Today, an agony column with a difference! Not run by an agony aunt, but by our guest columnist, the distinguished hotel manager Felix Landauer. He runs the grand Switzer Hotel in London, and what he does not know about life is not worth putting on the bill. All yours, Herr Landauer...
Felix Landauer says: Thank you, mein Freund. And the first problem?
Mrs P of Plaistow: It's about my husband, Mr Landauer. He is always criticising the way I run my house. He goes to work during the day and the first thing he does when he comes back is start saying that the house is a mess, or untidy, or the meal is not ready. Sometimes I feel like standing behind the door like they do in the cartoons, with a rolling pin, and crack him over the head when he comes in!
Felix Landauer says: Do not do that, Mrs P of Plaistow! Physical violence solves nothing. Many times I have wished to throttle a guest. I am glad I have not. And it may be that your husband is being over-critical, but it is also possible that he is right, and that your house is a mess. Married life is like a hotel. In a hotel, you must make a guest feel that nobody has ever slept in that room before! And so must you, Mrs P. Incidentally, I hope when you sign yourself in at a hotel, it is not as Mrs P of Plaistow!
Mrs P of Plaistow: No, monsieur. Not that I get to stay in hotels very much. Though my husband is always away in hotels on business.
Felix Landauer says: Ah! And you think he is having a clandestine affair with a lady?
Mrs P of Plaistow: No, certainly not! I never thought of such a thing!... Do you think he is?
Felix Landauer says: It is not for me to say. You are the guest. You have the problem. A hotel manager never has a problem. Or if he does, he never admits to it. Now tell me, how is your bed-occupancy ratio?
Mrs P of Plaistow: I'm not sure I... That sounds a bit personal to me ...
Felix Landauer says: I am sorry. I was talking hotel jargon. I mean, how many beds are there in your house and how often do you manage to fill them all?
Mrs P of Plaistow: We have three bedrooms. One for us, one for guests and one for my son, who is usually away at college.
Felix Landauer: So you have a 33 per cent occupancy rate. For a hotel, this would be disastrous. For a home, it is still not good. When your husband is away, you are the only occupant. You must be lonely. This is a shame. You are still young and still very attractive, Mrs P...
Mrs P of Plaistow: You don't know that, monsieur.
Felix Landauer: But I do! For a hotel manager, every guest is interesting, every one is attractive and every one needs special attention. What you need in your life is someone to look after you. Someone who will keep the flowers fresh in your room, put little packets of soap in your bathroom, and turn down the bed for you...
Mrs P of Plaistow: Monsieur! Are you suggesting that I should have an affair?
Felix Landauer: Of course you must. And the sooner the better. And one more thing about your husband. Sometimes, when guests criticise my hotel, I feel like saying: "OK - I will come round to your house and see the way that YOU live and let us see how your house compares to my hotel!"
Well, I cannot do that. But at least you can. You can go round to where he works, stand looking at him and say: "Call this work? You should try housework, mate!"
Mrs P of Plaistow: I might do that very thing. Oh dear - I am sorry I have taken up all your time.
Felix Landauer: For a hotel manager, every guest is the only one that exists. Good luck. Have a nice day. And don't forget to have that affair.Reuse content