Sunday, May 24, 2009

she's in parties (part two)

"Members of the upper class, love the sound of breaking glass." - Maurice Barring
"A Gentleman is one who never inflicts pain." -Cardinal Newman
"Unintentionally." -Oscar Wilde
The subtle and magical art of acting up is, I am afraid , a bit of a dying art, outside of a ivied walls of the Skull and Bones "Tomb", the so called secret society at Yale University, or the bar at the Ritz in Paris on a Thursday night. Knowing the difference between acting up and acting the fool is as important as knowing the difference between Lerner and Loewe and Leopold and Loeb.
I started my own career in the art of acting up as a wee child, (until then I was just dabbling really) in an experiment that went rather well. I came bounding into the sitting room at age two, and proceeded to pull my rompers down to my ankles, bend over and called the new puppy into the room to lick my ass. All this in front of the noticeably startled Archbishop that was having tea and, until that moment, a more or less pleasant conversation with my parents at the time. I went pro a few years later when I took it upon myself to steal... excuse me, borrow, the skeleton key that my Bisnonna Tick Tock always kept with her- the key to all the rooms in her enormous plantation house, including the rooms that I, or anyone, were not allowed in- this act not only led to the rising of my starring role as the Duke of never-ending naughtiness, it also led to my fascination of all things slightly macabre and/or decorated with skulls as well as the realization that my life was to be one big Southern Gothic novel. With extra sparkles please.
I suppose it is important to explain my desire to borrow this important key from my Bisnonna; quite simple actually, I had started pretending, on a regular basis, that I was a secret KGB operative by the name of May-Ling Mitsuko, and the key was to the nuclear missile launcher. See? Doesn't that make perfect sense? Of course it does.
Truly, it is in my humble opinion that it is a basic tenant of modern manners that everyone likes to act up. There is nothing wrong with this, but remember what I have said before about rules, like table manners, and be sure you are fully aware of which rules you are breaking, as the only unforgivable acts of misbehavior are accidental. Ignorance of the law is no defence and ignorance of the laws of etiquette is a crime in itself. (punishable by unthinkable tortures like being made to wear black shoes with a brown belt for six months to a year, or worse, during The Season)

Now, if you throw a drink in the face of a congressman, it will be regarded as a political statement, or as a moral judgement if you are from New Orleans, or as an enviable thing others have been dying to do. But if you did not know he was a congressman, it will be regarded as a felonious assault. - with me so far? Oh, goody.

Once you know what you're doing is wrong, it's easy to learn how to get away with it. The first technique of misbehavior is to be cute. When generations after World War II began to act up, they wore flowers and feathers in their hair, painted their bodies with fluorescent paint, danced around in a drugged haze at city parks, and went around sticking daisies into rifle barrels. The media adored it because it was cute, but later when the same people began doing things like threatening to vote, it was necessary to give them the brown acid and kill them at Kent State. Their worst violation of course was their decision to grow old and become lawyers and congressmen, to be cute you must be young or at least appear so, even if only mentally. If you had a great big adult dog that whined all night, chewed your Manolo's to bits and piddled on Great Grand Ma-Ma's rug, you would have it put down, but when a puppy does those things it's cute. If you absolutely positively cant find it in you realm of experience to be cute, be rich.

Rich people are allowed to water stock issues, manipulate commodity prices, and trade bonds with privileged information gained on the squash court. The equivalent sort of things, when done by the poor, are called stealing. The same double standard applies to a number of other activities such as operating motor vehicles under the influence (as long as the motor vehicle is a 50 foot yacht) and creating a public nuisance, like Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in Downtown Los Angeles. We allow a great deal of latitude to the rich, this is our way of making it up to them for creating a society in which everything can be had, for a price, but indeed, nothing that is offered is worth having. (except cake) Even better than being cute or rich is being pretty.

Pretty people are forgiven absolutely everything and anything they do, There is a good reason for this, if it weren't for them, our sexual fantasies would be ever so much the duller and there would have never been the phenomenon of "Friends" and it's one-million-dollar-an-episode-a-cast-member-apiece price paid for such dull comedy.

If you are adult, homely, and what is known as poor, the best thing to do is to be charming. Try to make the bad things you do fun for absolutely everyone. If you are drinking and driving and you smash you car into someone else's car, be equipped to give the other driver a drink as well, and always be sure to offer one to the police when they arrive, although it won't keep you out of the inevitable trouble that surely will follow, it certainly makes for a more festive get-together for all parties involved.

