Denis Reggie taught me my standards for ‘class’. We always tease each other, he’ll say, “Gary you are ALL class, and all of it is low.”
But he was right. When I first started hanging out with him at his duplex at the Atlanta Four Seasons Hotel, I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to put your feet on the dinner table, for chrissakes!
Hanging out with Denis is like going to charm school. He stands and sits down when a lady sits or leaves our table. I just say, “hmm. weird!”
I have no idea about fancy places, or fancy food, or which knife or fork to use, or what is a good wine (I’m allergic to alcohol). My first trip on a private jet was with Denis. He had to tolerate all of my bourgeois questions like, “hey where is the in-flight magazine?”
I didn’t know much about luxury cars, I didn’t know that if you damage the wood on the right door, you have to replace both sides because the wood grain matches! (look for yourself on a high end car). And I definitely didn’t know anything about fine hotels.
One time, he was visiting us in LA and staying at the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey (where I am now). I asked how he liked it, and he said that it was not a five star because they deliver room service with the drinks wrapped in cellophane. Apparently this is a no-no with five star properties, which therefore made this a four star, in his opinion. Ever since he said that, I have avoided Ritz Carltons (except Toronto – that one is awesome).
After I sold my first software program (Montage) my circumstances began to change. I had a succession of business victories since then and as a result have to travel a lot, and when you travel a lot, flying coach and business class hotels gets really old. I pulled up my trip advisor profile (I write hotel reviews to mostly help myself remember what a hotel was like when I return to a city) and I travel a lot! 325 cities in 27 countries so far.
I’ve eaten at single to three michelin star restaurants between Paris, Hong Kong and London, and I don’t like or understand the food. Or the prices! I often eat at this bowling alley in Westchester when I am in town. They have great breakfast burritos! And free iced tea refills!
Anyway, I’m at a Ritz Carlton, which would be an awesome hotel until Denis Reggie told me it wasn’t, and when I get here, I start looking for the flaws. Like this crooked shelf. I shan’t tolerate this! I shan’t!
The Beverly Hillbillies was a show featuring a broke country guy who discovers oil on his property and becomes a millionaire. All of a sudden he winds up in Beverly Hills in a big mansion, but he has no taste and doesn’t fit in. What made the show funny, however, is that they never tried to fit in, whereas I am trying. I try to make the snippy comments my classy friend Denis would at certain flaws in perfection.
I no longer put my feet on the dinner table so I can lean my chair back. I now know that it puts footprints on the tablecloths.