Sir David Tang, founder of ICorrect, globetrotter, and the man about too many towns to mention, divides his time between homes in Hong Kong, mainland China and London. Here he invites readers’ queries for his advice on property, interiors, etiquette at home (wherever you live), parties and anything else that may be bothering you.
I am authoritatively informed that at a well-known upmarket supermarket in Halkin Street, in London, one can pick up the best of fresh food and also, apparently, the pick of single attractive liquid men who are not dentally or follicley challenged. But for 10 months I have been surprisingly unsuccessful. Could it be that the contents of one’s trolley actually matter? And, if so, can you direct me as to what comestibles might spark the fire that screams? Yes, I am alone and available for dinners, lunches and, perhaps later, breakfast.
Stop screaming, especially to yourself! Romance cannot be sought. Still less would you find it in a supermarket. I don’t know why you should choose one in fancy Belgravia. Presumably you think that men whom you meet there would be more eligible and attractive and wealthy. But eligible and attractive and wealthy men don’t actually shop at supermarkets.
If you were to find a smart-looking man taking an interest in you, he is more likely than not to be a cad or a bounder whose motive would be exactly the same as yours in trying to catch someone of the opposite sex who is eligible and attractive and wealthy.
It is a blessing in disguise that you have not had any successes because the likelihood of you being approached and taken out to dinner and smooched is likely to end in disaster – with or without your mascara and rouge. Certainly it won’t be love.
You are bound to be better off with Tesco in Surbiton, the Mecca of suburbia.
I am an American and my wife is European, so we often travel outside of the US and I am frequently embarrassed at the behaviour of some fellow Americans on holiday. I myself can be gregarious and loud so when we travel I am usually self-conscious about such actions. I would like to know what your experience has been and what your opinion of Americans on overseas holiday happens to be?
It is always easy to victimise loud American tourists. As long as I am not at the receiving end, I rather like watching them annoy other people. But your lot are in fact quite friendly and we should not dislike you as much as we do.
Far worse are the thuggish British who are louder than the Americans and certainly considerably coarser. Just think of travelling British football fans who have come to be synonymous with hooligans, quite a few of whom with Mohican haircuts. I would find them much more obnoxious than a fat Texan couple in some ridiculous attire that resembles a painting by Rauschenberg.
My best friend – a fellow American – never misses an opportunity to mention money, e.g. whether he should let his guests know the special deal he got on a good champagne he’s serving at a party or the price of a meal he ate or what he’s spent at the supermarket. I’ve told him on more than one occasion that his annoying trait casts him in a bad light but he persists. Should I keep trying or let him be?
I am afraid a few of my friends are like yours. I just yawn artificially and talk about something else to signal my contempt. It is of course vulgar to mention specific figures of money. But I am afraid we are all secretly interested and certainly it is a usual practice in Hong Kong.
If somebody were to come and visit my home for the first time they might well ask directly how much I paid for it, or how much the rent was. And if a woman sees a piece of jewellery on another, she is bound to ask, “How much you pay?”. People also routinely ask personal questions such as salaries and bonuses and alimonies. If anywhere is obsessed by wealth, it is Hong Kong.
I once took a wager against a friend who defied me to talk to a rich friend of his for one minute without allowing him to mention the fact that he had a Rolls Royce. I was confident of engaging his friend in conversation that would totally deflect the mention of his car. As I shook his hand, even before I uttered one single word, he said: “Mr Tang, I am delighted to meet you. Your handshake is very strong. Just like the door of my Rolls Royce!”
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