Saturday, January 4, 2003

Introducing Lord Ainsley Ffelppes-Manners, Viscount Thriplingdon

Miss Daisy gave me the cutest gift for my birthday, a sort of do-it-yourself memoir kit entitled My Fabulous Life; Musings on a Marvelous Me (Worick, Jennifer & Kerry Tessare: Chronicle Books, 2001). Like those pre-printed baby-books that one buys at Hallmark and dutifully fills out as one's first baby progresses through life (and which is usually abandoned at the onset of Baby's First Tooth... nobody has time for scrapbooks when there's a teething baby in the house), this cunning little volume comes equipped with all sorts of little "categories," with leading statements followed by several blank lines for me to fill in with my own information.

And as I peruse said cunning little volume, I discover that I am simply not fabulous enough, in myself, to fill out even one of these entries! Even in the fulness of my Marlénèness, CZs glittering madly and double-fox stole draped carelessly over one shoulder, I cannot come up with one good answer. I mean, the book starts off with a few pages entitled "The Quiz" (or, I should say *The Quiz* because everything in this book is punctuated with stars and suchlike), and it poses a number of questions that will give you an idea of just how fabulous you are. The first statement is, "My Typical Friends Are: A) SMART & FAMOUS * Nobel laureates, Oscar winners, best-selling authors; B) ULTRA GLAM * Pop stars, couture designers, celebrity nightclub owners with rap sheets; C) FILTHY RICH * hotshot producers, major league athletes, Australian media moguls; or D) HIGH-FALUTIN' * Kennedys, Argentinean polo players, diplomats."

Now what the hell am I supposed to say to that? I know loads of smart people, but not any famous people; I know a number of glamorous people, but find Ultraglam to be just a little tiring. In my social circles, great wealth is owning your own home in a neighborhood where gunshots do not ring out every night. And I wouldn't bother to know anyone who could be described as "High-Falutin'"... what an awful word! There was no category for "None of the Above."

The quiz (excuse me, *The Quiz*) goes on and on in this vein, posing quite reasonable questions and then providing multiple-choice answers that I would be embarrassed to admit to, even if one of them got anywhere near the truth of my life. Then we get into the fill-in-the-blank reminiscences, where I am invited to expound on such topics as "The Swankiest Soirée I Ever Threw," "The Greatest Compliment I've Ever Received About My Sexual Prowess," "The Primary Reason I Am Often Mistaken For A Deity," and "Pesky Royals Who Won't Leave Me Be." There isn't even one entry where I can tell the story about how I threw up on that cute Czech boy when he shoved his cock too far down my throat, or the time I fell drunkenly off the stage because I'd slipped on an ice-cube from my own cocktail.

And so, since I would love to fill out this lovely memoir (I mean, who wouldn't love to have an answer to "Coveted party invitations that I declined due to my whirlwind social calendar"?) I am going to invent another New Me: Lord Ainsley Ffelppes-Manners, the twelfth Viscount Thriplingdon. His lordship will have to fill out the blanks of the cunning little volume himself, and the rest of us Mannerses will just sit here and giggle at him.

In the coming weeks (or months, or however long it takes me to tire of this conceit), we will be perusing the pages of My Fabulous Life; Musings on a Marvelous Me as provided by our dear young English cousin Lord Ainsley. We will learn all about his jet-set travels and romances, his homes of Ffelpford Castle in Buckinghamshire and Thriplingdon House in St. James Square, some history of the Viscountcy of Thriplingdon, and any other bits and pieces of trivia his lordship chooses to bestow upon us. Here is the first installment of pages:


    Musings on a Marvelous Me

    This book is the exclusive property of:
      Ainsley Augustus Ffelppes-Manners

      12 Viscount Thriplingdon

      Ffelpford Castle, Great Fickling, Bucks

      Thriplingdon House, St. James Square, SW1

    *The Quiz*

    1. My Typical Friends Are:

    A) SMART & FAMOUS * Nobel laureates, Oscar winners, best-selling authors.

