I have long thought that certain people, like certain dog breeds, should come with a training manual. Success in a friendship requires one to learn the other's story and to respect the significance of it. The notion crossed my mind last week whilst visiting with my friend Toby.
Originally from London, but educated at Buckingham Browne & Nichols and now working as a media attorney, Old Toby (as we call him) was in Los Angeles to see a Dartmouth friend who is involved with what he calls The Office, which he tells me is a televisual entertainment programme broadcast on Thursday evenings. I am far too ignorant of popular electronic media, so I will leave it to you to verify Toby's claim.
The candid photograph, above, depicts Old Toby holding court at the club. Wearing a soft-shouldered tweed Southwick jacket, white OCBD, cuffed gray flannels, and Alden penny loafers, Toby exhibits the symptoms of a devotion to Classic American style, or Ivy League style as some may term it. But there is more to Toby than mere good taste in sartorial matters is concerned.
While his size and tweed-like appearance keep disreputable types at bay, friends learn quickly that Toby will gladly welcome strangers into his circle. And although he is far gentler in character than one might expect for so tweedy a chap, Old Toby can become an overbearing beast if he is allowed to dominate. His insistence that his views be heeded are often met with incomprehension. He therefore requires friends who are not just patient, but accepting as well. In exchange, they will be rewarded with a saucy anecdote or two, delivered over a shared bottle of Macallan and a cigar, as well as the latest hot gossip in the transcontinental jet-set crowd. Watching Old Toby pontificate in his tweeds, or surging forth in his custom tailored waist coat, is recompense enough.