The Presidents Club

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The Etiquette of Bunga Bunga

Every week now we have stuff in the papers and in the news about Trump, Brexit and Sexual Abuse, and it is all very divisive. Only a couple of days ago there was a story in the British press about a charity dinner at the Presidents Club where the all male guests were groping and making indecent remarks to the waiting staff. Perhaps rightly so, there has been public outrage of the male elite abusing their entitlement. I say, ‘perhaps rightly so’, but only perhaps. In our politically correct world we do often lose sense of reality.

I remember here in Italy a few years ago the ever recurring stories of Silvio Berlusconi and his cronies with their Bunga Bunga Parties. Now, my intention is not to defend Silvio in any way, nor the ogling men in the UK, but to make a quick comparison. Why is it that in Italy there was no real mention of sexual abuse and the only real outrage came from the political opponents of Berlusconi.

As in Britain on this occasion, where the girls were told to wear sexy clothing, including the colour of their underwear, alarm bells should have been sounding to anyone involved from the very start. And so the only real difference between Italy and Britain, was that of money. Money, and also openness.

In Britain the waitresses were expected to behave in a certain flirty way, all for the price of a measly £10 an hour; In Berlusconi’s Italy they were paid far far more, and there would be no illusions to what was expected.

Obviously, this doesn’t take anything away of the incorrectness of either situation. Both are perhaps unacceptable – or at least misguided. But nonetheless, not all the participants were unwilling. Undoubtedly, more than a few were happy to play along with events for a multitude of reasons.


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