The Comtess de Pravité, a noted thrill seeker in her youth, had morphed slowly into a settled and plumpy life style quietly funded by her husbands inherited wealth. Of late she had, despite her advancing years, been seen out with a number of life’s celebrators who revered her as one unbound by convention, common sense or table manners.
Easing her well filled frame down the steps of the ‘Vaults’ nightclub never seemed a problem when viewed against the admiration her challenging behaviour gained her. “Scandal is the chilli in a good conversation” she might say to her husband if he asked her why there was a picture of her, bathing in the fountains of Trafalgar Square with a number of sub- famous rugby players. Apart from the occasional comments, he put up with her behaviour. When asked by those she knew, why her husband was so tolerant she used to exclaim that she “made up for it in other ways”. One of those statements which makes you wish you had less imagination.
Her upcoming photo shoot at the offices of ‘The Exhibitionist’, a low-priced magazine with a varied readership made up of debauched debutantes, reluctant vicars, and others on the fringes of our imagination, was a cause of some excitement in her circle. Fearless in her ambition to push back the boundaries of good taste, there was nothing she would not do to attract attention, regardless of any concerns raised by her husband. It was fairly late in the game when he realised the session was going to be as near a topless extravaganza as it was possible to get, without the magazine being banned from the public magazine shelves.
Unperturbed, our goddess of gaudiness arrived for the shoot, and was soon as unrobed as possible and displaying her sixty-eight year old well nourished body on and around a settee in the offices of the magazine. The photographer and his assistant looked at her, and she heard one say to the other, ” A bit like Sophia Loren but without the looks or talent.” “Is it a case of mutton dressed like old newspapers?” replied his assistant and they both began to chuckle. Gradually the chuckles grew into giggles and consumed them both: and they could be seen almost kneeling on the floor in an attempt to control their laughter.
She remembered in her youth saying to some gallant, “There is no knowledge more dangerous than self-knowledge” and smiling at life’s vagaries but suddenly self-knowledge seemed to be arriving in plentiful amounts. The Comtess collected her figure from around the settee and rose saying, “This photo shoot is cancelled”. “No need for the lense protectors Stan” said the photographer to his chum, and the rest of the conversation was lost in gibbering laughter.
At home our good lady seemed unusually withdrawn, and declared that she would be staying in that evening. Her husband looked at her with surprise. He was not sure how pleased he was with the news. “Before you turn over a new leaf, he thought, its best to check what is on the other side”