Very early in our relationship, I detected in Girodias a marked disapproval of the style of dress of Alex and myself—a style that might best have been described as modest, if not indeed threadbare.
’In France,’ he said, ‘literary men dress correctly. Look at Camus and Sartre. You won’t see them without a necktie or a proper shirt.’
’Beckett and Genet don’t wear ties,’ I reminded him. ‘And neither does the great Hank Miller.’
He half closed his eyes and wearily tilted his head. ‘My dear boy,’ he lisped, ‘you have just named three of the most ne’er-do-well non gratas in all Paris.’
Although he admired and envied people as famous as those three, it suited his curious vanity to pretend that they were scruffy wastrels.