Tuesday, April 3, 2007

the seduction of an antique buyer

On a warm sultry day in early June, Madame is striding along Rue du Bac on the Rive-Gauche with her entourage of two on an antique buying spree for her new home [a star-dusted villa once owned by a legendary Hollywood director!].
She is quite sure that only in Paris will she find the most opulent, the highest status-stacked pieces... a paean to her utmost orgulous taste.
Shop after glorious shop in the Carré Rive Gauche... au coeur de Paris... 120 Galeries et Antiquaires... Passions d'Antiquaires... de Paris, Paris...
Which one of these will entice her in?
Unawed, she chooses the one with the most splendiferous objets d'art in its window - and after admiring her flawless reflection ever so briefly in the glass, she enters the establishment with a mock serious air about her.
Monsieur le propriétaire sweeps in discreetly from his salon privé with a twitch of a close-mouthed smile, his sharp eyes having appraised her thoroughly before she is even fully aware of his suave presence.
A soto-voiced "Bonjour, Madame...[and just knowing that she is American, he projects his voice a little more in English]... 'ow can I be to your service, Madame?"
She lets one of her minions answer for her, all the while assessing his rather distingué demeanor... for a Frenchman her age [the botoxed reduced one, of course].
Monsieur continues to direct his remarks only to her, "Madame, I 'ave enough to fee'l your 'ole 'ouse! I can present you wiz much more z'an your be'eu-tee'ful eye can see... and I will be more z'an 'ap'pee to show you my collection privée whenever Madame pleases..." [He draws out the last few words in a softer voice while crinkling his eyes at her.]
She stiffles a giggle and looks away, but her slight coloring betrays her appreciation of his flattering and not so subtle double sens...
Emboldened, and anticipating her forthcoming capitulation, [and somewhat confident of a transaction of formidable size to follow], he shifts closer into her personal space and whispers the impressive provenances of his magnificent pieces in a conspiratorial tone.
She has to angle her head in towards him to hear, but gracefully, and remembering to profile her lovelier side.
He is now quite sure that she will accept his overture to lunch at his favorite restaurant around the corner on the Quai Voltaire... without the peons in tow, of course.
Always pleasure before business... and perhaps, more pleasure again later on...
Just another sublimely successful day for Monsieur l'antiquaire de la Rive-Gauche, Paris...

"The Seduction of an Antique Buyer... as wryly observed by Mme. V" by g. verster, 2004