Acquired Tastes by Peter Mayle

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By Peter Mayle

With an up-to-date foreword by way of Peter Mayle, Acquired Tastes (originally released in 1993 as Expensive Habits), is a party of life's extravagances. Exploring a facet of human nature that, even if mendacity dormant in tough monetary instances, is in a position to erupting with the trace of excellent fortune and the drop of a bank card. It samples the luxuries of Havana cigars, Parisian inns, bespoke London tailoring, hand-made sneakers, the right kind colour for a stretch limousine and weighs the associated fee as opposed to the excitement of protecting a mistress. Explaining the correct method to consume actual caviar whereas delivering the listener with hours of natural, unadulterated escapism.

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The open book is placed upon the floor. You are asked to stand on it, one foot per page, and the purveyor kneels before you. Slowly, almost lovingly, he makes a map of each foot by tracing the two outlines onto the pages of the book. From those nearly prehensile big toes, round the mysterious knurls that embellish the little toes, along the sides, and deep under the arches, not a single wrinkle or irregularity is left unrecorded. Once the maps are completed, the topographical survey can begin. Everything is measured: altitude of instep, curve of heel, contours and slopes of the metatarsal range.

She wears black underwear. She takes long, scented baths. She sneers at housework. She is either feared or envied, or both, by fifty percent of the married population of America. She is illicit. It is this, more than anything else, that keeps the mistress in business, despite high running costs and savage increases in the size of the Ultimate Fine if dalliance is followed by divorce. ) If mistresses were socially acceptable, they would lose much of their appeal; it is the whiff of sin and the fear of discovery that sharpen the pleasure, make parting such sweet sorrow, and enable a man to contemplate his American Express bills with a secret smile.

They seriously consider trading in the station wagon for something low and aerodynamic and dangerous-looking. They change their no-nonsense aftershave for a musk-based lounge-lizard concoction that retails for three figures an ounce. They leave for the office dressed for romance. This does not pass unnoticed. Our man may think his explanations are plausible, but he’s kidding himself. His secretary will know almost instantly what’s going on, but at least (assuming he’s not a complete scoundrel) he won’t be sharing a bed with her.

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