Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Sexual Misconduct in the World of the Rich!

"I have nothing but respect for you...and very little of that!" - Groucho Marx

It's all over the news these days - prominent men in Hollywood, the media, and both federal and state governments are being taken to task by women they've sexually harassed or abused on their way to the top. Almost every day we hear allegations about some iconic figure that shakes us to our roots.

Historians will likely tell us that from a sociological and historical perspective, this door was apparently opened when our current president was elected in spite of multiple assault allegations being lodged against him. Suddenly women everywhere, in every industry, are finally standing up and saying "Enough!"

The imbalanced power dynamic between the rich and poor has been around since time began. And don't worry, I'm not about to launch into a sophomoric examination of the master-slave relationship. There are already dozens of articles online about why the rich and powerful think they can get away with anything and their befuddled, if not perverse, psychologies behind it.

But from my vantage here working in a home for a divorced billionaire, I can tell you some first hand jaw-dropping observations about my philandering old employer that might shed some light. He's already up into his 70's but still going strong - as long as they keep making Viagra. And while he's hardly as corrupt as Roman emperor Caligula, his predatory behavior toward women is decidedly questionable.

I've mentioned all the women rotating in and out here, as if we had a revolving door like a fancy hotel. Which keeps us all busy changing sheets and trying to eliminate perfume odors before the next lady friend arrives. Mercifully these days, however, he tends to focus on one woman at a time - which might last for a few weeks or a few months. All of which is much easier on us of course. But here's what we've noticed about all of them, and how he puts them all through the very same paces.

Phase One: He overwhelms them with all his toys; his three-story mansion, the luxury cars in his garages, his private jet and helicopter, travel to his other homes in the US and the apartment in Paris, plus top-dollar shopping and restaurants all over the world. (Due to a queasy stomach he's not the super-yacht kind of guy, thank God. I would seriously loathe being stuck out on a boat with him for days on end!)

Phase Two: After a short while his current love interest is issued her own credit card to buy whatever she pleases. (My spy confidant at the corporate office keeps me informed about these things, as well as the lady's spending habits when the bills come in.)

Phase Three: He buys her a new car. And we're talking a Lexus or Mercedes here, not a Mazda. (I'm the one who has to keep track of all the vehicles around here; routine maintenance, inspection, registration. So this is always a new stress coming in.)

But then suddenly the vacuous old man runs out of toys to intrigue her, or perhaps someone else catches his eye. Which triggers...

Phase Four: "Goodbye, go away, keep the car!" (The credit card gets cancelled. The car title is transferred. And I'm done with having to track that car!)

The thing is, while all his dalliances are among consenting adults, it doesn't numb the emotional pain when he suddenly dumps one of  them and moves on to the next. These women begin to believe they've found their dream husband, and it hurts them so badly to find out they've just been used to temporarily gratify his lust. Sadly, I get texts and phone call for days and weeks from these women, wondering what they had done wrong, or how to get back in. To which there is no answer.

I can't really analyze my employer's complicated psychology beyond the usual narcissistic personality disorder. However, his annoying sense of entitlement apparently allows him to think he can toy with any woman and get away with it - as long as he picks up all the tabs along the way and hands over the car title at the end, like some kind of payoff.

To date, none of these women have stood up publicly to denounce him, like what's going on in the news - much to the old man's relief, I'm sure. While I'm no one's judge, the whole sordid mess seems a little sad and pathetic to me, for everyone involved.

Thanks for stopping by this evening. I hope your holiday plans will be a little more heart warming than all the craziness going on around here. :)



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Christmas Gifts for the Rich: The Orient Express!

In September I mentioned a few items that might be great gifts for the super rich. It's really hard to buy for them, you know? Considering they already have everything under the sun, right?

But thanks to our Twitter pal Jim Kendall (luxury real-estate mogul in Boston) it occurs to me that the gift of travel could be entirely unique and well received by our rich friends - if presented carefully and in the right way. Who doesn't love to get out of town and do something different, right?

For example, how about open tickets (meaning 'at your convenience' ) for a ten-day holiday on a luxury Mediterranean cruise ship? (Which is generally under $50,000 per couple.)

And then, how about open reservations for a six-day revitalization visit to the luxury spa Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland? Who wouldn't appreciate that? (About $33,000 per person, or $66,000 per couple.)

Or perhaps open tickets for the three-room apartments on the UAE's luxury airline Ethiad Air -complete with a private shower before landing? (A round-trip ticket from New York to Mumbai, for example, would be roughly $76,000 per couple.)

But Jim was talking about something new altogether. It seems the renowned Orient Express, serving the rich and famous since 1883, is upgrading some cars to accommodate the current new breed of super rich - who are always looking for new thrills and adventures. In it's long 135 year history the train has not only been known for luxury but also mystery and intrigue - as in Agatha Christie's book and film Murder On the Orient Express.

Like many other children, my father bought me a miniature train set when I was a child and I've been hooked on train travel ever since. As a family we took trains all across America and Canada, with sleeping cars, an observation car, and a dining room with linens and crystal wine glasses on the table. All so awesome! And then in later years as a poor back-packing student traveling in Europe, cheap passenger trains were always the transportation of choice. Not just for the scenic beauty but also the wonderful people you meet along the journey.

One summer in Istanbul I went to the train station to check out the Destination Board, trying to decide where to go to next. To my excitement the Orient Express was pulling into the station at that very same time! At least twice I walked the entire length of the train on the platform, peering into windows and watching the well-heeled passengers depart - summonsing porters to pick up their Louis Vuitton luggage and steamer trunks. Just so elegant and mind boggling!

But now getting back to the subject, here's a link to the newly added suites for the super rich on the Orient Express. At a mere $7,000 per night per person, you can easily see why this would be a great gift for your best rich friends. That's only about $200,000 for a couple to have a two-week trip, right? Perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary celebration, as well as other such reckless events.  Conde Nast Traveler

I hope this has been somewhat helpful in making gift decisions this year?  Or what?

As always, thanks for dropping in this evening,