Hell hath no fury like a woman divorcee.
It’s a sad but true fact that the credit crunch has put pay to lavish corporate entertainment. I had the choice of going to Mipim this year, but opted not to. Why?
I have a feeling that the quality of partying on offer will be so thin, I might actually have to get some work done.
There will be few pension funds or local authorities brazen enough to hire giant yachts (remember the RREEF one from a few years back which was so big, it had to be moored at sea instead of in the marina?).
The uproar over banking bonuses means that hiring luxury villas for swanky soirees will be the last thing corporate lending teams will want to be seen doing. Given the state of the banking industry, they probably couldn’t lend themselves the money to pay for one.
But before I depress you all too much, I must divulge my favourite ‘corporate hospitality sport’ of better days: Wife spotting.
Receiving an embossed invitation to a party that instructed, in calligraphy, to bring one’s partner would always send a shiver of excitement down my spine. Not that I would ever trouble the long-suffering Mr Turner to tag along with me, oh no.
I took my pleasure from meeting the female partners of the assembled property moguls, and guessing whether they were wife number one, two (or increasingly) three.
Wife number ones are typically the same age as their husbands, and thus become rarer as the subject gets older. The first wives I have particularly enjoyed meeting over the years are those in their fifties, who have fearsomely defended the marriage battlefield against invaders.
Typically they have ‘helmet hair’ and great encrustations of diamond jewellery (often bequeathed in apology for secretarial indiscretions). There is often evidence of ‘restoration work’ (facelifts and botox are common) and a pronounced sense of ownership of their wrinkling spouses.
Before I am attacked for being disparaging, many of these women know more about the property industry than their husbands do. They have acted as confidantes when big deals are in play, and have socialised with other Property Wives for generations. So I very much enjoy a good gossip with them.
By contrast, I have very little time for second wives
The archetypal second wife has not been chosen for her maternal abilities (as the first wife spawned the heirs), but for her youthfulness, and unflinching consent to being shagged senseless.
Accuse me of being stereotypical if you like, I don’t care.
But sustaining a conversation with one of these Barbie dolls is no easy task. I tried making small talk with one at a do held at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square as we stood in front of a large artwork. ‘Nice painting,’ she said.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was The Rape of Europa.
And then there’s the third wife. The match is usually much more equal by this stage – third wife is rarely after property man’s money, as after two divorces, he hasn’t got much left. She likes him for who he is, appears more like a good friend, and has her own career and interests.
I have yet to meet a ‘fourth wife’ at one of these events, but would love to hear from any readers who have.
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