I Love My Norwich Terrier; Cecil Beaton Redressed

I was right in the middle of slicing cooked broccoli into bite-sized florets for the delectation of our Norwich terrier Liberace (it makes him a bit gassy, but he’s addicted to it–plus, I’m sure it’s as good for his intestines as it is for mine), when an interfering in-law launched an attack.

“All this effort wasted on a dog. You and Jonny would make such wonderful parents. Have you thought of adopting children?” I restrained myself from replying “Bugger off!”, then realized that I am now regularly bombarded with these kinds of intrusive, Jewish-motherly suggestions.

The sanctimonious, and successful, proselytizing of child-rearing seems to be raging through Manhattan, sending gay and straight alike rushing pell-mell to road-test their fallopian tubes or adopt the disadvantaged. The goal seems to be some kind of unspecified personal fulfillment.

In my childhood, people either had kids or they didn’t; nobody fetishized the act of procreation. Having kids was not seen as anything other than a by-product of “a bit of slap-and-tickle.” Unmarried aunties with hairy top lips and confirmed bachelors with porcelain collections didn’t have kids, and it would have been considered downright unsavory even to suggest that they try.

When well-wishers and acquaintances suggest that I would make a great parent, it inclines me to adopt marginal behaviors–wearing a feather boa, or daubing rouge on my ear lobes–in order to look manifestly unsuitable for the role. This would enable me to get back to the important tasks at hand: plucking Liberace’s eyebrows and rubbing Kiehl’s creme de corps (4 oz.: $14.50 at Barneys) into his paws.

So if you would rather have a dog than a baby, don’t feel guilty. California researchers have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that people with pets are much happier than people with children. Dog owners live longer and are clinically proven to be less burdensome to those around them than dogless folk. And choosing a dog is such a gas, especially if you pick one with an insane name.

Cesky Fouseks are hot, as are Arubian Cunucus; Strellufstovers and Krasky Ovcars are very entre deux mers . Jack Russells are a bit 1995–and they have a scary Charles Manson side to them. I’m on the fence about Xoloitzcuintles and totally confused about Norrbottenspets, so I decided to consult Sweetie, Elle magazine’s canine fashion columnist and four-legged fashionista. If she didn’t know which breed is the Helmut Lang or Prada of dogs, then who in tarnation would?

I invited Sweetie over for an ostensible play date with Liberace, my real goal being to pump the bitch for critical style information. She arrived accompanied by her channeler and escort, writer Mark Welsh.

“What is the trendiest dog at the moment? How about an Aryan Molossus?” I asked Mr. Welsh innocently enough. Sweetie’s top lip retracted and so did his.

“Aryan Molossus! Hairyan nation!” said Mr. Welsh. “Listen, poncy bastards like you with too much disposable income–you’re only interested in status dogs and you make me sick. Bulemic bichon frisees, dim-witted dandi dinmonts and wimbly wind-ups–you’re trying to make the dog world as sick and pathetic as the fashion world. Sweetie’s a mutt and proud of it.”

I tried to diffuse Sweetie’s Cujo-esque rage with a liver treat. Sweetie responded by growling, while Mr. Welsh told me that the North Shore Animal League (for which Sweetie is the spokeswoman) currently has in its custody “plenty of small nelly dogs suitable for apartment owners. There’s adorable little Spice, and Biscuit, he’s a cutie. Oh, and Butterscotch, and Frosty and.… October is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog month. Call 516-883-7900 and ask for extension 254. And one more thing”, said Mr. Welsh, poised to make his strongest argument yet: “Gisele Bundchen is a mutt–German, Latin and quelque chose d’autre . I rest my case.”

Meanwhile, the feisty fashionista Sweetie concluded her visit by shoving Liberace off his Versace pillow. Then, in a Myra Breckinridge-esque role reversal, she grabbed his pure-bred torso between her front paws, humped his head briefly and was gone.

You are cultivating a more polished look for fall, and you’re loving your new edgy lady-like chic–but wait … what’s that horrible smell? It’s you! You persist in wearing that tired old hippie fragrance. You can’t go around smelling like Janis Joplin’s armpits.

Run immediately to your Yves Saint Laurent counter and purchase Rive Gauche. “The Rive Gauche woman never ceases to attract, surprise and fascinate her admirers,” or so claims the audacious press material. But this tough fragrance is far more than catnip–it’s the accessory du jour.

This 29-year-old fragrance was created at the height of the YSL revolution, when Yves was designing safari suits with grommeted belts and buccaneer lacing and selling them in boutiques that were a symphony of brutalist chrome. If you remember this incredible moment, then relive it. If you don’t, then embrace it for the premier fois .

The blue, silver and black packaging is still the hippest thing going–and even if you don’t like the smell, the metal eau-de-toilette vaporisateur (3.3 oz., $53) makes an extremely groovy bathroom accessory.

You’re allergic to your own apartment–it’s like an interior-decorating version of lupus. But you’re too pathetic to redecorate. Buy a fantastic new light fixture for the center of the room. A + J 20th Century Designs, at 255 Lafayette Street, has a gorgeous Lotus light for $295–it’s 20 inches wide and 12 inches tall. Choose from white, yellow and red and hang it low, low, low.

Speaking of non-procreating, feather-boa-wearing, marginalized freaks: Adela Quebec’s The Girls of Radcliff Hall has finally been published (Asphodel Editions, $50.) Written by one Lord Berners, and originally printed for private circulation only in the late 1930’s, this waspish roman à clef purports to describe the antics of a snotty girls’ public school. The truth is that this book is really a teasing exposé of the most exquisite poseurs of the day: Every rosy-cheeked gal is really one of his lordship’s effete male pals, who just happen to have been the most creative people of the time. Cecily is Cecil Beaton, Olive is really Oliver Messel and Daisy is the notorious aristocrat David Herbert (who, incidentally, is reputed to have spent his sunset years on the beach in Tangier wearing nothing but a colostomy bag and a toupée). Bon appétit !