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Etiquette Advice for the Luxe Life

Got champagne problems? Well we’ve got answers to all of your high-end dilemmas

I think my boyfriend’s soon-to-be-ex-wife is having me followed. How can I tell if I’ve got a private eye on my tail? 
First of all, show me a pre-divorcée who doesn’t have a PI on the payroll. Of course you’re being followed! The more money he’s spending on you, the less there is for her to siphon off later. But here are some solid clues you’re being tailed: You run into the same “old friend” at Barneys twice in a week. Your regular florist calls to tell you he had an inquiry from a “secret admirer” regarding your peony preference (semidouble or Japanese?), and would you be in town this weekend or at the beach? Your extra-chatty seatmate on the weekend puddle-jumper to Nantucket casually wonders where you’re going, who you’re going with and who paid for your ticket. Unfortunately, unless you’re being harassed or physically harmed (and most PIs worth their P aren’t about to compromise their cover, or more specifically, their fee), there’s not much you can do. Except, of course, remember that these guys are outfitted with the latest superzoom cameras. Meaning: Don’t skip your weekly blowout and do get rid of those Lululemon flare-cuts circa 2009. I don’t care how good you think they make your butt look.  

A friend invited me to East Hampton on his private jet, but my luggage got damaged en route. Do I still need to send him a note of thanks?
D’accord! And an invoice, too. Acknowledging a friend’s generosity, either in writing or with French chocolate, is never optional. But if your Goyard was nicked, greased or worse, who’s going to fix it? Not the tooth fairy, and not you. You accepted a ride, not an invitation to buy a new portmanteau. This is what you say: “Dear You, Thanks so very much for thinking to include me last weekend on your Hamptons-bound Cessna. The flight was delightfully smooth, the oysters were so creamy (Peconics?) and I can’t believe you remembered that 1978 was my absolute very favorite year for La Tâche; you’re so sweet. But unfortunately my favorite luggage was damaged beyond repair. I debated even bringing this up, I really did, but then I thought we might consider it an even swap for that rotten stock tip you gave me last year—you know the one. Anyway, I’ll go ahead and forward the receipt for my new set, which is just lovely, directly to your house manager. Bisous!”

Can I reuse my first wife’s ring to propose to my new girlfriend? She won’t even know the dIfference.
It’s a risk, but then you’re nothing if not a risk taker, right?

Listen, pal. Recycling—I know everybody’s doing it. But know that you’ve got, let’s say, a 95 percent chance of being busted, especially if you’re working with any of the following factors:

• Your parents keep your old wedding photo displayed in the Aspen house, because your mom thinks she looks thin in it (she doesn’t). In fact, if former wedding photos exist, period—even if you think you can’t see rock in any of them—your fiancée will eventually ID your ex’s finger in her bling.

• You and the ex share a kid. Here’s the direct quote: “My mommy had a ring just like that. Only hers was bigger.”

• Female friends—and here we mean friends or “friends”—from your earlier marriage are still in your social circle. Women always remember the diamond. Get two glasses of Cuvée, I don’t care what kind, into that Muffy Enright, and girl will sing.

So yeah, sure, go ahead and reuse. Just don’t be surprised if in this divorce, you don’t get it back.

Photo: Condé Nast Archive/Corbis