Acquired Tastes, originally published as Expensive Habits, is a celebration of life's extravagances. It explores an aspect of human nature that, although dormant in hard economic times, is capable of erupting with the hint of good fortune and the drop of a credit card. It samples the luxuries of Havana cigars, Parisian hotels, bespoke London tailoring, and hand-made shoes; discusses the proper color for a stretch limousine; and weighs the cost versus the pleasure of keeping a mistress. The proper way to eat true caviar is explained while providing the listener with hours of pure, unadulterated escapism.
Of course, the wealthy are constantly being sued, so it's important to understand lawyers who create a language only they can understand. It's also imperative they never admit to being wrong, for it would tarnish their aura of omniscience. "The best way to avoid being wrong is to never state a clear opinion. And every case has the infamous' gray area' which allows lawyers to say absolutely nothing in a highly professional manner."
Unless, of course, your case happens to be identical to a case that was decided fifty years ago, in which case you have precedent. Precedent is a wonderful tool because "it permits law-yers to be decisive without having to take any responsibility for the decision." Litigation is, of course, one of the hobbies of the rich.
Christmas is another occasion rendered impossible by ''The Man Who Has Everything" Stores stock their counters with bizarre, unsalable items that normally would not get a second glance. At Christmas, everything sells. Rarely, a gift is received that brings joy to the callous heart. "I have a friend whose dislike of Christmas is matched only by his profound aversion to his mother-in-law, whose annual visit is the low point of his year. But one Christmas Eve, in addition to the customary necktie, she gave him the flu. It was necessary that he retire to bed, congested but happy, until she left on New Year's Day. He s aid it was the first time he hadn't wanted to take a gift of hers back and exchange it."
The secret to being rich is to flaunt. Why bother "eating plover's eggs and wearing four-ply cashmere sweaters" if everyone else can afford them too. Christmas, which started as a simple religious holiday, has managed to establish itself as the "universal expensive habit ... a commercial orgy with a Pentagonsized budget... Otherwise sensible people give serious consideration to the attractions of multilingual speak-your-weight machine s, platinum toothpicks ... personalized replicas of nineteenth-century spittoons, and luminous bedroom slippers. "