I, too, am famous in the faux pas department – such that my brother-in-law calls me “Foot.” But wanting this to be a fair fight, I will only discuss MY portrait story, since that’s what Sheila talks about in her piece (left).
Many years ago (with the starter husband, to be precise) we were asked, by one of his bankers, to take a couple to dinner who were new to Chicago and had moved in just down the street from us. They were older, and the man had just bought a bank. They had moved from Miami Beach, and the woman looked quite, well … Miami Beach. She had Lucille Ball red hair, and a nose job such that it looked really rather tiny. So, anyway, after dinner they invited us to their house, and we go into the library for a brandy. Over the fireplace is a portrait of someone who looks to me a little like Lady Bird Johnson. So I say: “Who is that?” The woman says, “That’s me.”
Honest to God the next thing out of my mouth was: “Noooo. Who would have a portrait of themselves with their old nose?” We were – and I’m not exaggerating – shown the door about three minutes after I’d made my observation.
But you know what? What I asked her was an honest question, and I think a sensible one. And as one of the old comedians used to say, “I got a million of ‘em!”