An Important Note: In the Advanced form of the French Dismissal, you PURPOSEFULLY DO NOT
look at the person. In the Advanced form, you refuse to look at them or address them in any way,
under any circumstances, for as long as either one of you draw breath. DO NOT attempt this
approach unless you have had many years of experience being particularly self-centered and
THE PROPER RESPONSE to the French Dismissal:
Though not French myself (with only a French Great Grandmother on my mother’s side) but, as
the fond recipient of the French Dismissal, for nearly two decades now, I've developed what I
believe is an effective and appropriate response. If you ever find yourself the object of the French
Dismissal, I suggest you do what I do.
I lower my eyes and focus on a spot on the floor about four feet in front of me for a few seconds.
Then, I shake my head almost imperceptibly, and I think to myself, “What a fucking idiot…”
Then I walk away.
I hope this little article concerning the French Dismissal has been helpful to you.
Writing it has done me a world of good.