THE BUSH LEAGUE COMPLEX
Toronto society, like the author, is WASPish, provincial and not easily amused
When other writers press me to explain why I am the most incorrigible social climber in Toronto, I am driven to confess that it is partly because I am not quite a gentleman. My father’s family came from Oswaldtwistle, my mother’s from Giggleswick, and I was brought up in suburban Manchester on the brink of a ravine named Boggart Hole Clough. Fugitives from such parochial and proletarian quarters of Lancashire and Yorkshire may suffer from an inferiority complex and try to compensate themselves by seeking association with persons of rank, riches and renown.
Early in life I showed symptoms of this affliction. At the age of 10 my ego was inflated by an invitation to a children’s fancy dress ball in the residence of the first Viscount Leverhulme, the inventor of a famous boot polish and founder of Lever Brothers Ltd. Long before I came to Canada, a quarter of a century ago, I counted as feathers in my cap the facts that I went to school with Sir Geoffrey Jackson; received nods in the street from Sir William Cocker; worked alongside Sir John Foster Fraser; soldiered with Sir Gyles Isham; received a wedding gift from the Baroness Summerskill; stood at the altar as best man for Lord Ardwick of Barnes; accepted a literary accolade from the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres; made lifelong friends of the Duke and Duchess of St. Albans; and sat in Westminster Abbey for the Coronation of
George VI and the marriage of Elizabeth II.
I defend my ungentlemanly proclivity for name-dropping by arguing that my interest in high society is as clinical as it is emotional. As a society columnist on the now defunct Toronto Telegram I demonstrated through my readership ratings that in the human zoo the most intriguing activities take place on the higher perches. Blue blood and big bank balances arouse more curiosity than lowly birth and welfare cheques. The most evil patrician receives more homage than the most saintly plebian. And an artistocrat will always cow a democrat.
Even though I am on first-name terms with about half the women and men in Toronto Society I still feel nervous when I first sit down below a Gainsborough, on a French Directoire chair, before an Adam’s fireplace, with my feet on an Aubusson rug and my fingers around a Murano glass by Giuseppe Briati. It is not until I have had about four drinks that I begin to relax into forms of behavior and speech that betray one who is not quite a gentleman.
Toronto society may be polite but it is not prim. This is why so few other writers understand it. They are astonished and confused when they discover that Toronto society does not cringe at the sound of four-letter words. Even such rich writers as Arthur Hailey, Pierre Berton and Gordon Sinclair, who can be earthy enough among the rag, tag and bobtail of their own profession, become, in the company of the upper crust, painfully prudent and punctilious.
I have seen other writers, painters and performers gazing in mingled wonder and wistfulness around the salons of Forest Hill Village, Rosedale, York Mills and Bayview. Toronto society men don’t care much for artistic celebrities, but society women invite them home as promotional exhibits at fund-raising parties or to give their friends un nouveau frisson. None of these celebrities is ever so dégagé as Roloff Beny, the photographer from Medicine Hat, Alberta, who receives more society patronage than any other Canadian paragon. Beny, who commutes between his apartment in Rome and the homes of his rich benefactors in Toronto, unabashedly admits that he cultivates the fashionable, wealthy citizens because they are “more amusing” than obscure people and “more responsive to taste, art and intellect.”
Robertson Davies, the author, an owner of the Kingston Whig-Standard and the Master of Massey College, University of Toronto, is deemed by Toronto society to be the artist of the highest caste because he is the son of the late Senator Rupert Davies, a man who was rich enough to own a castle in Wales. Illustrious ancestry, or riches, rapidly may elevate even a New Canadian from continental Europe to the society of Toronto’s once exclusive and reclusive British elite. But some immigrants of modest birth and means are accepted for their charm alone. Typical of these are the Yugoslavs Hedy and Francis Stevens, who contrive to live with superb taste in a small Forest Hill duplex on an industrial chemist’s salary. A rich matron once criticized the Stevenses as being “people who have no poor friends.” I said: “What is the point in cultivating poor friends if one has plenty of rich ones?”
