If you’ve got to get in touch with your animal side, be a billionaire. And be filthy. Like talking-about-backdoor-humping-at-the-dinner-table kind of filthy.
In life’s hierarchy, there are alpha males (leaders), beta males (yes-men), and omega males (blamers, self-haters, finger-smellers, armpit-farters, online gamblers, day traders, and fatties. Oh, and any guy who shushes you and says, “Watch this, it’s so funny,” when one of those E-Trade talking-baby commercials comes on).
Jamie Dimon may be an asshole, but he definitely marked his place as an alpha male in February when he brushed aside an analyst’s annoying question as irrelevant, then added: “That’s why I’m richer than you.” Swat that fly, Jamie! Show him you’re the dog with the big balls!
At the top of the big-ball dog pile is the billionaire male. He’s basically a punk-ass kid, with the unseeing egomania of an Oscar-winning actor, the cunning of a presidential politician, and the heart of a serial killer. You know you’d like to blub to yourself about, oh, how he inherited all that money, and isn’t life unfair, sob.
But the truth is that no one inherits ten billion dollars. Even Bill Gates has said that each of his children will only get $10 million when he dies. (And as much as I think that’s a great idea on paper, some part of me—the really shallow part—is uncomfortable with it. That is the same shamefully embarrassing part of me that grieved when Princess Diana died. I didn’t grieve because she was dead; all I could think about were all those hours in the gym, totally wasted! Do you have any idea how hard it is to even find a good gym in London? That’s why Gwyneth Paltrow has cellulite. True. Do you think pulling a bunch of rubber bands with a trainer makes you fit? She and I were changing in Calvin Klein’s pool house, and she’s skinny, but her thighs look like two cheesecloth sacks filled with marbles. If you don’t believe me, just watch The Talented Mr. Ripley. There’s a scene with her on the boat and she’s—how can I say this—Mrs. Ripple-y. Total bikini fail.)
The thing about billionaires is that they’re either totally kinky and want to talk about sport-humping all the time—or they’re totally kinky and would never bring up the subject in conversation. But they’re never straight-up normal.
I was at dinner with a couple of billionaires the other night, and Martin Amis was there. Pause for a moment to imagine the ladies doing their Kabuki Theater of Eating performance, moving pieces of lettuce to their mouths in pantomime-ingestion, and the whole placement: the white linen napkins, the bottles of bubbly, the flickering tapers.
Billionaire One announced to the table that he wanted to talk to Martin Amis about just one thing: the alleged superiority of anal sex. (Amis has written on the subject—specifically, its popularity in the porn industry. Frankly, I don’t see him doing that to his wife, who seemed kind of grouchy. She’d be like, all, Ow, that hurts, Marty, stop it! What in God’s name are you doing?)
Lookin’ for love in all the wrong places!
Forks halted in midair, mouths stopped masticating, shoulders stiffened. This was in New York, where no one smokes anymore, and Martin Amis (alpha male) sat there, puffing a stubby, stinky little cigarette, paying no attention to the waiters (omegas) with their dour no-smoking-please facial expressions. But they couldn’t do anything, because while Billionaire One was chatting with Martin Amis about playing the flip side, someone winning an award was giving a speech about winning an award, and the waiters were locked in position. (No tinkling glasses or white-jacketed torsos moving throughout the room, puh-lease!)
I was seated next to Billionaire Two, who represents the opposite end of the spectrum: He is probably really, really kinky—in a most likely disturbed, kind of probably sick, and perhaps even illegal kind of way—but he is the last person on the planet who would bring up the subject of sex, especially anything so overtly not what should be part of a genteel dinner conversation. His wife, forty years younger than he is, was seated on his other side. (They’re newlyweds, so they get to sit next to each other. It’s their first year of marriage.)
The ur-drive, the ur-passion, the defining chi of all humans is sex—and that desire and ardor and, if you will, thrust is magnified a billion times in a billionaire.
Billionaire Two peered at me and conjured a simian smile. “Two things I never discuss at the dinner table,” he said, his voice low. “Sex and prenups.” He glowered. “Filthy subjects.”
I have yet to discover what Billionaire One and his wife did when they got home that night.