GSTAAD—Walking into a dinner party for fifty chic and some not-so-chic people in a nearby village last week, I was confronted by a tall man with horn-rimmed glasses who called me his neighbor but then added, “No, you’re not my neighbor—what’s your name?”
No cunning linguist I, nor used to being barked at by nouveau-riche whippersnappers, I turned my back to him and told him to “Look it up in the Almanach de Gotha, asshole!” He wasn’t best pleased, especially as I also called him dickhead.
Now, please don’t think for a moment that I approve of my bad manners. But nor do I accept some hemorrhoid of a man half my age acting like a cop in a cheap gangster movie circa 1936. The name of the whippersnapper whom I don’t know nor want to know turned out to be Hunt, spelled with a “C.” His very rich American wife bought him the Wally Yacht company, one started by an Italian friend of mine that is now rumored to be in receivership or close to it. She’s a nice woman whose father was Mort Sackler, an inventor of some drug that made everyone happy and also made him a happy billionaire. What she should do is invest in a book of manners or tutorials on social graces—they would be much cheaper—and teach John Hunt to be less arrogant and less likely to be hit by an old-timer like me.
Mind you, Hunt’s manners made him seem possessed of plenipotential dignity when compared with a Spaniard whose name is Macaque, someone whose loud voice and showy mannerisms made him as inconspicuous as a fully dressed cardinal in a whorehouse. With an ego the size of a football field, he made it impossible for anyone to remain within hearing distance, so his table emptied quicker than you can say “monkey.”