Richest of all the ethnic couples are Sonja and Thomas Bata, owners of the globe-encircling company that manufactures and retails inexpensive shoes. Some New Canadians pose as aristocrats. Others are genuine. About a score of noblemen, from Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Germany, possess impeccable credentials and are accepted by Toronto society. To name a few: the Hungarian Count Zichy, the Czechoslovaks Baron Parish, Baron Nadherny and Count Dobrzensky, the German Barons von
Herrmann, von Möller, von Wiethenau, von Diergardt, von Spee, after whose family a celebrated and ill-fated World War II German battleship was named, and von Richthofen, a racehorse trainer and a cousin of the storied World War I air ace.
A gentleman would hesitate to draw comparisons between the relative eminence of these sensitive people, but I say bluntly that the most important birthright is that of an Ontario provincial government civil servant named Tikhon Kulikovsky. His mother was the late Grand Duchess Olga, a sister of the last Czar of Russia. His father was an untitled White Russian colonel. The most regal of all Torontonians, of course, is Mrs. Bronislaw Chrobok, wife of an immigrant stockbroker. Mrs. Chrobok is Princess Marie Luise of Bulgaria. Her father was Boris, the last king to occupy the Bulgarian throne. Her brother is Simeon II, the exiled King of Bulgaria who lives in Madrid. Princess Marie’s maternal grandfather was Victor Emmanuel, the penultimate King of Italy.
Oddly enough, however, the continental Europeans who are sent to Toronto by their companies rank higher in society than the immigrants. The bosses of MercedesBenz, Volkswagen, Fiat, Renault and Volvo, for example, embody the attraction of power. They control money and exercise influence. Few foreign credentials impress Toronto society more than a large salary and a long payroll. Outstanding in this foreign nobs’ corner is Lanfranco Amato, the six-foot-seven Milanese who helped the biggest typewriter company in Italy to take over the biggest in the United States and then became president of Olivetti Canada Ltd.
The richer and better educated ethnic groupers mingle frequently with the 50-odd representatives of the Consular Corps. These emissaries, particularly at the annual Consular Ball, when Lieutenant-Governor William Ross Macdonald is guest of honor and decorations are worn, impart to the assembly a cosmopolitan glitter and diplomatic cachet. The British Trade Commissioner, who ranks as a consul general, is deemed to be the most important diplomat. The present incumbent, R. McCartney Samples, a World War II air hero, was preceded by Geoffrey Jackson, my old schoolmate,
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who became Ambassador to Uruguay, spent eight months in guerrilla captivity and then was rewarded for his sangfroid with a knighthood.
Career consuls of smaller countries do not rank so high among Toronto’s olympians as the Canadian-born honorary consuls, who enjoy the social distinction that abides in amateur status. They must spend money in time, secretarial assistance, office space and entertaining to serve as unpaid diplomats. Before accepting the post of honorary consul for The Lebanon, an Arab country, J. K. Abraham, a Toronto textile millionaire, had to consider the risks to his business of possible hostility on the part of valued Jewish customers. Abraham, who is of Christian-Lebanese descent, took the risk and lost nothing. He protects his business and the country he represents with remarkable diplomacy and for this reason is highly esteemed.
A person of overseas birth, aspiring to a place in Toronto society, still derives some advantage from being British and fairly well off.
Harry Burroughs, a stockbroker, whose wife Edna owns the old-English-type Oban Inn at Niagara-onthe-Lake, is popular because he is unpretentious. A successful English immigrant, who once handicapped himself socially by affecting an harrumphing, scoffing, bug-eyed air of incredulity in the presence of supposed “lower orders,” is David ScottAtkinson, owner of a public relations business. When he first came to Canada Scott-Atkinson even wore a monocle for reading. On discovering that this appendage infuriated to the point of apoplexy the Torontonians he was trying to impress Scott-Atkinson quickly abandoned it. Toronto society soon discovered that Scott-Atkinson, in spite of his arrogant affectations, is in reality a man of great exuberance and brilliant wit, a merrymaker who blows up gales of laughter wherever he goes.
One of Scott-Atkinson’s cronies is another British immigrant, Peter Swann, director of the Royal Ontario Museum. Swann runs a monthly luncheon club whose 21 members are reputed to be outstanding conversationalists. A little more august, perhaps, is John Crosby Lockwood, president of Lever Brothers Ltd., who, with his tall magnetic wife, is a leading patron of the performing arts and a celebrated collector of paintings. An even more illustrious British recruit to Toronto society is John A. Worsley, an investment dealer and scion of an ancient Yorkshire family. Worsley’s sister, Katharine, is married to the Duke of Kent and is therefore the
mother of children of royal blood.
