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Archive for June, 2009

Escort Services

#19 - Escort Services

Emperors Club VIP
Price: $31,000 per day

Rich people love escort services. I’m not suggesting that all rich people love escort services or even that the majority use them but at $31,000 per *ahem* day, escorts certainly are not targeting the middle class. Take former Governor of New York, Elliot Spitzer. He found himself in a ‘spot of bother’ after it emerged that his idea of polling the voters typically took place in The Mayflower Hotel of Washington, DC. Meanwhile, in Canada, Jim Whitehouse was dismissed after allegedly bringing a prostitute to his office. Being rich, he did not see the issue but his employer, one of Canada’s biggest banks, saw things another way. I bet nobody calls him Jimmy to his face although the frat boys buy Elliot drinks just to laugh whenever ‘Spitzer swallows’.

Call them what you may; escorts, call girls, prostitutes, hookers…the list goes on, as I am sure madam Heidi Fleiss recalls. The crux is that not every wealthy, morally corrupt, middle aged man wants to wear a golf shirt, blazer, designer jeans, Italian loafers without socks and drive around in his Ferrari until he meets a young woman willing to go to bed with him after a nice meal and a bottle of 1995 Chateaux Margaux. While it is reprehensible, some men have careers that they are willing to throw away and therefore pay for this type of company. It requires that they forego the role of the flirtatious, creepy old man and instead assume the role of creepy old man spending money on professional women who will dote on them until the clock runs out.

As nobody in the wealthy echelons believe that escort services are anything but whore mongering brothels, a key to fitting in at the tennis club is to learn a few key phrases; you likely already know and use them. First, use the delicate but not too subtle “tsk tsk” when news emerges that yet another wealthy imbecile has been exposed as a client. Next, you must show compassion by stating…”his poor wife…she’s so lovely”. Finally, diminish the source of his wealth by saying something like, “I understand the money comes from her family” or “did you know he made his fortune in sweatshops/importing tattoo needles/drowning puppies/etc?” If nothing comes to mind, simply nod your head and agree with whoever takes the lead in doling out moral superiority.

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#18 - Air Kiss

#18 - Air Kiss

Air Kisses
Priceless

Rich people love to greet each other with air kisses. While regular people are satisfied with a firm handshake, a fist pump or a high five, these are beneath the upper class. To ensure that you comfortably fit with your new social group, follow a few guidelines and you will never find yourself the object of social scorn.

For those that did not grow up around young men kissing octogenarians, take note. The first time someone swoops in to greet you with an air kiss it may seem as though you are back in grade 2 when Cindy made her move by the bike racks. You may feel an overwhelming sense of panic and discomfort…fight through it. While your instincts tell you that an awkward social moment is brewing, a simple touch of the cheeks, pursing of the lips and it will all be over. That is, unless you manage to head butt your host and give her reason to visit Dr. Weinberg for more rhinoplasty.

Master the proper technique and you will never feel at odds. First, feign enthusiasm over seeing your acquaintance. Cup her hand with both of your hands say “My god, how long has it been?” Next, smile brightly and lean in as though you are about to kiss. Finally, tactfully dodge her lips, touch cheeks and make either a kissing sound with your lips or say “mwah”. Heed the volume of your kiss as your lips will be next to your host’s ear and you risk an enormous faux pas if you deafen your companion. Like shampooing, repeat as necessary. You will likely be expected to touch your right cheek and then left before carrying on about the fabulous weekend that you had in Paris, London, The Hamptons, Geneva, Zurich, Madrid or the Seychelles.

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We can’t all live in New York City but if you have been, you have visited Central Park. The whopping 843 acres is an amazing place to wander around, people watch, escape the hustle and bustle of 5th Ave or go jogging! The New York Times provides a really great interactive map of the park including clickable photos and audio guides to the running trails…I feel like I should pop into the Guggenheim! Visit Trails Less Traveled – Central Park Interactive Map at the NY Times!

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#17 - Personal Bodyguards

#17 - Personal Bodyguards

Bilyeu Group
Price: US $1,500 per day per guard

Rich people love personal body guards. While protection is a factor in the love affair that the rich have with personal protection, bodyguards are an important social accessory, akin to Bottega handbags, Tiffany key pendants and Patek Philippe watches. Any self respecting well-to-do socialite would be remiss to leave home without their favorite Bilyeu, Icon or Blackwater security professional. In fact, corporations spend millions to keep their CEOs and top executives out of harm’s way.

There are many security accessories that the rich must have; home security, armoured vehicles, hand guns, chauffeured vehicles, safe rooms, property guards, personal protection dogs, risk assessments and back-up power systems but none carry the exclusivity of personal body guards. There are many monikers that security personnel adopt to ensure that the wealthy feel their money is well spent, but as they say a rose by any name smells the same. There are VIP, executive, celebrity and personal bodyguards and each fulfills the same purpose; provide wealthy individuals the opportunity to become the centre of attention among their peers by nonchalantly mentioning the 6’5”, 235lb gent acting as their bodyguard.

