With Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States just days away, several prominent heads of state are competing for the privilege of "buddying-up" and taking him under their wing as he makes his first tentative steps onto the tricky playground of international diplomacy.
The rookie Commander-in-Chief will be the newest inductee into the notorious "G8 Gang" and its existing members are all keen to mentor him in vital summit protocols like coffee machine etiquette, spa-room pecking order and the surreptitious theft of fluffy bath-robes from luxury hotels.
This goodwill is all the more surprising considering outgoing President George W Bush's universal unpopularity among his global peers. But Obama's warmth and charisma have charmed the more established G8 leaders and made him the most sought after statesman sidekick since Helmut Kohl announced an impromptu post-conference beer and sausage party in Bavaria in 1992.
Despite being ringleader in many of the hilarious pranks and wedgies suffered by Bush at the last Italian summit eight years ago, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, has promised Obama an easier ride when the G8 group meets again at the Sardinian resort of La Maddalena in June.
"It's traditional to give the new boys a bit of stick. I remember we did the old cling-film-over-the-toilet trick on that imbecile Texan back in Genoa in 2001," Berlusconi recalled fondly. "But I think it's important to get off to a good start with Mr Obama, so I've reserved him the penthouse suite. It has gorgeous sea views, in-room cinema and a gold-plated trouser-press - More importantly it is on the other side of the hotel from stinky Sarkozy, so my good friend will not be troubled by the stench of garlic wafting down the corridor."
Despite this enforced proximity disadvantage and the customary hostility between his nation and The United States, French President Nicholas Sarkozy was also eager to bond with his American counterpart. "Ze previous incumbent was a buffoon," the vertically-challenged Gallic supremo sneered. "But Monsieur Obama is a classy guy. I will present 'im wiz a fine camembert and signed photo of my wife - he will be like - 'ow you say? - ze putty in my 'ands."
Other leaders, too, are making plans to butter up the new President when he takes the reins of power on January 20th.
Rumours persist that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken up smoking so she can compliment him on his azaleas during crafty fag breaks on the Whitehouse lawn, while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has emailed Obama several times, promising to "baggsy a couple of seats near the back" of the next UN trade briefing so they can "snigger at the poor countries" without incurring the wrath of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
These new seating arrangements will dismay British PM Gordon Brown, who is reportedly keen to build on the Special Relationship enjoyed by Bush and Tony Blair. His plans to secure a berth next to Obama at all major international diplomatic conventions so he can pass private notes and "explain how the funny headphones work" may now need serious revision in the wake of this new Russian challenge.
Non-G8 leaders are also keen to make an impression on the President-elect, with Robert Mugabe looking to room with Obama on the next UN-sanctioned African famine field trip, and Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad desperate to try his "pull my finger" trick at a yet-to-be-scheduled war crimes tribunal in the Hague.