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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

#73 - Cooking Classes

#73 - Cooking Classes

Cooking Classes
Price: Trip to the Lipo Clinic

Despite the trappings of fabulous wealth, life can become predictable and eventually dull for the rich. Fortunately there is a world of exhilarating hobbies available to the wealthy that aim to inspire before the doldrums of life consume them. For most people, hobbies like skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba and rock climbing add the joie de vivre missing from their mundane existence. Not to be outdone by middle class thrill-seekers, the wealthy also like to step it up when choosing hobbies by throwing caution to the wind and selecting activities that they never thought they would do. These include driving themselves, working eight hours a day and cooking. While your evening likely includes preparing dinner, the wealthy consider this an unfathomable task that the chef, butler or, as a worst case scenario, the nanny will take care of. As such, signing up for private cooking lessons can be a thrilling way to spend a summer and an excellent excuse to visit France, Italy or perhaps Switzerland if checking on the private bank account is required.

While cooking classes are not an impenetrable bastion of the wealthy, rich people tend to have a different set of expectations for these courses. For the rich, being surrounded by world renowned chefs, fresh ingredients from around the globe, the finest kitchen implements and closely guarded cooking secrets is occasion to uncork another bottle of red while the pros create their masterpieces. Spending a month drinking in the Tuscan sun while observing a veteran of the dutch oven fold egg whites, fabricate port reductions and spawn the perfect soufflé lends the credibility required to authoritatively critique a Michelin four star restaurant and is therefore an invaluable experience. Cooking classes are a little like the Dummy’s Guide to becoming a New York Times food critic without the need for a sophisticated palate, experience or a cynical writing style. Nonetheless, such an experience will promote Bunny McCooking-Class to head of choosing restaurants and ordering lunch for her country club ladies group. Like port with chocolate, this newly developed expertise is best served with tales of Fabrizio the pool boy and his prowess in sunscreen massage.

But how does this help you? The best way to leverage this champagne fountain of knowledge is to grease the baking sheet of inquiry. You must walk the fine line between asking questions about the cooking school without broaching the subject of cooking technique; a surefire approach is to ask about the region in which the class was held. This enables them to speak about the setting without being put on the spot about class content. Bonus points if you can steer the conversation to the Le Creuset and Emile Henry cookware they outfitted the estate kitchen with afterwards. After all, their staff deserves the best when cooking for a discriminating palate like their own!

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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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#65 - Rehab

#65 - Rehab

Rehab
Price: Potential Sunburn

A few months after grey became the new black, rehab became the new grey. The only thing more fashionable than checking into rehab is friends and family hosting an intervention before checking into rehab. This is the highest compliment that rich people can pay one another as it says they care, they want you to get better and that they will probably still spend time with you when you no longer drive exotic cars into the neighbor’s pool. While rehab has become an exclusive club for the wealthy, there is a danger for the uninformed of checking into the wrong clinic only to be ostracized after spending four long weeks listening to Melanie Griffith drone on about Antonio Banderas.

Just as there is a difference between golfing at Sebonac and playing mini putt in New Jersey, rich people prefer Malibu, Antigua and Australia when powdering one’s nose culminates in a 12 step program. I should point out that rich people don’t plan to end up in rehab but if a penchant for excess has gotten out of hand there’s no point in leaving it to Nurse Ratched to wean hard partiers off of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. Rehabilitation can take place in the lap of luxury where nearly every whim is satisfied. In fact, given that guests of the clinic are no longer supplying a kilo of coke for nightly parties hosted at their LA mansion, rehab can actually pay for itself.

More important than the high cost and the goal of sobriety are the potential friendships that clinics like Promises, Cirque Lodge and Crossroads provide. For the wealthy, a stint at a chic clinic in beautiful Malibu can mean an improved circle of friends and access to the A-List that may otherwise be unattainable. Granted, the new friends will be reasonably dull for the first few months but Kate Moss and Mary-Kate Olsen are rumored regulars at top clinics so it won’t be long before their mood improves. While rehab can be a great place to meet celebrities, it is recommended that business partnerships are formed elsewhere. It would be a pity if the seed money resulted in a relapse at Beat-rice in the West Village.

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#64 - Prescription Drugs

#64 - Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs
Price: A Trip to Rehab

The lives of rich people can be very difficult. Suppose the maid needs a day off or the nanny wants to take the long weekend to see family and friends, what then? The trials and tribulations that disrupt wealthy lives is a long and distinguished list; choosing spas, hiring pool boys, all night parties, dressing for charity galas, and choosing the perfect pair of shoes come to mind. Fortunately there is a cure for all that life can throw at the rich, prescription drugs! 

When rich people tell you about the problems they face, it is your duty to pretend to empathize, ask how they cope and in most circles suggest that your doctor can help. This will win you major points as you have legitimized their habit and it gives them the opportunity to showcase a deep knowledge of pharmaceuticals and their grasp of the social scene. Like everything in wealthy circles, the ebb and flow of fashion plays an important role in choosing the right prescription cocktail. God forbid that they get caught swallowing the same “pick-me-up” that leads to Lindsay Lohan’s next indiscretion!

While rich people don’t approve of illicit drug use, cocaine exempted, they do believe there is a time and place for drugs backed with a doctor’s signature, even if they have to go to a podiatrist to get it. The time is whenever life’s crises arise and the place is the bathroom of any private or public establishment. These medical marvels can be relied on to get any trust fund baby to a pillowed, blissful dreamscape and often play a role in making people interesting. Never forget that there is a dark side to prescription drugs. The best rehab clinics have wait lists so the wealthy must skillfully plan their addictions lest they end up bunking with Andy Dick in Sleepy Hollow rather than tanning with Mary Kate Olsen in an exclusive Malibu resort, ahem, clinic. In the meantime, read two articles at Stuff Rich People Love and call me in the morning.

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#59 - Being Condescending

#59 - Being Condescending

Being Condescending
Price: Nobody Likes You

Imagine being engaged in conversation with a relative stranger. You mention that you are taking a trip or going back to school. Now imagine that the person you are speaking with tells you they only stay at 5 star resorts, never fly economy or that unless you are attending Harvard you’ll be wasting your time. Given that you are staying at a Holiday Inn, travelling by bus and attending state you are likely thinking, “what a dick!” You aren’t wrong; rich people are condescending!

For most people a conversation like this is a disaster but like rich people say, when life gives you lemons have your chef make lemonade. A common response to condescending rich people is to blush and mumble about how nice that sounds. At the other end of the etiquette spectrum is abruptly ending the conversation with a few choice four letter words. While both are options, it is much more fun to play the one-upmanship game. Here’s how it works; they say 5 star, you say 5 diamond. They say Harvard, you prefer the London School of Economics. They won’t fly economy, trump first class by asking if they own a private jet. While this doesn’t immediately seem like a suitable tactic to forge friendships you will be surprised how effective piquing their interest can be.

A little mystery can go a long way when engaging in one-upping, so tread softly. You will want to verse yourself in the finer things in life. Conversational knowledge of Bugatti automobiles, French Chateaus, armored vehicles and private islands will provide ample material for sparring with your conceited adversary. An important point to remember, never lie about partaking in such luxuries. Alluding to enjoying the lifestyle is much more effective and keeps the sharks from smelling weakness. While you don’t want to be known as the jackass that fabricates stories about climbing Everest without oxygen or setting free dive depth records, it is perfectly acceptable to showcase your knowledge of pampered wealth. Finally, this knowledge is like achieving a black belt in martial arts; only use it in self-defense. With a little training you will be as lethal as Bruce Lee and as debonair as James Bond.

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