If you lack charm, claim insanity. Being insane is an excellent way to get away with silly and impulsive behavior like throwing a shoe at the President or a running chainsaw at a lover. (toujours. ha ha.) The only problem with the insanity plea is that insanity has become so fashionable these days that you may run across a judge that is as crazy as you are and could end up in something much worse than jail, such as being bent over said judges lap wearing a pinafore and a bonnet having your ass spanked on a bi-weekly basis or a three book deal with a questionable publisher.

If none of this is working, (takes big gulp of absinthe) turn the destruction on yourself. When you have been around the dance floor at the bachelors cotillion discreetly shooting bleach out of a water pistol on the other dancers finery, don't forget your own brand new seven thousand dollar Alexander McQueen suit. You will hardly notice a difference.

When you are busting up someones collection of Boheme china birds, bust them onto your own forehead. (nothing cuts as well as bisque china, outside of coral) It's people who live in brick houses who shouldn't throw stones, for by hurting yourself you show others that what you're doing is "adorable" and "extravagant" or "uncontrollable" because of your nature, not aggressive. This, my dears, was the difference in Jim Jones on Guyana and Charlie Manson in LA, for instance. Sort of.

Speaking of suicide- and we were- that's a great ploy too, if you've been very, very bad. With a little experimentation you will find there are a dozen way to cut yourself around the wrist area and bleed all over the place without actually causing any lasting damage- other than the carpet- or, you don't actually have to do anything at all, just call a friend or someone whom has been on the receiving end of your acting up, and say that you have taken an entire bottle of Nembutal, or whatever it is the kids are doing these days. Everything will be forgiven, but of course the hospital will insist on pumping your stomach, but this will seem a small price to pay if you have checked to see what Boheme china birds are worth these days. If you decide that suicide is a bit too formal a way to pay for whatever destruction you have wrought, there is nothing wrong with paying for it in money. Alas, if you have had any real fun, full compensation will be way beyond your means. The easiest thing to do is to carry a big roll of cash around with you wherever you go. This should consist of a fifty dollar bill wrapped around about fifty one dollar bills. (anyone should be willing to pay a measly hundred dollars for a really spectacular melee in which he starred as the center of attention) Then- when you have upended your hostesses Hepplewhite chairs and piled them in the center of the room to reenact your Great Uncle's exploits at the siege of Ladysmith, and then torn down your hostesses drapes to do your impression of Armani's fall line, and used the remaining case of Beaujolais-Villages to prove to her how much better the Chinese rug would look in burgundy- then you can toss your roll of bills on the hall table and swiftly bid a fond adieu. You will be long gone by the time she has counted it, and later when she tells everyone that you didn't leave enough to cover the damages, they will think that she's trying to belittle your grand gesture.

The very last, endmost, most desperate means of getting away with misbehavior is by making an excuse. This is very risky and should be left to experts. All the world hates excuses. It starts with "The dog ate my homework" and progresses, dismally, from there. Also, an excuse only works when you have an audience that's very sympathetic to you in the first place, like your Mother. Sometimes you do something really bad- like being a Nazi, for instance- that demands some kind of excuse. Here is an exercise in excuse making which illustrates some of the difficulties. Pretend, if you can, that you are Adolph Eichmann and you are trying to excuse yourself to your Mother for having killed hundreds of thousands at Auschwitz. See if any of these excuses work:

*I was in a real rush and I just threw something together.

*Isn't that just like me? I could just kick myself!

*Ugh, I was under a lot of pressure at work.

No they don't. So. There you are.

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1.5 oz fresh Blackberry Puree
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zeitgeist, particular friend, perky libertine, animated trickster, iconoclast, rabble-rouser, object of worship, provocateur, capricious damp enchantress, idiosyncratic beloved reptile, whimsical saucy booze hound, bellwether, luminary, stoic, pensive illicit paramour, aloof, engaged, intuitive, curious, perplexing deranged mastermind, passionate, lasciviously adored offspring, amorous, sultry flamboyant charioteer, scholar, scribe, exalted thespian, voracious, considerable chieftain, impaired, cynical colleague, dreamer, procrastinator, loathsome glutton, artist, oppressed peasant, dainty heathen, narcissist, self-loathing...renaissance man