    B) ULTRA GLAM * Pop stars, couture designers, celebrity nightclub owners with rap sheets.

    C) FILTHY RICH * hotshot producers, major league athletes, Australian media moguls.

    D) HIGH-FALUTIN' * Kennedys, Argentinean polo players, diplomats.
      Actually, my dears, I have good friends in all of these categories... for example, there is a certain Australian media mogul-in-training with whom I spent a torrid week in Tierra del Fuego, I’ve known entire Argentine polo teams, and I have been featured on the dedications page of more than one Pulitzer-prize-winning novel… but my really best friends are drawn from the ultra-fabulous demimonde of party-givers, designers, celebutantes, and stars with more shine than talent. They are so much easier to meet than dusty old academics and security-enshrouded tycoons; they have ever so much more time on their hands, time that can be spent lunching at the Ritz or dancing on Ischia instead of playing at politics or making endlessly dreary chemical experiments for the furtherment of humankind. Too too yawn-making!

    2. My Typical Marriage Proposal Involves:

    A) Fireworks, skywriting, eloquent begging on bended knee.

    B) A whirlwind courtship, a romantic getaway, and a rock the size of Texas.

    C) Surprise side note in a State of the Union Address.

    D) Abdication of the throne.
      I will have to leave this one blank, as no one has yet proposed marriage to me (though less "honorable" proposals have been made... and accepted), and I am not yet ready to settle down and choose my Viscountess (and I will have to do so someday, as only legitimate children can inherit titles, and it would be a shame to let such an old title die... though one wonders superstitiously what it would be like to be the "unlucky" 13th Viscount). When the time comes, though, I hope I will be able to put it across in a rather more gentlemanly manner than the choices above afford. I know that meetings with solicitors and genealogists and trustees aren't "romantic," but that is the way things are done.

    3. My Typical Soirée:

    A) WHARTON-ESQUE * Engraved invitations, white gloves, double-entendres in the parlor.

    B) GATSBY-ESQUE * Japanese lanterns, endless martinis, alfresco dining under the stars.

    C) 54-ESQUE * Disco balls, go-go-dancers, a velvet rope to keep out the riffraff.

    D) FAIRYTALE-ESQUE * A brilliant entrance, a wave of the “magic wand,” and then days of hot pursuit.
      This would depend entirely on where I was entertaining, and whom; I usually entertain in the Gatsby manner when I’m down at the Castle, where I like to keep things informal and fun…though I sometimes resort to the Wharton manner when entertaining literary wits or the County; in Town I usually do the Disco touch, since Thriplingdon House is a little too poky for very large parties (and the velvet rope isn't to keep the riffraff out... it's to keep the ugly people out. Riffraff make all the fun!)

    4. My Typical Friday Night Date:

    A) Champagne and oysters at a cozy French bistro; the conversation sparkles!

    B) Champagne and oysters on a cozy French tycoon; the chemistry sparkles!

    C) My date comes to see my sold-out show; my song-stylings sparkle!

    D) Whisked away on the Concorde; the City of Light sparkles!
      This one was a little too obvious… I don’t know that I would care to dine on a tycoon that could be described as “cozy”… I have a vision of myself sucking a raw oyster off some middle-aged industrialist’s hairy belly, and I simply gag. Fortunately, the Pater left me well enough financially that tycoons are not a necessity. I don’t sing, not in public anyway, so that’s not possible. And I don’t care for the Concorde… there isn’t anywhere in the world worth going at such a speed! I much prefer liners or trains for travel.

    5. My Typical Job Offer:

    A) Celebrity party-planner in the Hamptons.

    B) Olympic athlete, carrying the torch for my country.

    C) Personal fashion muse to Donatella Versace.

    D) Crowned sovereign.
      Another no-brainer! I don’t care for the Hamptons (too much salt air ruins my hair); I only ever carried a torch for Neddie Rustlewhaite, the sweetest and handsomest prefect at Eton; and though Donatella needs all the help she can get, I don’t think I could spend every day looking at that Hermès handbag she calls a complexion. Besides, "H" is more likely, as I am currently 475th in line for the throne of Greece (though I can’t think why… something to do with having Victoria Regina and some sort of Magyar Bourbon perched in the old Family Tree). I don't know how good I'd be at government, but I am already very popular in Greece.

