“That’s Louis de Monfort. And that’s Pierre Lamonte and his wife Louise. And over there, in the blue dress, is Anne-Marie…and that’s her husband, Jean-Louis….”
Elizabeth was helping us avoid social faux pas. We were at a party, with hundreds of people…many of whom we knew well…and many your editor thought he had never laid eyes on.
“Oh yes you have…” Elizabeth corrected him. “They were at dinner with the Roussettes… You met them at the Polignac’s wedding…”
“Well, how do you remember so many names and details?”
“I have to remember. You get away with not knowing peoples’ names. You’re a foreigner. You’re a man. And you’re an intellectual. At least, that’s the way they consider you in France. So they give you an enormous amount of slack. They imagine that you’re thinking about other things…important things…like the national deficit…or the price of EDF stock. You put your head back and they think you’ve got lofty thoughts on your mind. They don’t realize that you’re really just looking for the bar.
“But women don’t get away with that. We’re expected to remember names…dates…relatives…who’s married to whom…and what people were wearing when we met them 10 years ago. Of course, men don’t care about that…but women care…and they care that other women remember these things.
“Now, over there is Sophie Remarck…do you remember her? We met her at the Declerc’s…the tall woman with the blond hair…
“Oh, yes you do.”
“No. I don’t remember the face…and I don’t remember the name…I’ve never met her…”
“Yes you have…she’s married to Henri…he’s from a very rich family…he owns a huge estate in Normandy, and a huge advertising business in Paris. They have a sumptuous apartment on the Avenue Foch…remember…we went there…”
“Oh…ooooh… Well, I can’t remember names. And I can’t remember faces. But I never forget a bank account. Yes, I remember Henri…nice fellow… the guy in the light jacket.”
“No, that’s Pierre Verget. You are hopeless…”
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