The Torontonian with the most royal blood of England is the onetime harum-scarum Lady Iris Mountbatten Kemp, a cousin of the Queen. A few years ago, Lady Iris, a tall dark beauty, married a Canadian radio station executive and divorced him some weeks later. Although she sends her children of an earlier marriage to private schools in England, Lady Iris has settled in Toronto because she “adores it.” As a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria Lady Iris’s entrée to Toronto society is automatic.
There was a time when the exclusion of Jews from Toronto society was equally automatic. Now scores of Jews stand far higher up the social peak than some of the most strenuous Gentile alpinists. Sydney Hermant, owner of an optical company, a graduate of a private school, and an enthusiastic participant in the highly approved games of amateur tennis and cricket, has even been mentioned as a possible Governor General of Canada. Edwin Mirvish and his talented sculptor wife, Anne, are the millionaire owners of Honest Ed’s discount department store, a unique application of show biz to the retail trade. Today they are lionized in Toronto society because they bought and preserved the fine old Royal Alexandra Theatre when it was in danger of demolition.
Ben Dunkelman, a World War II officer with an heroic combat record in the Canadian army, and a no less gallant record in the Zionist army that accelerated the establishment of Israel, deeply impressed Toronto society when he gave up a good job in the family firm, Tip Top Tailors, to open one of the most aesthetic art galleries in the city. Two Jewish widows, Mrs. Egmont Frankel and Mrs. Gurston Allen, are prominent at horse races, tennis tournaments, theatrical first nights and medical charity parties.
But none of the foregoing Torontonians enjoys as much esteem in society as the highly paid, Canadianborn, Gentile executives and selfmade millionaires who participate in cultural life. I write of such couples as Lucille and Karl Scott (Ford cars and show-ring hunters); Rosemary and Charles Rathgeb (construction, racing cars and ballooning and biggame hunting); Jeanne and John C. Parkin (architecture, engineering, museums and art galleries); Rosemary and Robert Chisholm (supermarkets, symphony concerts, art collections and social life in Rome); Helen and Paul Phelan (aviation catering, travel, yachting); Marjorie and R. W. Finlayson (imports, art
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OUR TOWN continued
collections, horticulture and haute cuisine); Elizabeth and Brigadier W. Preston Gilbride (insurance, steeplechasers, fishing, travel); Frances and William D. Flatch (racehorses, yachting, oceanography); Helen and St. Clair Balfour (Southam newspapers, theatre, naval affairs and medical charities); and Mary and G. E. Bunnett (Simpsons fashions, ballet, horticulture).
Familiar links between the artistic and the moneyed establishments are Floyd Chalmers, chancellor of York University, Jack McClelland, publisher, and John Bassett, until recently owner of the Toronto Telegram. Chalmers is the most admired because he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the performing arts. McClelland is the most popular because he is the most convivial and gregarious. Bassett is the most feared because he doesn’t seem to give a damn what people think of him. Bassett evinces, in stronger measure than his peers, a characteristic of men in Toronto society, an undisguised air of impatience with persons of dimmer wit.
Once, Bassett, driving a friend to the Stratford Shakespearean Festival via the back roads, lost his way. On seeing a farmer in a field Bassett stopped his Rolls-Royce and asked, “Are we okay for Stratford?” The farmer scratched his head. Bassett said: “Well, whereabouts are we
now?” The farmer continued to ponder. “Good God, man,” yelled Bassett, “don’t you know where you live?” The farmer replied: “I might not know enough to answer all your questions as quick as you ask them, Mr. Bassett, but I know enough not to get lost.”
Having written up to this level of Toronto society the gentlemanly journalist would shrink from any further gradings. But I say without a blush that here the officers of the four most prestigious militia regiments, the Governor General’s Horse Guards, the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, the 48th Highlanders of Canada and the Royal Regiment of Canada, fit into place.
In Canada, as in Britain, the cavalry takes precedence over the infantry, and in the infantry the blackbuttoned rifle regiments take precedence over the light infantry and the infantry of the line. So as Honorary Lieut.-Colonel of the GGHG, John W. Graham, QC, is the amateur soldier with the most “quiff.” Immediately behind him, were they to stand in line to meet the Queen, would be J. G. K. Strathy, OBE, ED, CD, an investment dealer and Colonel of the Regiment, QORs.
