Hello everyone, and welcome to The Rakish Man. My name is Léon Philippe and I am here with all the right responses to your sartorial queries. I’ve poured my first glass of Grand Marnier, so let’s get started.

Dear Léon,

My younger brother and I attended the same state university. Though we had the same clothing allowance, he got elected Best Dressed on Campus and I just went fully clothed, I guess. Certain outfits do look a little better on him, with his being taller and slightly thinner. He was always our parents’ favorite due mainly to his looks. Now he is an Investment Banker, about to marry, and he wants me in the wedding.

I knew I would have to pay the airfare to Bermuda but I said Yes anyways. Next I get his email telling me which tuxedo to rent where on the island. The cost is 189.97 (for one day!) I already own a decent black suit. Yes, it is old but how much changes on a black suit? I have a white shirt and a clip-on black tie and black shoes. I am set. In any group photo, I think I will blend in. And with the beauty of his model bride, nobody will be noticing me anyways (as usual). Since I am already getting myself to Bermuda and back, isn’t it okay to duck this last ridiculous expense? I’ve never understood my brother’s fussiness with clothes, his own and others’. I will be at the wedding, yes, but I hate frills.

-Loyal Brother

Dear Loyal,

Thank you for your query. First of all, a clip-on tie does not make you “set” unless you are under the age of twelve. Secondly, it’s hard for me to offer a full analysis of this sartorial situation without a picture (preferably more than one) of the bride. I will expect them from you in a future letter.

But your real problem is not with clothes, but with money. You don’t have enough of it. There are three ways that a gentleman gets money (investment banking is not one of them - even penury is more stylish than banking, so you already have a headstart on your frère jock there.)

The most gentlemanly way to acquire money is through the death of a wealthy relative. Have you any monied uncles in poor health? I am sure they would love to have you visit. Plan activities that encourage avuncular bonding - is there a vertiginous mountain nearby you would enjoy hiking together?  What is the world record for roller coaster rides taken in a day and could you break it together? What is his opinion of Obamacare and can you convince him that he’s wrong? 

The second most gentlemanly way to acquire money is by forcefully possessing some foreign land. It is very eau courant to claim that colonization is possé, but this is merely the jealous whine of the unentitled. There are still plenty of defenseless little islands out there that would offer fertile ground for your planted battle flag. For instance, Rhode Island is pretty much free for the taking, and should provide enough income for at least two suits. It’s also named after famed gentleman and dandy Cecil Rhodes, so there’s a historical connection for you.

If the above methods fail, the gentleman finally resorts to borrowing money. These days the bourgeoisie is boorishly reluctant to give money to people with no source of income. But if you visit enough banks in a nice new suit (not black, buy with a credit card), and mention your upcoming trip to Bermuda for your brother’s wedding as many times as possible, maybe with a couple of references to the private plane that will take you there, eventually one of them will be dumb enough to throw money at you. That’s the beauty of capitalism. Who knows, your investment banker brother might even end up buying this debt off the bank. Whatever you do, don’t give your creditors the wrong idea by ever paying back any of the money you’ve borrowed. A gentleman never pays his debts.

By the by, if any of these schemes meet with success, let me know as I am a bit skint at the moment, all my money being tied up in the three percents. If you could send along some cash with those pictures of the bride, I would be much obliged.


Ed. note: If you have a query for The Rakish Man, please send an email to david at nomanwalksalone  dot com and I will make sure he sees it.