Manbags at dawn

Image of David Tang

Sir David Tang, entrepreneur and founder of ICorrect, offers advice on questions about property, interiors – and modern manners for globetrotters.

I was told by my ex-father-in-law that the key to a good marriage is to keep surprising your wife. This pearl of wisdom came too late for his daughter and I, but works very well with my second wife! What would you suggest is a unique surprise an uxorious man can give to his wife?

As surprises can be both pleasant and nasty, you must have given your ex-wife the latter kind, which would explain your first divorce. For your present wife, I would suggest that you follow the example of Sir Philip Green, who should be made the patron saint of uxoriousness, by handing over everything you have to your wife. Just ask your solicitor today to assign to her all of your cash and assets. That would certainly be a pleasant surprise to any wife. No wonder Lady Green always looks supremely happy! But if you want to topple Sir Philip and be über-uxorious, you might add a multiple organ-donor declaration and volunteer to give away your eye, heart, liver and kidney, all of which to be distributed according to the wishes of your wife, for her family or friends or strangers or even lovers.

Hurrah for you for suggesting bookshelves in the bathroom (and other things). I have occupied every available wall space in my house with bookcases, and every niche and cranny with bookshelves. Over the years, I have run out of space but every time I mention bookshelves in the bathroom, people say, shocked: “In the bathroom?” – as if that “locus” were something to be kept secret and not talked about. I keep reading material in my rather large bathroom, have rugs all over, and enjoy leisure hours in there with a glass of wine. To us – enjoying life in every environment.

The more I think about it, the more I would love to redesign my next bathroom to resemble a library. I shall put shelves all around the walls. I might even build secret book panels for the loo, the bidet and the shower. But the bath shall sit in the middle of the room with a proper book stand straddling across the sides of the tub. And most important of all, a roaring fire under an old marble fireplace. This perfection I saw at Julian Schnabel’s home in New York where he has replicated a Dogean palazzo in an old building. His bathroom with a grand Venetian fireplace is the most envious thing I have ever seen in any house.

After following the recommendations of your fellow columnist, Mr Brûlé, I purchased an aluminium Rimowa suitcase for my many travels. However, one must also carry a smaller companion to hold one’s FT and other flight paraphernalia. Opening the Rimowa’s clamshell is both time-consuming and inelegant, both at airport security and on board. Thus my struggle is to find the ideal companion bag; attaché, messenger or, heaven forbid, rucksack. Leather, or fabric? What do you recommend?

Mr Brûlé, who makes velvet seem rough, is too smooth for me. I would never settle for a Rimowa whose shining silver would make me feel like a photographer or a bodyguard for laundered money – neither of which I like to be. No, you should get a Goyard with an old fashioned zip for a proper size bag and a side pocket for mags and newspapers. This piece of luggage is so expensive that I almost had to mortgage my home to buy one. But you would hardly run the risk of seeing another one at any commercial airport, as most of the stock sold is only found at private terminals and in private jets. It will give an illusion of aloofness for those who care about such a thing, as you seem to. And be amusing with the embossment of your initials. I have on mine: “D.E.T.A.T.T.P.B.T.D.T.”, which stands for “Don’t Even Think About Taking This Property Belonging To David Tang.” Sometimes it feels good to be a walking conundrum through the rather drab world of airports.

I am an admirer of the sadomasochistic quality of your column so my question is: how much do you rely on Google to run it?

Do you know what a non-sequitur is? I suggest you Google it and find out. Then you will know you have committed one.

My husband goes even further in his quest for the perfectly chilled gin and tonic, with glass, ice and gin in freezer plus tonic, lemon, knife and chopping board in adjacent fridge. Excessive, perhaps, but heavenly here in tropical Singapore.

I hope he will not forget about the second law of thermodynamics, which postulates equilibrium with any differentials in temperatures, and therefore he should sip his gin and tonic in a highly air-conditioned room with a sense-surround of coldness. But if he were to go further and be a perfectionist freak, he could build himself a walk-in freezer and don a ski-suit and gloves so as to enjoy his chilled drink, as if in an igloo.

Email questions to

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from and redistribute by email or post to the web.