As he ascends higher still in Toronto social life, the parvenu begins to shiver a little in the chill of appraising stares. Now he is at the altitude of the indubitable toffs, the heirs to old family fortunes.
The boys tend to be educated at Upper Canada College, Trinity College School, Ridley, St. Andrew’s, Appleby, University of Toronto Schools and St. Michael’s; and the girls at Bishop Strachan School, Havergal College, Branksome Hall, St. Clement’s and Loretto. From their teens onward the youngsters who have slurped up Pablum from the heaviest silver spoons enjoy the privilege of membership in two family recreational institutions known as the Badminton and Racquet Club and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. Those spoon-fed from lighter utensils must content themselves with the less distinguished Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club and the Granite Club. It is possible in Toronto society to be a member of another family club, the lakeside Boulevard Club, without suffering much more humiliation than the burn of a compassionate smile.
Of the colleges at the University of Toronto, the one socialites favor most is Trinity, which is Anglican. As in most other cities of the old British Empire the leading citizens are Anglicans. But in Toronto society there is a larger percentage than elsewhere of United churchgoers, citizens descended from the Presbyterians of Scotland and the Wesleyans and Methodists of Northern England.
At university, students from Toronto society are expected to get over the first excitement of drinking and to learn to carry their liquor in the Zeta Psi Fraternity, affectionately known as “the drunken Zetes.” On graduation these young bucks go into the family business or into associated businesses run by relatives and friends, so that an early vice-presidential position is assured. Every major industry is represented in Toronto society. Stockbroking and the law dominate it. Society does not frown upon the man who succeeds by study, intellect, diligence, talent or adroitness. It looks upon him with admiration, but not with any desire to emulate him. Toronto society believes that a man who must work hard to keep up appearances is not of the same ilk as the man who lives largely on his dividends. He is not free to nip off for a month to Palm Beach, London, Cape Town or Hong Kong, not free to ride to hounds or sail a yacht on weekdays. He is forever worried about what is going on at the office and therefore is less relaxed and en-
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gaging than the man who merely pops into his office for a couple of hours two or three times a week.
Sooner or later youngsters at this level of society find a vacancy in one of the gentlemen’s clubs which, with my notorious ill-breeding, I list again in order of eminence: Toronto, York, Ontario, National. Some of these youngsters will also become members of the Jockey Club at Woodbine racetrack, of the Toronto and North York or Eglinton Hunt Clubs, of the Mount Royal Club in Montreal, of Buck’s, White’s or the Turf in Londón, and of
the Everglades or Seminole Golf, Palm Beach. Clubs of this calibre provide their members with a haven from job hunters, seekers of capital, petitioners for favors, spongers and other lobbyists. Members take luncheon in the club not merely to make deals but to avoid the importunate. They go to restaurants only with great reluctance. Leading men in Toronto hate restaurants known as “smart” or “gourmet.” As often as not the male socialite will go home for luncheon and not return to his office. A proper Toronto society home should have at
least four bedrooms and three bathrooms, and be of stone or brick in Georgian, Colonial, Regency or earlyVictorian style. Houses should be located in Rosedale, Forest Hill, York Mills or Bayview but downtown town houses, rebuilt old slum dwellings, may be acceptable. Preferred furnishings are English Queen Anne, Hepplewhite, Adam, Chippendale and Sheraton, or French Louis XV, Louis XVI, Directoire or Empire. An odd Tudor, Spanish, Italian or Chinese piece may be tolerated. Color motifs should be beige, champagne and gilt. Paintings and drawings should be Old Masters, old paintings by non-Masters, Impressionist school and Representational work by Contemporary Artists commanding high fees. Abstract art is considered risky. When buying furniture and objets d’art Toronto society asks itself: “Will the item become more valuable every year?” Most Toronto socialites’ homes appear to the outsider to be identical, the criterion being a reproduction in miniature of the atmosphere of Buckingham Palace.
The chatelaines of these congenial and commodious residences are encouraged by their husbands to take all the glory in the gossip columns. The husbands pretend to only a perfunctory or benevolent interest in the social merry-go-round though secretly they appreciate the publicity given to business interests by their wives’ activities as hostesses. Thus Mrs. This or Mrs. That frequently is more familiar by name to the general public than her husband.
