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Globemanship: I

Beating the System

By Michael J. Halberstam and Gene R. Kearney

For thousands of embittered American youths, this Fall will prove a time of crisis. Muffled by the tinkling joviality of cocktail parties, certain students will be waging a grim struggle for popularity and acceptance despite an insurmountable handicap. This plucky lot will be fighting to conceal the fact that it has never been abroad.

There are many who claim these boors are destined to utter ignominy, and it would be totally unrealistic not to admit this is probably the case. It is not our intention, therefore, to raise any false hopes in these already burdened breasts by a discussion of Globemanship, the miracle ploy of non-peregrinators. We shall merely outline the concept as it has matured.

Point one is simple and absolutely essential: you must read up on France and Italy, completely convince yourself you spend the summer in Europe, and set out to humiliate those toads less fortunate than yourself. Your success at this stage can be quickly judged by the amount of resentment you arouse. If you play your part well and effectively, you may become actually despised. Beginners, however, are advised to compromise at being only somewhat disliked.

Although this is the guts of Globemanship, there is a steamer-trunkful of indispensible ploys that must be learned to back up your initial position. Looking European will help. Buy a belted jacket and a pair of black Italian sandals, be generous with tins of Players' cigarettes, and affect a slight difficulty in getting used to American liquor. Little things make a big impression: you might, for instance, invest in an MG.

You must train yourself to sneer at American cameras and to make vague, rueful references to the Leica that fell overboard. The mention of domestic wines is enough to excuse you, pale-faced, from the supper table, and the hesitation of American girls to accompany you almost immediately to "a little hotel you know" sets your head wagging in good-humored amazement.

This then is point two, attitude. So far, however, our discussion has avoided the truth that you've actually been picking apples in New York State every summer since you were thirteen and that you have relatively few facts at your disposal concerning Europe. It is a fortunate coincidence that most students spending the summer overseas are likewise uninformed. Knowing too much would instantly brand you as unauthentic, and the advantage here lies with you. Your greatest danger comes, in truth, from others like yourself who are employing Globemanship and who are out to consolidate their positions by exposing a few frauds here and there.

You will know you are in for trouble when someone starts asking pointed questions or picking at inconsistencies in your stories. A good way to parry such at attack following a blundering contradiction on your part ("But you said you were in Paris during July!") is to reply with deferent patience; "Oh no, my friend. I meant during my first trip."

The time will also arise when it dawns on a listener that you couldn't possibly have had all the fabulous adventures you've been making up without being utterly fluent in some European tongue. When he confounds you with a sudden French or Italian phrase and demands an accounting for the bland expression on your face, your play is this. "Why, I never had to learn any French. My mist . . . uh . . . a girl did all my interpreting." Needless to say, a discrete look around and a man-to-man tone of voice will enhance the effectiveness of this ploy. If your tormentor has been feminine, it is safe to say she'll leave you alone for the rest of the evening.

Should the conversation slip around to what ship you took to Europe, remember this point: you either went first class on a palatial liner or worked across as a stripper on a grimy whaler out of Oslo. There is no such animal as an in-between ship. The last average ship to make interesting conversation was the Santa Maria.

Since many successful ploysmen have become absolute masters of Globemanship, it would be sheer folly for an amateur to fight them on their own terms. For this professional clan, you must adopt certain specific ploys that work to embarrass the "traveler" and make him feel guilty for his "trip." This aspect of Globemanship will be diagrammed tomorrow.

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