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#92 - Equestrian

#92 – Equestrian

Equestrian
Price: Saddle sores/horsemeat scandals

If you are serious about being wealthy, one of life’s great pleasures is developing a sense of class that is far beyond that of the common man. This means enjoying activities like polo, croquet and collecting ascots. While nearly everyone has donned a cowboy hat and straddled a petting zoo pony or mounted a dude ranch work horse better named Gluestick than Silver, the truly wealthy do not consider these representative of a true equine aficionado. In fact, the rich consider anyone that wears blue jeans and a straw hat more likely to be proficient with a pitchfork and a wheelbarrow than a saddle and a bridle. Instead, one simply must own a proper collection of riding boots, flared riding pants and a helmet reminiscent of Marvin the Martian, if Marvin owned a Bentley.

While a trusted steed may elicit images of John Wayne, the Lone Ranger or Clint Eastwood, rich people know that only and elite few can exhibit the grace and elegance of an equestrian rider. The majesty of rider taming a well-papered beast and becoming one as they gracefully vault over obstacles in a race against time is akin to watching a an Italian mechanic tune a classic Ferrari…while it is moving. Equestrian may at first blush appear a frivolous pastime but one must move beyond the literal interpretation and realize it is in fact a metaphor for success as many wealthy patrons believe they have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps overcoming humble beginnings as trust fund children who did not see a penny until they turned 21 or until they narrowly graduated from an Ivy League college at a campus littered with buildings named after their forefathers.

As always, the challenge is not how to mock the frivolities of the wealthy but to embrace them as a means to gallop into the inner circle. Naturally, as with other stuff rich people love, there is a vocabulary to learn. Understanding that the obstacles are called verticals or fences and that the horse and rider are called jumpers is table stakes, so the ability to discuss the finer points of the sport becomes critical. I recommend intimating a knowledge of dressage or perhaps the cultural importance of the fox hunt as light-hearted means to inspire your host to wax poetic on their thoughts about warmblood and thoroughbred breeding or their leaning towards Badminton versus Burghley as the pinnacle of success. Some may suggest that sincerity and genuine interest are keys to winning friends and gaining influence. Others believe that rich people are much more inclined to appreciate a sycophant that feigns interest rather than engaging in meaningful dialogue. Perhaps it is why horses make such great team mates.

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#68 - Mounting Animals

#68 - Mounting Animals

Mounting Animals
Price: Losing Vegan Friends

Rich people love to mount animals. Please dislodge your mind from the gutter, if you gasped know that taxidermy is alive and well. Hunting has always been a favorite pastime of the wealthy and as long as there are automatic weapons, ammunition and animals obliviously wandering their natural habitat, they will be shot, stuffed and hung on a wall of similarly ferocious beasts. Back when Captain Caveman, the Flintstones and a young Larry King first roamed the earth, hunting was a necessary and effective means to feed the tribe. Centuries later it evolved into feeding one’s ego. For the rich, a room full of hunting trophies is a sign that a man’s man is among you. In such a setting, the scent of rich leather, mahogany and testosterone is intended to impress the toughest of men and seduce the most virtuous of young vixens.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, these public displays of masculinity may have been enough to bring a young woman to her knees but today woman are more likely to hold a membership in Greenpeace than be green with envy over these feats of manhood. Nonetheless, lions and tigers and bears (oh my) continue to adorn the walnut paneled walls of estates the world over. The simple explanation, the rich are oblivious to shifting social norms and as such believe that donning a pith helmet to tag and bag a rhinoceros is all in a good day’s fun. Furthermore, their hunting junkets are a form of financial aid intended to prop up the local gin and tonic trade and keep the natives from getting restless.

