American Woman—only not

New York, NY

The haute monde was still reeling Tuesday night after the revelation that a woman it had taken as one of its own was not in fact an elegant Saudi princess but an ordinary, if talented, elementary media specialist from Georgia.

Tamara Pinchme, the American-born wife of Saudi royal Khalid bin Sultan, champion of women’s rights and Bedouin literacy, whose thrilling life story ranged from Hyannisport to Andy Warhol’s Factory to the execution chambers of Riyadh, was revealed Monday morning to be Dale Lyles, a 53-year-old husband and father from Newnan, Georgia.

“I have to give this to him,” said Donald Trump, speaking from his office in Columbus Circle, “he had me completely fooled. I was ready to marry him.”

After a summer of living it up with the glitterati of Manhattan, Pinchme’s cover was blown after the actual Tamara Pinchme, avant-garde novelist from the 1960s, contacted the Times over the weekend. The real Pinchme had been alerted to her doppelgänger’s existence when friends forwarded her web reports of the glamorous princess’s conquests of high society.

Plans to publish Princess Pinchme’s memoirs, tentatively entitled American Woman, were immediately dropped by Grove Press, whose imprint Evergreen Editions had actually published the real Pinchme’s Somewhat Underdressed Brunch in 1962.

“We’re as shocked as anyone,” said Kitty deBourgh, spokesperson for Grove Press, when contacted about the story. “Her life story was deeply compelling and spoke to all of us here at Grove Press. Of course, all we ever saw was the burqa.”

Indeed, Princess Pinchme’s life story was deeply compelling. She came to the attention of New York’s elite after meeting William F. Buckley in the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel. Dressed in her trademark red silk burqa, she struck up a conversation with the conservative Brahmin. Before his death he described her voice as “ever soft, gentle, and low—an excellent thing in woman.”

Invitations to soirees and salons were quick to come, and Pinchme fascinated all who met her with the events of her life. In broad outline, Pinchme emerged from Vassar, having been the roommate of Jacqueline Bouvier, and then moved to New York City, where she became the social secretary (and some said lover) of Andy Warhol.

According to several prominent socialites interviewed for this article, it was at The Factory that she met her future husband, the Saudi prince Khalid bin Sultan. She noted that the two did not hit it off immediately, although they slept together the entire first week they knew each other. It was not until they met again, she said, at the Lucerne Film Festival that they knew they were destined for each other.

It was not a marriage made in heaven, she claimed. Almost immediately her free spirits came acropper against the conservative Saudi social structure. She claimed that she repeatedly was nearly beheaded for her stances for women’s rights. “I think they were bluffing each time,” she said. “They knew that my profile was too high to kill me.”

According to Pinchme, the marriage produced five children, but was not a happy one in the end. Claiming abuse from her husband, she fled Saudi Arabia last spring to return to the United States, leaving her children behind.

She also claimed to have championed literacy programs for Bedouin children, instituting “Book Camels” as mobile libraries in the deserts of Arabia. It was this project that attracted the many donations from her newfound friends in the penthouses of Fifth Avenue.bottes ugg pas cher bottes ugg pas cher

Seemingly, none of it was true. The Saudi princess was actually a man, one Dale Lyles from Newnan, Georgia. When contacted by this newspaper on Monday morning, Lyles admitted the deception, which he says got started when he came to New York City on his spring break to do some research for a novel he said he was writing about such a woman.

“A long time ago I did know a woman who was married to a son of the Shah of Iran. She had fled the country after being heavily abused by him. She left her children behind,” said Lyles. “My intent in dressing in the burqa was to gain some insight on how such a woman might be perceived in today’s society as background for my novel. When I met Bill Buckley, I just began to improvise, and it got out of hand. I deeply regret the subterfuge.”

It was not clear at presstime whether charges of fraud against Lyles are pending.

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10 Thoughts on “American Woman—only not

  1. jeff on March 6, 2008 at 9:27 am said:

    Book camels! Someone call the Ferst Foundation! QUICK!

    The Lichtenbergian Society needs to seriously consider a Book Camel as its next philanthropic endeavor.

    Actually, I think I can get us a camel. I am not kidding.

  2. I am continually astonished by the depth of the resources of this organization.

  3. Turff on March 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm said:

    I’ll donate, but only if Jeff can guarantee a write-up in the Times-Herald…with an above-the-fold pic of Lyles and the camel…with both smiling…and Lyles may NOT wear the burqa.

  4. I knew Turff would be unable to resist some comment about the cross-dressing. And so I am released from any compunctions I might have felt about the next post.

  5. Turff on March 6, 2008 at 9:55 pm said:

    I suspect I know what you are up to, and you are an evil man for digging that out. It has been quietly dormant for quite some time.

  6. Turff on March 6, 2008 at 9:57 pm said:

    BTW, I have some video for viewing at our next gathering. It involves Stuart trying to tell a story while MF carries a raw chicken about the stage behind him with a kind of “Alas, Yorick” pose going on.

  7. Turff on March 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm said:

    …and for the record, Lyles, the comment was directed to the fact that you should not obscure your face in the photo-op with the camel. You can wear a mini-skirt in the pic for all I care, as long as we can see you smile.

  8. marc on March 7, 2008 at 8:40 am said:

    I remember that night. MF carrying chickens, Matthew stuffing them, Stuart going on, naive attempts at free improv, some Calvino, what else?

    The story leaves questions unanswered. Five questions. “According to Pinchme, the marriage produced five children…” You can look at Dale and tell he lacks the pelvic support for that.

  9. Terry on March 8, 2008 at 1:45 pm said:

    I still don’t think it was subterfuge.

  10. turff on March 8, 2008 at 4:34 pm said:

    Actually, Matthew was providing guidance. I (among others) was stuffing. Well.

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