The two are hunched over the table, writing on the backs of paper napkins, a Scotch and a martini placed respectively in front of them. They wave us over. Price throws his Tumi leather attache case on an empty chair and heads toward the bar. I call out to him for a J&B on the rocks, then sit down with Van Patten and McDermott.
"Hey Bateman," Craig says in a voice that suggests this is not his first martini. "Is it proper to wear tasseled loafers with a business suit or not? Don't look at me like I'm insane."
"Oh shit, don't ask Bateman," Van Patten moans, waving a gold Cross pen in front of his face, absently sipping from the martini glass.
"Van Patten?" Craig says.
McDermott hesitates, then says "Shut up" in a flat voice.
"What are you screwballs up to?" I spot Luis Carruthers standing at the bar next to Price, who ignores him utterly. Carruthers is not dressed well: a four-button double-breasted wool suit, I think by Chaps, a striped cotton shirt and a silk bow tie plus horn-rimmed eyeglasses by Oliver Peoples.
"Bateman: we're sending these questions in to GQ," Van Patten begins.
Luis spots me, smiles weakly, then, if I'm not mistaken, blushes and turns back to the bar. Bartenders always ignore Luis for some reason.
"We have this bet to see which one of us will get in the Question and Answer column first, and so now I expect an answer. What do you think?" McDermott demands.
"About what?" I ask irritably.
"Tasseled loafers, jerk-off," he says.
"Well, guys..." I measure my words carefully. "The tasseled loafer is traditionally a casual shoe..." I glance back at Price, wanting the drink badly. He brushes past Luis, who offers his hand. Price smiles, says something, moves on, strides over to our table. Luis, once more, tries to catch the bartender's attention and once more fails.
"But it's become acceptable just because it's so popular, right?" Craig asks eagerly.
"Yeah." I nod. "As long as it's either black or cordovan it's okay."
"What about brown?" Van Patten asks suspiciously.
I think about this then say, "Too sporty for a business suit."
"What are you fags talking about?" Price asks. He hands me the drink then sits down, crossing his legs.
"Okay, okay, okay," Van Patten says. "This is my question. A two-parter..." He pauses dramatically. "Now are rounded collars too dressy or too casual? Part two, which tie knot looks best with them?"
A distracted Price, his voice still tense, answers quickly with an exact, clear enunciation that can be heard over the din in Harry's. "It's a very versatile look and it can go with both suits and sport coats. It should be starched for dressy occasions and a collar pin should be worn if it's particularly formal." He pauses, sighs; it looks as if he's spotted somebody. I turn around to see who it is. Price continues, "If it's worn with a blazer then the collar should look soft and it can be worn either pinned or unpinned. Since it's a traditional, preppy look it's best if balanced by a relatively small four-in-hand knot." He sips his martini, recrossing his legs. "Next question?"
"Buy the man a drink," McDermott says, obviously impressed.
"Price?" Van Patten says.
"Yes?" Price says, casing the room.
"Listen," I ask, "where are we having dinner?"
"I brought the trusty Mr. Zagat," Van Patten says, pulling the long crimson booklet out of his pocket and waving it at Timothy.
"Hoo-ray," Price says dryly.
"What do we want to eat?" Me.
"Something blond with big tits." Price.
"How about that Salvadorian bistro?" McDermott.
"Listen, we're stopping by Tunnel afterwards so somewhere near there." Van Patten.
"Oh shit," McDermott begins. "We're going to Tunnel? Last week I picked up this Vassar chick - "
"Oh god, not again," Van Patten groans.
"What's your prob lem?" McDermott snaps back.
"I was there. I don't need to hear this story again," Van Patten says.
"But I never told you what happened afterwards, " McDermott says, arching his eyebrows.
"Hey, when were you guys there?" I ask. "Why wasn't I invited?"
"You were on that f**king cruise thing. Now shut up and listen. So okay I picked up this Vassar chick at Tunnel - hot number, big tits, great legs, this chick was a little hardbody - and so I buy her a couple of champagne kirs and she's in the city on spring break and she's practically blowing me in the Chandelier Room and so I take her back to my place - "