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Walter Biggins

That would've annoyed me more than charmed me, b/c it's such a silly lie. It's not like Wilde's sexual orientation is exactly obscure information, even among people who aren't big readers.

Lance Mannion

Walter, there are still things I'd like to know, one of which is if the lie was the maitre d's own and not something management made up for the staff to tell. The simplest answer would have been the truest: We have a theme going on here and invoking Wilde's name helps with that. But that's no fun. Neither is what would also have been a truthful answer: Wilde and Lillie were friends. But that's boring too, unless they find a good anecdote to go with it. There may be one. Maybe I'll find out when I read Friedman's book. It's understandable that they'd want a good story to tell like the one they have if anyone asks why that cocktail is named after Judge Roy Bean. But you're right, making Wilde and Langtry lovers is almost an insult to customers' intelligence. However...

I didn't mention that the maitre d' had a pronounced accent I couldn't place. It sounded a trace Hispanic but it doesn't matter. What does matter is that he might be an immigrant from a country where Wilde isn't read or very well known. I have a hard time believing there's anywhere on earth where "The Importance of Being Earnest" isn't regularly staged, but "The Picture of Dorian Gray" might be as obscure in some countries as, say, the work of Ernesto Sabato is here. It could be that the maitre d' never heard much about Wilde until he started work at Lillie's. On top of that, I may have been the first customer ever to have asked him the question and he made up the story on the spot. The thing I liked is that he felt a responsibility to entertain me with a story rather than just shrug and say, "Our chef thought it up. She starred in a production of 'Lady Windermere's Fan' in high school."

Although, come to think of it, that might have made a pretty good story itself.

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