H is a big believer in the “death of formality.” What exactly does that mean? I believe he referring to what he perceives is an overall decline in strict dress codes, 8 course dinners and the freedom with which we call each other by our first name. I suppose in a way he is right; after all I don’t leave a calling card when I stop by the neighbour’s house nor do I insist on my domestic help wearing uniforms. Yes that is true, all my employees wear exactly what they want to work. I know, I’m so gracious.
Anyway, if you so much as mention “dressing up” or “black tie” to H, he almost goes into fits.
“That’s stupid!” he cries.
“Bullshit I’m wearing a coat with tails!” he clamors.
Even at our own wedding he very nearly succeeded in avoiding a tuxedo. There were some threats, some phone calls and several hotel employees throwing him into the back of a black car destined for some South American tuxedo shoppe involved in that one.
If we go to a restaurant that requires a jacket, H takes great delight in watching the Maitre’d go scrounging around in the closet for a “loaner” that will fit him. (He has eaten dinner more times than I care to count squeezed into a blazer that looks more like a sausage casing than a coat, but hey, that’s his privilege.)
So you get what I’m saying. Tell H to wear something other than exactly what he feels like wearing at that exact moment and you are bound to witness a tantrum.
But last night he took it to a new low. Seriously. I don’t know how much further down he could actually go.
We had a friend over for dinner, a lovely pal who is near and dear to our hearts (and was closely involved in that South American black car incident) and who was gracious enough to carry H’s new suit over from the US. (It fit!!!!!) After all the necessary hugging and exclaims of delight (“How was your flight?! Missed you!”), he handed H a hanging bag.
H proceeded to remove his trousers right there in the living room. He tried on his suit and after relief and happiness all around, handed it back to me.
But he left his trousers on the floor.
And the proceeded to spend the rest of the evening sitting around in his undies, moving from sofa to dining table, glass of wine in hand, Hugo Boss snug cotton boxers flashing out from under his shirt with every breath.
"Ah, he doesn't care! Do you?" he asked our guest when I made mention of the situation.
And that, folks, is truly The Death of Formality.
By the way, speaking of politeness, catch me over at In The Powder Room today. Just a little ode to the customer service centre at British Telecom.