Having grown up in unfortunately close proximity to several spoiled and worthless lumps, I have had the displeasure of knowing them now as adults. The type is unavoidable in city life: man-children who grew up in consequence-free environments, perpetually unhappy yet striving to fulfill the unfulfillable, and endlessly revolving in a worn-out formula of social interaction and long-fatigued charm. In doses, they can be alright for an evening, but they quickly burn through the good graces of their once-reputable family name and (wrongfully) the courtesies extended to them because of legacy.
On a recent occasion, I had the odd experience of somehow agreeing to join one particular man-child to his house in the city following a late arts event. As a group, we walked from the event to his two floors in a nice old city home. We were a group of five men, and all but one had successfully avoided the after-invite to his place for drinks for almost a decade. For reasons known only to gin, I relented, and made the trip that thousands before me had.
Once inside, he encouraged us to make ourselves "at home" while he mixed up some drinks. We were getting the more casual treatment; had there been women present, he would have activated his routine, which was notorious and predictable. His house was a once-large but now cluttered cave. His parents had left him the majority of their collection, and he jammed everything into his two floors. Stacks of precious English porcelain unused in decades, framed artwork older than his building stood in fours and fives on the floor behind his large doors and camel-back couches, and more silver than imaginable awkwardly crowded every available surface. Cardboard wine boxes were stacked in the pantry, partially opened, and his entryway was jammed with groaning bookshelves and about forty umbrellas.
Countless women have fallen prey to his "charm" but once back at his place, only the drunk, dedicated, or ultra-wonk art worlders stay for the final act, the majority being scared off by the evidence.
Parents and grandparents who establish trust funds for their progeny should always include strict incentives and conditions for personal, academic, charitable, or professional development. As I sat on his dusty couch, one of the men in our group leaned over and said
"This guy's had life on a silver platter, but nobody can sit at his dining room table because of all those silver platters". [***Blogger's Note: the silver was stacked haphazardly and tarnished nearly black].
He was right. Once the trust account began making distributions to the man, he gave up. What's worse, it is obvious that his trust was meant as a supplement to income. When he says that he "is on the club's board" he is right. What he doesn't tell you is that since most clubs occasionally resort to posting a list of persona non grata for unpaid bills, he is listed there. So yes, he is on the board, but on the bulletin board.
He sees himself as a romanticized man of leisure, but he doesn't have the personality, the commitment, the actual knowledge, or the resources to pull it off. He rides the coattails of his parents and grandparents, referring to their country or seaside houses as "my place on the coast".
One woman told me that she agreed to go back to his place for "one last drink" following an elegant charity ball about a year ago. She pointed to the spoked ship's helm leaning against a wall, and asked from what boat it originated.
"Oh, it's from my boat", he said.
"So... how do you steer the boat now?" she asked, setting a quick trap that would determine her exit speed.
"We actually sold it a few years ago" he said.
"We?" she asked.
"My parents and I together" he said.
She confirmed that he was a man-child there and then, and she showed herself out amidst his protests.
Why do I write all of this? Not because he has languished on several pseudo-academic and museum boards contributing nothing and forcing others to carry his weight. Not because he never pays the bills he lavishly runs up. Not because he buzzes the same cocktail parties every year and angers his hostesses. I write this because he stuck me with the bill for the second time in the most crafty way possible. If it had not been me, I would have applauded the chess-like maneuver, but I was bested by a cad.
As I write this, I can also think of a fast dozen or so who fit this description.