The Brief And Boring Story Of My Brother And Pippa Middleton

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from my mother, the closing line of which was this: "You must ask Tom about his almost-romance with Pippa Middleton. He was doing so well with her and then he blew it!"

Well, I don't know what your reaction would be after reading an email like that, but mine was to find Tom immediately. It was a harder task than you might imagine, seeing as he lives several time zones away in Singapore, but I tried all the usual haunts: Google chat, Facebook chat, Skype, text message. I even sent him a good old email, which all the kids will tell you is so 2008. (Did you know that? That people born after 1989 think email is for fuddy-duddies? I want to grab them by their jeggings-encircled ankles and shout "Letters! We had to write letters in my day! Holding pens! In our hands! Using stamps! And the postal service! Backwards, up a hill, both ways!")

Anyway, I finally found Tom and finagled the story out of him. It goes like this:

Several years ago---I know, I know; I too was disappointed to find out that this was pre-Royal Wedding---Tom attended a 21st dinner party in London, where he found himself seated next to Pippa Middleton. (Tom, it quickly became apparent during the telling of this story, runs in some pretty fancy circles that I didn't know about.)

There was a Great Gatsby theme to this dinner party, the way Tom recalls it; either that, or he was dressed in 1920s tennis garb for some other, more mysterious reason. At any rate, he says, he was wearing white trousers, a crisp white shirt, and a white cravat that night. As an accessory, he was even carrying a wooden tennis racquet. That's us Burnses for you right there, see: we don't do things by halves. We take our parties seriously in this family.

During the dinner, Tom and Pippa were getting on like a house on fire. They were laughing and joking and, if Tom is to be believed, there was a fair bit of flirting going on. (Wouldn't you flirt with a man in a white cravat? I mean, I certainly would. If he wasn't my brother, obviously. Okay, this is getting weird.) As the evening went on, Tom liked Pippa, and Pippa---if all evidence is to be believed---liked Tom.

But Tom also liked the bottomless refills of booze at this party, and this is where it all went horribly wrong. Tom, in his own words, "probably got a little bit too drunk" that night, which I think we can all assume is like Mark Zuckerberg saying he "probably runs a pretty popular website." Or me saying Tim Riggins is "probably an okay thing to look at." Or the pope saying "ehhh, I'm probably kind of Catholic. I guess." 

Waking up the next morning, says Tom, he had "hazy memories of the night before" (which I think we can all assume is like......okay, I'm sensing you get it.) Remembering how well he'd been getting on with Pippa just a few hours previously, however, he asked his friend who knew her---wait, time out! This makes me, like, five degrees of separation from Prince Harry!---whether she thought it was worth it for Tom to follow up and get in touch. 

"Are you crazy?" asked the friend, aghast. "You spent the last few hours of the party chasing her around the room with your wooden tennis racquet above your head!" 

Tom ended the email containing this story with a sad, forlorn little "oops."  

Oh, Internet. What could have been, huh? What could have been!

Amy --- Just A Titch
Jul 07, 2011

I mean, this is amazing. I am sort of speechless. It would be awesome, yes, if something had transpired, but at least he can say he chased Pippa around with a tennis racquet! Also AWESOME!

Jul 07, 2011

As a high school teacher I'm always creeped out when I think an actor who is supposed to be in high school is hot. And then I realize Tim Riggins is 30 and I'm suddenly ok with it....Eh, who am I kidding. I was always ok with it.

Jul 07, 2011

Wow. That is awesome!!! I love it! I wish we had stories like that in my family. Instead, we have the one where my mom was a waitress for a catering service and had her ass pinched by one Mr. Kenny Rogers before he said, "Can I get a refill toots?" and then continued to smack her ass every time she walked by for the rest of the evening, lol.

Well, I think the only think to do is to call her up and say, "hey, remember me?"

Really great tale of college woe. I have several of those. Oh, dear.

Jul 08, 2011

i just want to know why he was chasing her around with a tennis racket. was he trying to show her some technique? were they playing some caveman game?

