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How to be James Bond

How to be James Bond. This information comes from Ian Fleming's books, rather than films, so you are getting it as the creator intended.

Looking the part is important, of course. If you have scars, be mysterious about them. I got my small facial scar by tripping over a vacuum cleaner, but that doesn't impress the ladies. Pock marks and acne scars may have been caused by shrapnel, if you are good at hinting. You don't have to be particularly muscular, but if you are overweight, do try to slim down.

Bond wears a dark-blue suit. At dinner, he wears a single-breasted dinner jacket with a thin, black, satin tie and a silk shirt. In the bedroom, he wears only a chinese-style pyjama coat, with short sleeves and a waist-belt. His watch, of course, is a Rolex. (The slightly cheaper Hong Kong imitations are said to be better than the real thing, so you even have to beware of fake imitations.) If you aspire to be like Bond, your only permissible accessory is a small pigskin attache case.

Say that you find American cars boring. "They lack personality and the patina of craftsmanship that European cars have." Nowadays, of course, European cars lack the same qualities, but don't let that bother you.

James Bond never gets drunk, so when you start staggering, pretend that you're faking it. James naturally prefers to drink in sophisticated bars, unless he's spying on somebody, so when you do go down to the local, act as though you're not really in your element. When drinking outside of Britain, just about any watering holes, even seedy ones, are suitable environments. Our hero is a connoisseur, and so is not a fan of British beer. Fortunately, there are nowadays good foreign beers to be found even in British pubs. In general, though, James drinks expensive spirits. His preference is bourbon, but you may have your own preference, as you only need to be LIKE James Bond, you don't actually have to BE him.

If there's black pepper nearby while you're drinking vodka, drop a pinch of it into your glass. Tell your companion that you learned from a Russian that when the pepper sinks to the bottom, it absorbs harmful fusel oils from the vodka. When your companion presses for more details, be mysterious.

Bond's vodka martini, made famous in Doctor No, is now too obvious for the would-be gentleman adventurer. In any case, it really should be stirred and filtered, not shaken. You could get away with asking for a martini, and, if it gets shaken, saying "who do you think I am? James Bond?"

If you are a gentleman adventurer in the Bond mould, you can get away with regarding wine connoisseurship as being something for chinless wonders. Of course, if you really are an expert, by all means take advantage of it. In practice, a good ten-year-old claret goes well with most things except fish. If you can't afford both good champagne and Beluga caviar, it is quite permissible to drink it with scrambled eggs.

James Bond is NEVER publicly seen with soft drinks. Also, although technically an Englishman, he never drinks anything as insipid as tea. Coffee is perfectly all right, though.

As a gentleman adventurer, toad-in-the-hole, fish and chips, and even vindaloo, must vanish from your menu when you're in character. Things like grilled sole or steaks (rare or medium rare) are sufficiently sophisticated, without being airy-fairy.

When you travel, you must be prepared to eat at least some of the local food. James Bond would never say "I don't eat that foreign muck." If you are worried about food, learn what you can before travelling, so that you can order something tolerable. Learning to eat with chopsticks is a handy skill, as James never appears clumsy or ignorant.

Bond is a heavy smoker, but in these more enlightened times, you don't have to be. However, even if you don't smoke, there's nothing to prevent you from carrying a cigarette case of black gun metal, filled with cigarettes of the most expensive kind. You can then offer a cigarette to a woman who does smoke, thus showing yourself to be both sophisticated and considerate. Like Bond, you should back up your offer of a cigarette with a light from your black Ronson lighter. If you don't smoke, say that you gave it up (but don't say anything about "doctor's orders"). Never to have smoked is nerdy, but giving it up shows strength of character.

Acceptable sporting activities are golf, skiiing, swimming, shooting and unarmed combat, but unless you really are good at them, try to avoid the subject. Also try to avoid the subject of weapons, but if pressed, say that your favourite pistol is the 7.65mm Walther PPK automatic.

You don't have to have seen the whole world. As a secret agent, you've been only where your employers sent you. Do find out about the best hotels, restaurants, clubs and bars in the cities that you have visited. When you lived in England, it had to be in London. The 'real' Bond lives in a flat, in a Regency-style street, in Chelsea.

Like all gentleman adventurers, Bond is classically educated. The screen bond, in You Only Live Twice, claims a knowledge of oriental languages. The literary bond, in the same story, is more modest : "My education was mostly in Latin and Greek."

In the nineteen-fifties, Bond counted himself among the "gay soldiers of fortune", but the language has changed a bit since then, and you don't have to be gay if you don't want to be.

In London, you read the Times, the Evening Standard, The Field and Country Life. Even if you don't live in London, have a few copies scattered about, to show that you're the right sort of person.

As is evident from Moonraker, Thunderball and, of course, Casino Royale, James Bond is particularly at home in the world's casinos.

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