Numerous choices exist for you to express your self-importance through the use of a well-dressed and a well-paid bully. You may opt for round-the-clock security to plan daily driving routes, pat down visitors and generally intimidate anyone that is granted the privilege to meet with you. Salaries start at roughly $75,000 per year and climb rapidly with experience and additional training. The other option is to hire services on an as-needed basis. While the per diem for these mercenaries is $1,500 it ensures that the novelty of your bone crushing sidekick is not lost on your social circle. Beware the perils of securing personal protection, Whitney Houston was never the same after her and Kevin Costner tasted the forbidden fruit of bodyguard romance!

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#16 - French Chateaus

#16 - French Chateaus

Prestige Property Group
Price: $74,730,000

People own houses; rich people own castles, mansions, penthouses and chateaux. Unlike private islands which are intended to keep visitors at a distance, chateaus are intended to showcase superior upbringing and lavish taste. While you may not own a chateau, ingratiating yourself with the über-rich can be expedited by comparing your host to the monarchs that first erected these fairy-tale structures. Europe and particularly France have a healthy sprinkling of these beautiful edifices in some of the most breathtaking settings meaning you can always find an extravagant piece of history to discuss. Rich people have no shame when it comes to acquaintances doting on them and their material possessions.

Consider the magnificent example of a French chateau currently for sale in the department of Jura in eastern France. The property is advertised as a 10 minute helicopter flight from Geneva sitting on 200 acres of walled opulence. The, yes this number is correct, 75,000 square feet of living space features a 1,200 sq ft entrance hall with a “monumental gothic staircase”. The five floor main building houses 34 bedrooms, a Napoleonic drawing room, Louis XVI apartment, Louis XV bedrooms, billiard room, private library and a square tower; damsel in distress not included. Other property features are stables and equestrian infrastructure, a gardener’s house, 19th century workshops that have been converted to sleep 30, courtyard, farm, walled garden, English design lawns, 2 lakes, cascades, grotto and a statue of Diane Chasseresse resembling the statue found at Fontainebleau – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and therefore not presently for sale.

Discussing these features will provide ample ammunition for small talk when discussing chateaus with your new found acquaintance. Their shared love of exclusive residences will make for delightful conversation. Keep in mind, referring to such opulent residences as “pleasant summer homes” is sure to win you respect and another appropriately aged scotch. Engage the right well-to-do land magnate and it may lead to an invitation to accompany them for a weekend tryst with unpasteurized cheese, champagne and fine port….c’est magnifique!

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Ever wonder how rich you really are? The people at Global Rich List have just the thing. This great little site is simple and will tell you in an instant how you stack up against the rest of the world. No promises on accuracy but it is fun! Go to the Global Rich List web site (http://www.globalrichlist.com/) and find out how rich you are!

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#15 - Private Banking

#15 - Private Banking

Swiss Private Banking
Min. deposit: $1 million

Rich people love multiple bank accounts; rich people love Swiss Bank accounts. Switzerland is an excellent choice due to bank secrecy, low risk, economic stability and let’s be honest who doesn’t love saying “wire it to my Swiss account”. Few industries are enshrouded by mystery as Swiss banking. Despite James Bond’s distrust of Swiss bankers, learn a few rules and you will be leading sparkling conversation that makes your wealthy compatriots envy your international financial knowledge.

Bankers will not install microprocessors under your skin, you won’t feel like James Bond withdrawing your cash and you certainly won’t have a Da Vinci Code key to tote around. In fact, private banking services in Switzerland are remarkably similar to private banking services in Cleveland, but who wants to go to Cleveland? What you do get is banking secrecy rivaled by few countries the world over. Clients may use Swiss banks to shield assets from spiteful spouses, intrusive government tax agencies, angry patients, unscrupulous business associates, greedy litigators or a host of leeches laying claim to the birthright of the fabulously wealthy.

Besides the intense secrecy laws that protect account holders, private banking has unrivalled levels of service far surpassing the common man’s mass market retail savings and checking accounts. Rich people can ensure they avoid teller lines, dirty ATMs, pens on chains and cattle-herding polyester ropes by liaising with their personal banker in the comfort of a private office. Services are extensive and typically include wealth management counseling services, investment advice and estate planning peppered with offside humor at the expense of poor people. While the minimum million dollars in assets in not particularly prohibitive, many private Swiss Banks will only extend an invitation to new customers based upon a referral from current customers. Nevertheless, during your next visit to St. Moritz, delay the departure of your Gulfstream, visit Zurich and engage bankers that have served European royalty for over 300 years. Unsurprisingly, you are unlikely to encounter Mr. Christoph Meili in the lobby.

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