Jul 08, 2011

There is nothing NOT awesome about this story.
Also, I must get myself invited to a Great Gatbsy-themed party. Right away.

Jul 08, 2011


Jul 08, 2011

He should find her! I'm sure she'll remember the man in white with a wooden tennis racquet ;)

Jul 08, 2011

Wow this story is solid gold. Even if he didn't manage to snag Pippa Middleton (there's still time!), WHAT a story to tell! I have no celebrity stories that are anywhere near as exciting.

Julie Marsh
Jul 08, 2011

I so love the expression "getting on like a house on fire." That, and "take the piss."

Tennis whites and brandishing a racquet. I bet Pippa retold that story to Prince Harry.

Jul 08, 2011

How do we know that Tom's friend didn't want Tom hooking up with Pippa and told him this to keep them apart?

Just speculating.

Jul 08, 2011

I've read your site for years and have always been a bit of a lurker, but this is so hilarious I just had to comment. Thanks for the smiles this morning!

Jul 08, 2011

Pippa is the one missing out!! Tom is absolutely adorable

Jul 08, 2011

Am I the only one who had to google "cravat"?
Great Story!!

Jul 08, 2011

See now, in the circles I run in, that kind of behavior with the tennis racket would be seen as charming! We Americans are so different than you Brits....

Sarah Brown
Jul 08, 2011

I will never get tired of this story. Is it wrong to say "think of the ass your future nieces could have had"?

Jul 08, 2011

Hey, Didn't she just break up with her boyfriend, or something? Maybe Tom can get back in touch with his old friend and suggest ANOTHER dinner party. ;)

Jul 08, 2011

As if I didn't love you Burnses enough already with your boxes of 60 letters, cheese and champagne loving, HGTV watching, and just overall fantastic craftiness (in all the ways possible that one can be crafty) you throw this into the mix! Can I marry an entire family at one time?

Jul 08, 2011

Tom, you are so grounded.

Also, you realize this story confirms that everyone in England does indeed know each other.

Jul 08, 2011

OMG Tim Riggins! Love him! Friday Night Lights is such an awesome show. So bummed this is their last season.

Great story about Pippa! I'm sure she's told her verion a million times ; )

Jul 08, 2011

Clearly, Tom needs his own blog. How many other stories of fancy dress parties and upper echelon dinner guests does he have up those white sleeves of his?

Jul 08, 2011

Oh man, this is gold. No one I know has a brush with celebrity story anywhere NEAR this awesome. Tom takes the cake.

Sensibly Sassy
Jul 08, 2011

Seriously though....WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN!??!? Think of the blog fodder!

Jul 09, 2011

Ha! I really want to party with your brother. : )

Camels & Chocolate
Jul 09, 2011

I still think that is a pretty excellent tale nonetheless. Funny enough, I'm writing a post about how I ran into Kate this very week!

Jul 10, 2011

Oooh you're far less than five degrees of separation from Prince H! Are you forgetting your step-cousin Gav got invited to THE wedding by his BFF Harry? I've seen photos of the two of them - they're inseparable.

Jul 10, 2011

I was telling this VERY STORY to a friend last night and she told me that one of her friends (a guy I went hiking with last year, so technically I KNOW HIM TOO) went to St. Andrews and was one year ahead of Prince William. AND LIVED IN PRINCE WILLIAM'S DORM ROOM. I mean, not WITH Prince William. That would've been awkward. I think he lived in the room the year before PW. Apparently, they met and exchanged actual sentences.

No tennis rackets were involved, sadly.

Jul 10, 2011


Jul 13, 2011

I always smile reading your posts and most times laugh internally, but this one had me chuckling out loud all the way through. I think the combination of Tom's antics and your story-telling.

Jul 13, 2011

Sometimes it's just better to have a really incredibly unbelievable story to tell.

Aug 19, 2011

No question this is the place to get this info, tnhkas y'all.

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