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Posts Tagged ‘boarding school’

#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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#33 - Pulling Themselves Up By the Boostraps

#33 - Pulling Themselves Up By the Boostraps

New York Military Academy
Price: $221,250

Rich people love to tell anyone that will listen that they are self-made men and women. To the average Joe this means starting with nothing, sometimes less than nothing, before emerging as successful members of society with a life much better than before. To a rich person, self-made typically means starting with little more than boarding school education, a family fortune of $1 million to $10 million and little or no reliance on maids, butlers and nannies.

The annals of the rich are filled with hard luck stories of having to summer in Cape Cod while their wealthy friends were in The Hamptons and parents sending the children to boarding school where lump crab salad was only served on the second Friday of every month. Despite these horrific upbringings that remind us of Oliver Twist, L’il Orphan Annie and 101 Dalmatians, these deprived men and women still managed to pull themselves up and succeed in spite of their dark pasts. In 2007 Forbes took the opportunity to showcase twenty of America’s richest men in a segment called the “Secrets Of The Self-Made”, Donald Trump is the poster child for the article. His rise to the top was accelerated at age 13 by attending the New York Military Academy where they “make good kids better”. The cost of becoming better; tuition, as of July 2009, was $33,425 and $36,875 per year for domestic and international students respectively. He later attended Wharton, one of America’s premiere schools for finance and economics. Also on Forbes’ list is Ken Fisher; his story starts after working in the investment business under his father Philip A. Fisher, a noted money manager, author and bearer of a middle initial. Ken then clawed his way up from the tough streets of San Francisco’s financial district to start his own investment firm before making his first billion.

In no way should any of this be taken as a slight against the hard work, creativity, instinct, intelligence, determination and self-professed luck that it takes to become wealthy. Each of the men on the list, and there are plenty that did come from humble beginnings, moved the bar significantly from where they started. The fact remains that some rich people love to create myths around their success when the fact is they began their careers with a bit of a boost but I suppose that doesn’t make for as compelling a story. After all, Horatio Alger, Jr would not have been as popular if his protagonists started in the suburbs with Mom driving them to soccer practice.

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#27 - Monogrammed Shirts

#27 - Monogrammed Shirts

Personalized Monogram
Priceless

Monograms are a priceless way to showcase one’s sophistication, class and general disconnection with the common man. There are a multitude of products that may be embossed with initials; handkerchiefs, towels, cufflinks, wallets, ties and socks to name a few, but the fast track to hob-knobbing with the rich and separating yourself from the chafe is a monogrammed shirt cuff. A personalized cuff is visible enough to draw unspoken approval of one’s taste but understated enough to avoid flying in the face of conservative fashion. While some opt for placement on the breast pocket or shirt collar, these are certainly less popular than wearing initials on the sleeve.

While nobody can definitively peg the origin of the monogrammed shirt, it is generally accepted that boarding schools initiated the practice as a means to distinguish the lads’ uniforms from one another during laundry cycles. You can imagine young Willard’s horror at the thought of wearing another boy’s shirt, never mind having to actually do laundry. It is from these not-so-humble beginnings that the monogram found its way into modern fashion as the gentlemen of Eton College graduated to Oxford and then joined London City’s financial district before America visited Savile Row and exported the practice to the other side of the pond. Notable fashionistas with a penchant for flair included Fred Astaire and Cary Grant although the former tended towards discrete embroideries that only he was privy to; the rationale was that people already knew who he was. You can be sure that mentioning this tidbit to the boulevardier sporting a monogram will not help you pry open wealthy social circles.

A final word on monograms; typically a custom tailored shirt is the entry point for those that desire this touch of class. While you can add it to any piece of off-the-rack clothing, you will likely come off badly in a monogrammed Van Heusen or Arrow shirt. Remember, just because you can’t tell the difference between Egyptian cotton and a poly blend doesn’t mean the gentleman in Anderson & Sheppard French cuffs will be fooled by your aftermarket efforts. Not sure a monogram is for you; at the very least consider adding BSD to your cuff for the pure comic genius of your friends referring to you as a Big Swinging Dick.

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