    6. My Typical Saturday With The Family:

    A) Rolling in our money in the den.

    B) Dodging paparazzi on the ski slopes.

    C) Tugging at formalwear at another movie premier.

    D) Flying to Camp David on Air Force One.
      Unfortunately, my parents were taken when I was but twelve years old, flash-frozen in a freak accident while touring a prepared-foods factory in Arizona that they were considering for investment purposes (the ensuing settlement bankrupted the company, sadly, but happily afforded me to completely restore both of the family homes and pay the estate taxes without disturbing my trust-funds). But when the Mater and Pater were still about, we often attended first-nights and film premières together (though I never tugged at my clothes... only at the clothes of others, and then certainly not when family were present).

    7. My Typical Getaway:

    A) Spreeing hard in the Big Apple.

    B) Whirlwind trip to the Galapagos Islands.

    C) Trapeze training with Cirque de Soleil.

    D) The Grand Tour of Europe, à la E.M. Forster.
      Well, they did ask for "typical," and I've done the good old Grand Tour so many times that it has almost become dreary. But then, I've often "spree'd" in New York as well, and I dated a trapeze artist once (though not with the famous Cirque... it was a travelling Russian troupe). I can't imagine going to the Galapagos, though... I thought the Galapagos were just a bunch of rocks with tortoises and Darwinists all over them.

    8. My Typical Style:

    A) Classic elegance of Audrey Hebpurn or Cary Grant.

    B) Ghetto-trendy flash of Jennifer Lopez and Puff Daddy.

    C) Downtown chic of Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck.

    D) High maintenance, well-groomed look of Elizabeth Hurley or Rupert Everett.
      This little book is a trifle out of date, now that Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are an item. I almost chose the classic elegance option, but then my occasional trip into avante-garde couture and outrageous costumery would negate that style as "typical." Besides, I do love dear Rupert, and if I had to be a woman, I would want to be much like Elizabeth Hurley.

    9. My Typical Birthday Gift:

    A) Blue-chip stock.

    B) Chartered plane to a remote yet luxurious mountain retreat.

    C) Next year's model of a sporty BMW.

    D) Keys to Cartier!
      I had to choose D because I have received more birthday gifts from Cartier than in the form of stocks, though my Uncle Algernon gave me a sporty little Jaguar for my eighteenth (I wouldn't be caught dead driving a BMW, even if it was a gift... I will only drive English cars, or in a pinch something Italian), and I have on more than one occasion been flown to remote locations by my various gentleman friends for a birthday treat.

    10. My Typical Personal Appearance Request:

    A) Entertaining the troops at a USO Show.

    B) Impressing the jury at a hot rapper's court appearance.

    C) Breaking the champagne against the bow of a rich sheik's yacht.

    D) Vanity Fair cover story, with photos by Herb Ritts.
      I've only ever entertained military personnel in twos and threes, never a whole troop! I've never met a rapper, and I would never appear in court if I could help it. And sadly, with dear talented Herb's passing this year (on my birthday, no less!), he'll never get me on the cover of 'VF'. But while I've never christened a rich sheik's yacht, I have christened my own yacht as well as the airplane of a dear, dear friend from college.


    A=1 point, B=2 points, C=3 points, and D=4 points.
      Well, let's see... splitting the difference on question 3, I score 27.5, which gives me two out of four little coronets on the "Fab-O-Meter." Not too shabby, I suppose. But then, the end of the quiz tells me that my score is irrelevant, since all answers are fabulous in their own way, "just like you!" Well, really, why waste my valuable time with the scoring if it means nothing? Silly daft book. I already know I'm fabulous, thank you.

    Me in "costume" ~ there wasn't really much to it ~ for my notorious Leather & Lace Ball, Winter 2001

No comments:

Post a Comment