Gossip writers are accustomed to naming as organizers of charity first nights such women as Mesdames Hamilton Cassels Jr., Patrick Cassels, Charles Leger, Graham Morrow, Robert Macaulay, John Weir, Arthur H. Wait, Michael Osborne, Neil J. McKinnon, John Tory, David Kinnear, Alan Marchment, Jack Spanton, Fred Gaby, Ian Rogers, George Mara, Leonard Lumbers and Michael Taylor. The most celebrated organizer of first nights, before her advertising executive husband died last year, was Mrs. George Mulligan.
The wholly professional writer who exercises the strongest influence on Toronto society is Zena Cherry, a columnist for the Globe and Mail. As the daughter of a successful medical doctor and the wife of W. Westcott Cherry, a magnate in the container industry, Mrs. Cherry is of society rather than its observer. Her impressive social connections enable her to scoop regularly the gossip writers of other newspapers with stories about impending weddings, picnics, parties and balls.
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The John A. McDougalds and the Churchill Manns, with the E. P. Taylors and the J. Harold Crangs, are the high panjandrums of Toronto’s horse and cattle set and therefore near the apex of society.
At Green Meadows, his 220-acre farm within the limits of Metropolitan Toronto, “Bud” McDougald, who is reputed to be worth more than $200 million, has played host to the Duke of Edinburgh. There he breeds racehorses.
At his View Hulloa Farms in King Township, C. Churchill Mann, once the owner of Joker’s Hill, now the property of Murray Koffler, breeds such magnificent hunters that for years his were the only mounts used by the Canadian Equestrian Team. General Mann also breeds Aberdeen Angus cattle.
At his former farm Windfields, E. P. Taylor (who now spends most of his time in Nassau) bred Northern Dancer. At Taylor’s present farm, the National Stud, near Oshawa, Northern Dancer begat Nijinsky, winner of the Triple Crown of English racing (the Two Thousand Guineas, the Derby and the St. Leger) in 1970 and one of the greatest racehorses the world has ever known.
At Glenville Farms, Newmarket, J. Harold Crang breeds Guernsey dairy cattle and earns a profit from their milk. On the morning after the Eglinton and North York Hunt Ball, Crang opens his lands to the revelers, who change directly from evening dress into hunting pinks and ride to hounds. Last November I was a guest at the Crang farm when 75 muddy men and women came back from the field and trooped into the beautiful old house, pink cheeked and exhilarated, for a hunt breakfast, while servants outside coaxed steaming horses into vans. In an ambience of roaring log fires, paneled walls, oil paintings, crystal, silver, whiskey and roast oxen, the scene suggested an interior from a collection of 18th-century English sporting prints.
Among the horsemen were 78year-old Clifford Sifton, the newspaper publisher, and his son Michael, Canada’s leading polo player. One of the great beauties was Mrs. John Addison who rides Highland Wedding, a hunter that won England’s Grand National in 1969 for her father, the financier C. F. W. Burns. Of wellknown families of gentleman farmers, families named Rough, Code, Baker, Gayford, Dunlap, Cudney, Elder, Southam, Beasley, McGuinness and Shortill, there were several representatives. The guests of honor were Lord and Lady Somerleyton, judges of hunters from England.
That night most of the guests
would go back to Toronto for the final events of the Royal Horse Show at the Royal Winter Fair, the annual gala of Canada’s nearest approximation to a landed aristocracy.
On each of the eight nights of the show the boxes, most of which have been held for generations by leading families, are full of men in white ties, top hats, decorations, and the tailed, formal, uniform coats of different hunts, and of women in long gowns, mink wraps and jewels. Through the yeasty compound of smells from tanbark, dung, leather and sweat drifts an occasional heady whiff of Guerlain, Rochas or Chanel. A military band plays romantic ballads and, on vice-regal evenings, martial music. Then, each on his own evening, the Governor General or the LieutenantGovernor arrives, the former in a four-horse carriage, with a mounted escort of his own horse guards wearing plumed silver helmets and breastplates and carrying lances tipped with fluttering pennants. As God Save The Queen is played, one hears Americans gasping and Canadians saying devoutly: “Thank God we’re a monarchy.”