Your distaste for this archaic tradition could still help you to score big. Social gatherings can prove the perfect arena to outwit your host, the cagey hunter. Examine your surroundings and determine if there is division in the crowd. If you are lucky, a beautiful heiress is in your midst looking for a distraction from the cookie cutter guests. The trophy room can act as the ideal conversation starter to distinguish you from the “yes men” attentively listening to epic tales about Serengeti safaris. Mentioning that a skilled taxidermist can make a squirrel look threatening to the young gazelle could prove the difference between an evening among old men with pipes and a romantic tour of her well-manicured garden. That said, do not let your guard down in this setting, you never know when a cougar is in your midst…pad, pad, pounce and it is lights out!

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#42 - Being Right

#42 - Being Right

High School Debate Team
Price: Failed Friendships

Rich people love to be right. I don’t mean they like to get the right answer, I mean fighting tooth and nail to prove that the sky is green and the grass is blue. This stubborn, unyielding pugilism comes from years of people submitting to their opinions because the alternative is a ruined evening of incessant droning about something you don’t care about anyway. There are a lot of reasons for this, I know you can add to the list, so sit back and let’s have a look.

For as long as rich people can remember, someone has been coddling them, picking up after them and agreeing to do anything they say is important. Rich kids don’t have babysitters that can refuse an evening with a little monster, they have nannies that desperately need the job to send money home to Mexico or the Philippines. As such, nannies will do anything they are told, even by a four year old. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, only that the situation instills a belief by the child that they were bred to tell adults what is right. Fast-forward to boarding school where entire rooms of children have been raised in the same manner and rather than settle disagreements on the football field or at the bike racks, rich people engage in fiery, albeit pointless discussions about anything and everything that comes to mind. The problem is that they are trained to take either side of an argument which means they aren’t interested in the truth, only in battering each other into submission.

Look out once a rich person leaves the isolation of the classroom. A lifetime of mental gymnastics and unimpeded arrogance means that they spend the next decade proving to themselves and those around them that their ideas are superior despite lacking knowledge of the topics at hand; it’s like a kid from chess club arguing with the QB about what sex with cheerleaders is like. Rich people will discuss why they oppose Medicare, despise welfare and question why the poor are allowed to vote with an annoying air of superiority. They likely don’t agree with what they are saying but will staunchly defend it to the death in the event that anyone opposes their view. Ultimately, their self-professed sharp wit and sharper tongue stands in the way of developing lasting relationships as they push anyone with dissenting opinions away and sound like uninformed jackasses to everyone but themselves. Before you start, I know what you are going to say…you respectfully disagree! I figured as much!

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#40 - Second Marriages

#40 - Second Marriages

Second Marriages
Price: Half of Everything

Rich people love second marriages. It isn’t that they like to end the first one, but the fact remains that marriage is the leading cause of divorce. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the first husband or wife only that they remind each other of what it was like to be without money. The result, once a couple has banked their millions both parties feel it is time to trade up and move on. The woman looks for a man that doesn’t remind her of her ex-husband’s insecurities about success and a man looks for a trophy wife to make him feel younger.

Denial that *ahem* it is about to hit the fan is common. Some men compensate with a new Lamborghini or running groups while women collect Carlos Falchi handbags and Alexander McQueen dresses; both drink more. This is only a temporary solution before the house of marriage crumbles around them. Once either, or both, realizes the end is near they have to move fast. Its time to play “hide the assets” before calling in the sharks and sealing the fate of their ill-conceived union. The race is on to find the best, brightest and most ruthless team of legal eagles to claw and battle for every public asset that they haven’t shuffled to off-shore accounts. Everyone involved realizes there is more than enough money to last many generations, so it isn’t about the houses, the cars or the cash. It is about devaluing their ex and stripping them of their dignity and pride at every legal turn.

After the papers are signed, the second marriage is all about enjoying the life they think was flushed away during the first marriage. This means more travel, less work, more luxurious lifestyles, bigger homes, more soirees and alimony. They build new friendships and join different clubs to start their new life together. Everything is coming up roses. The danger is an addiction to the freshness and newness of nuptial promises and the honeymoon phase. Unfortunately, with all things new, the passion fades and the shine loses its lustre. If the relationship was built on mutual contempt for their exes and a healthy dose of Viagra, the marriage faces an untimely demise and this time you can’t try to keep it together for the kids!

