That is where Richmonder Jason Tesauro comes in, an expert in life’s finer accoutrements who works behind the scenes as a personal concierge .
Tesaurao, author of The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy & Vice, describes his recessionary exploits as a go-between for the “underground decadence movement” in a recent article in Details magazine.
In essence, Tesauro procures fine wine, cigars, oysters, and any other high end indulgences on behalf of his clients—men of influence who would prefer to project a public image of austerity during these difficult times.
From the article:
While the conventional wisdom tells us that rich and powerful people reeled in their profligate spending habits around the same time that Bernie Madoff became a synonym for Satan, the reality is that a lot of American elites simply went into speakeasy mode: They kept living it up, but they carefully concealed that fact from the outside world. “The consumption is still taking place,” Tesauro says. “The conspicuousness is what’s getting played with.” As he explains it, big shots from nearby Washington, D.C.—defense contractors, lobbyists, et al.—are in something of a bind. Their business model is based on the time-honored tradition of seducing others with extravagance, but these days guys like that need to be careful that the extravagance isn’t so extravagant that it turns them into bull’s-eyes for gossip columnists. “They want to entertain their clients, but they don’t want to make a splash in the headlines,” he says. To avoid that, a contractor might turn the dirty work over to Tesauro, pay him a hosting fee of $10,000 per event, then pass along a credit card and encourage him to buy to his heart’s content. One client, Tesauro says, “gave me his black American Express to go in the wine shop, and instead of him running into the neighbor who’s dealing with foreclosure, I’m loading up the car. He doesn’t have to deal with walking out of the shop with teetering cases of first-growths and having someone pointing the finger and going, ‘You aristocratic so-and-so . . . ‘”
Read the rest here.