We had a little time to kill since our reservation for lunch at Le Club 55—or “sanc-et-sanc” as Hardy calls it—wasn’t until three so after the tender dropped us off at the southern end of Pampelonne beach, near Cap Camarat, we headed for the nearest beach café and ordered a bottle of Bandol rose. God, the stares we got from people. I couldn’t figure out if it was because we were six guys sitting on a couch together and they thought we were gay or perhaps they were just amused by the way we were dressed. You know, in ugly shorts and bright colored shirts. Obviously we hadn’t gotten the memo that if one is going to have lunch along the Plage de Pampelonne one only wears white, even if it is well past Labor Day.
A French couple sitting at the end of the bar pretty much summed up the way everyone else in the place was dressed. The guy, who looked like a retired Humpty-Dumpty, wore a white cap, white polo shirt, white shorts, and white socks. His one nod to color was his pea-green shoes (which perfectly matched the single green stripe on his wife’s sandals). They kept staring at us as they ate their strawberries and ice cream, as if expecting the waiter to come over at any minute and ask us to leave. The disdain on their faces was as obvious as the sunburn on Humpty-Dumpty’s face.
Just to sort of get under their skin, St. John, who speaks impeccable French, made a big deal of asking our waitress to take a group photo of us, flapping his wrists around and proclaiming in a very large voice that we were a gay group of friends on holiday. I thought Humpty-Dumpty was going to have a stroke. And fall off his elevated garden bench. When we’d finished our wine, St. John went over and gave Humpty-Dumpty a big smile. “Just love your green shoes,” he said.
The old guy will probably never wear them again. Too bad. They were rather stylish.