Polo mints are doughnut shaped mints that I remember fondly from childhood. We bought them because they were cheap…and that’s about it really. We really wanted Tic-tacs but because of their space-age dispenser were more expensive, so we had to slum it with Polos. They also had another side effect, namely that they would make you sterile. I know that this is hogwash (as I have eaten muchos, muchos polos and have two kids) but I still think about it every time someone offers me a Polo…which is not very often. Never, in fact. No one buys Polos apart from secret smokers and people trying to break a large note for parking.
The Volkswagon Polo is a small car that is not really small any more. It used to be really, really awful and only came as a 3 door but was small and ran forever. But over the years it has grown and grown so that the current model is the same size as a Golf and you wonder why you’d buy a Polo at all. The other thing I associate with these cars is that if your parents were really, really loaded then you got this as a present for passing your test when you were 17. Everyone else got Fiats. My brother got an Allegro which is the automotive equivalent of a pair of brown y-fronts. Everyone hated that car. Even my brother. In the end he crashed it. Possibly on purpose.
But now I have a new association to add to my Polo armory. Polo: the sport.
In a semi-random fashion we decided to go en-famille to the Polo in Mies (a very smart village outside of Geneva) and watch rich people twat balls with mallets on horseback (It wasn’t us on horseback (or mallets!), ha! – like the Wildbunch, riding into Mies, down the middle of the road, demanding the man who shot our paw.) It was also interesting to see the rich of Swizzerland. The rich Swiss tend to keep it very low-key and do not show off about how wealthy they are. But at the polo they proper blinged it up and it was wall to wall Hermés and…other brands that only the rich know and care about. There were stalls. When I say stalls, I mean boutiques made of fabric.
There was a stall for Aston Martin, just in case you forgot to buy one on your way home; a Champagne stall; a stall for a watch brand so exclusive and expensive that I simply cannot recall it because I am, alas, too impoverished to even afford the magazines that they are advertised in; a Champagne stall; another watch manufacturer producing watches so magnificently ugly that they must be more expensive than a fistful of platinum; a Champagne stall; a saddle maker that makes saddles more expensive than the horses; a Champagne stall; yet another watch manufacturer making even uglier, nastier watches than the previous manufacturer that actually render the watches redundant as you cannot read the time anymore because of their overwhelming ugliness.
So, who quaffes champagne and then decides to buy an Aston and an ugly watch on a whim? Well, I can now tell you: ugly men who wear loafers and their pretty, well groomed wives.
What was stranger still was that it was free to get in. Free.
Stop the bloody clocks! Did I say free? Yes, unbelievably there is something in Swizzerland that is free – I literally cannot believe it. What’s more – now hold onto your Toblerones – there were freebies. In a fiendish marketing ploy, plunging the depths of human willfulness – companies had given up on the bling-fatigued parents and focused on the kids and gave away free ice-cream and merry-go-round rides.
Our children draped themselves over the ice-cream splattered, wooden horses on the merry-go-round like drunken sailors on shore leave before slipping off now and again to demand another ice-cream – it was decadent…or like being in Neverland before Jacko snuffed it. But obviously without the monkey and the totally appropriate and above board relationships with children.
In conclusion, the polo was ace. We even bought a bottle of Champagne – with which you got free glasses and a wine cooler.
I still don’t understand polo, though. As far as I can make out, there are two teams who have to twat the ball through goal and then they get a point? Or a point and a half? I think you get more if you’re royal or something. You’re not allowed to hit each other with the mallets and…I dunno. I thought it was hockey on horseback, but I still don’t get it.