First, to First Lady, because in the modern American home, the wife is first truth be told -- a queen in her own right. And, when Michelle met the Queen in jolly ole, this was in fact, one sovereign meeting another. At least, that's what we Americans believe. What queen curtsies when she meets another? A royal doff or some such gesture will suffice. ("Remember, your Highness, the wave is smartly twisted thusly below the crown and above the pearls!") Michelle is our gal, and when abroad we have to have her back when she's futzing about with G20 better-halves, or ex pat rock stars acquiring English lilts, or, yes, even sovereign queens.
I love that not only did our gal not curtsy, but she even gave the grandmotherly "pat-pat" rub on the Queen's back. Curtsy no, pat-pat yes. Priceless. That'll show those royals how we brazen Yanks roll!
Now on to President Obama. Even though he's on his way to rewriting the modern handbook of the American Presidency (The American monarchy? Hmmm, nice ring that.), he was not abnegating the sovereign status of the U.S. of A. when he said hello to King Abdullah. I mean, remember, this is the king who held hands with our last president for gawd's sake! How much more embarrassing can it get when your president is seen strolling about his ranch, holding the elderly king's hand for all the world to see?!
Nah, when Obama bowed to King Abdullah in London as the G20 leaders were queuing up for the group photo, it was more like being at a party when you see your golfing buddy, or a long lost fraternity brother, sometimes you sort of bow like "hey man, long time no see" with a cheeky "my liege" sort of thing. That's all that was, the venue was not a formal greeting line with sycophants lining up to kiss a ring or something. Sure there may have been 18 other world leaders around to witness this gaffe, but, hey, we cool. (Btw, notice France's President Sarkozy in the background laughing. He's either in on the joke too, or laughing at the gaffe.) This age-old question routinely rears its head when the president meets the Pope. Does one genuflect? Grovel? Kiss the ring of the pontiff? Oh, what to do! Cultural liaison where are you?!
But, just so we're clear for those keeping score and playing at home: Michelle Obama, zero curtsy, one pat-pat back rub. President Obama, one bow, one gaffe-gaffe. (And, President Bush, one lover's stroll.) We now know who wears the titular pants in the titular American Queen and King household. We have arrived in a new day to be sure, and we got your back, girl, especially when you're rocking your J-Crew ensemble abroad.