Even the swells who don’t care overmuch for horses attend the fair on at least one night, and these include the George Drews and Donald Early and his wife, Mary, who is one of Canada’s richest women and most elegant hostesses. Mary Early, whose money comes from oil, excels every other woman in Toronto society at organizing fund-raising parties, her pet institutions being the Royal Ontario Museum and the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Mrs. Early’s parties are so large and sumptuous that intervals of two or three years must elapse between each one as a guard against surfeit. Her last big party was the Baroque Ball at the Royal Ontario Museum for that institution’s Acquisitions Fund. Tickets were $50 per person. There are tentative plans for a Diamond Jubilee Ball, to celebrate the ROM’s 60th anniversary next fall, tickets for which will cost $200 a couple.
The most frequent comment made about Mary Early is that “she gets everybody working.” Once, the premier of Ontario, William Davis, went with his wife to Florida, determined to enjoy a rest. By chance the Davis couple met the Earlys, who persuaded them to spend a few days at the Early house in Palm Beach.
On the morning of the first day at the Early house the Davises found themselves working. Suddenly realizing that he was being deprived of
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his rest Davis cried to his wife : “What the hell are we supposed to be doing?” Mrs. Davis said: “We’re cataloguing Mary Early’s china.”
Even though it is ill-mannered of me to raise the matter, I must point out that Mrs. Early is eclipsed in social eminence by Mrs. John David (Signy) Eaton, whose husband, the department store owner, is one of the richest men on earth.
Mrs. Eaton is the most unobtrusive patron of the arts in Toronto society. She is almost secretive about who and what she supports. It is well known, however, that she subsidized Roloff Beny in his production of the Canadian Centennial book To Every Thing There Is A Season. She also collects soapstone owls carved by the blind Eskimo sculptor Tudlik. Last fall Mrs. Eaton occasioned some surprise by openly participating in the organization of an exhibition of jewelry at the Art Gallery of Ontario and allowing herself to be photographed modeling one of the pieces. Usually she dodges photographers.
Gentle in manner and quiet of speech, Mrs. Eaton frequently passes unnoticed at parties by persons who are unacquainted with her. Some guests who recognize her hover about her in the hope of getting an introduction.
About Mrs. Eaton there is always a certain sibilant hush, an aura of reverence, a depth of homage accorded elsewhere only to royalty. Signy Eaton is the uncrowned queen of Canada.
Because I know all these things about Toronto society I constantly am accused of being a snob, especially by writers and television performers who have made fortunes out of pandering to the banalities and vulgarities of the plodding masses.
When the Toronto Telegram folded, one of the scandal sheets — I forget whether it was Flash, Hush or Flush — exulted: “Now the snob columnist McKenzie Porter will have to go back into his father’s business, a fish-and-chip shop in the slums of Manchester.”
I have never been quite so snobbish as the writer of this item, who implies that some social stigma is attached to selling fish and chips in the slums of Manchester. I see no difference in principle between selling fish and chips in the slums of Manchester and selling lobster in Eaton’s Hostess Shop, Toronto.
Although I relish fish and chips I prefer lobster, and herein lies a further explanation of my zest for social climbing. I am no less a social climber than any other primate, though I have never gone quite so far in my endeavors as the orangutan, which ingloriously picks the nits out of its leader’s scrotum.
For reasons that are not clear to me it is considered bad manners to confess to social climbing. It is considered equally lamentable to be candid about one’s honors as I am candid about winning the Military Cross in World War II and about being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. I write the letters MC and FRSA after my name impenitently, because they prove that even if I am not quite a gentleman I am at least an officer and a scholar. And even though I may not have attained the gentleman’s status, I have to date lived a rich and complete and exceedingly elegant life. It is because of this life, reader, that my generosity moves me to give unto you graciously certain tips that will make you more like me.
So pay attention:
Dress soberly and expensively. Be sexy with subtlety. Speak firmly and clearly. Never mumble. Be lighthearted and quick to laugh. Listen intently to other speakers and butt in only when you have something compelling to say. Flatter other speakers by asking them questions that prolong their own line of talk. Never be pushy for introductions. Intrigue important strangers by catching their eye for a moment and smiling courteously. Do not be afraid to say: “I’m sorry I didn’t catch your name.” Never try to assess a person’s status by asking him where he lives. Never talk about yourself until you are invited so to do with questions. Never drop names. Never gossip about anybody who is unknown to one or more persons in your immediate group. Never talk about children, travel, homes or business unless somebody else opens the topic. Offer to work, if a suitable opening occurs, for cultural or charitable institutions. Buy all the tickets you can afford for great society gatherings.
Do not feel ashamed of social climbing or attempt to conceal such ambitions. You are a primate. ■