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#26 - Driving Gloves

#26 - Driving Gloves

Moreschi Monza Driving Gloves
Price: $395

Rich people love exotic automobiles so it should come as no surprise that rich people love driving gloves. Driving gloves are extremely recognizable and therefore an easy means to forge friendships with the wealthy and to identify you as a compatriot of the cultured. Driving gloves have four identifying characteristics; leather construction, holes at the knuckles, snap wrist closures and ownership by drivers who believe 150 km/h is a moderate pace! Driving glove owners are most certainly automobile aficionados who, as an example, will wax poetic about the Ferrari 250 GT SWB as the last true GT and discuss Pininfarina styling with such passion you would be forgiven the belief that such discourse could supplant their need for Viagra, if only their wife loved cars.

As they say, if you don’t know the past, you don’t know the present and therefore the future. Driving gloves were originally conceived to counter unreliable heaters, ungraspable steering wheels and adrenaline fueled sweaty palms. While these may have been problems in classic automobiles, two of these issues have gone the way of the dodo, while the third has been relegated to first dates, interviews and hedge fund audits. Despite technological advances inside the car, social progression of vehicular couture is slower and as such there remains a place in every enthusiast’s wardrobe for Moreschi Monza driving gloves.

To make friends, focus on the the crux of the driving glove debate, color choice. This is where you can put yourself in the social driver’s seat. The rich can spend hours discussing the merits of aligning glove color with the interior appointments of their Bugatti Veyron versus matching to their Loro Piana jacket and Zegna trousers. This high brow debate will be spirited and if you want to blow their minds ask why one would stray from a single pair as performance favors consistency. You will receive a hearty “hear hear!” and the altercation will conclude with a gentleman’s agreement to disagree. The lesser B-type of the group, likely nicknamed “Big Pussy” since boarding school, will offer to buy a conciliatory round of 40-year old Macallans and you will be discussing summer homes in Montauk and the merits of live-in nannies faster than you can say Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction!

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It is such a beautiful day! The sun is out, women are wearing gingham dresses, Prada sunglasses and floppy sunhats while the men look relaxed in linen suits with Ferragamo loafers. Such a lovely day calls for a trip to the ballpark, and what would a day watching the boys of summer be without sampling the finest MLB culinary offerings. Discover the best and worst of the 30 major league parks. Enjoy today’s fun site, Finding the Hits, Avoiding the Errors at the NY Times! I recommend the crab cakes in San Francisco!

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#21  - Mint Juleps

#21 - Mint Juleps

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Price: $1,000

All rich people love to drink. Give a rich person a stiff cocktail and a cigarette holder and they can stay out until dawn…of course they never do, it would be improper. Unlike the masses, rich people do not pick up a flat of Pabst Blue Ribbon or a bottle of Wild Turkey or loudly proclaim “it’s Miller time!” Instead, rich people tailor their drink of choice to the social gathering at hand. As an example, strawberries and champagne are lovely at Wimbledon, a Manhattan at The Campbell Apartment in New York will do, a Caesar (for our Canadian readers) or a Bloody Mary with brunch is quite civilized and perhaps the most famous, a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby is a must have.

Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, serves over 120,000 mint juleps each year. While this delightful cocktail of crushed ice, bourbon and fresh mint sweetened with syrup may fit the bill for the common man, the rich prefer a more prestigious concoction of this historic favorite. Each year the Kentucky Derby crafts 50 special edition mint juleps available to their wealthiest patrons for $1,000 per drink. Imagine…crushed ice from the Arctic Circle sweetened with hand-ground sugar from the island Republic of Mauritius, fresh Moroccan mint and Kentucky bourbon blended and served in an engraved gold-plated mug and sipped through a sterling silver straw. Custom storage box and an embroidered silk handkerchief, designed by the makers of jockey silks, make this a must-have for any patron of the sport of kings. Of course the proceeds go to charity but that’s hardly the point is it?

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