after you, Alphonse

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Paraphrase of a quote from Alphonse and Gaston, an American comic strip by Frederick Burr Opper.

Phrase[edit]

after you, Alphonse

  1. An exchange indicating excessive formality or effort at politeness, particularly where two people each refuse to go forward because each insists on allowing the other to go forward first.
    • 1964, February 14, "Snow show goes off in big style", LIFE, ‎Vol. 56, No. 7, p. 30:
      And two French sisters performed a delightful after-you-Alphonse routine when they came in first and second in the women's slalom, then took the same top places, in reversed order, in the giant slalom.
    • 2010, Wendy Steiner, The Real Real Thing: The Model in the Mirror of Art, page 109:
      As this tortuous wording suggests, models and their reflections keep reversing in the mirror, in a sort of “after you, Alphonse—no, after you” exchange.

See also[edit]