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#86 - Suspenders

#86 – Suspenders

Suspenders
Price: Chafed Nipples

There are two types of people in the world, those that wear suspenders and those that do not. In the former group there are two types of people, rich men and everyone else. While everyone else is quite broad it includes notable and questionably valuable members of society like clowns, satirical television characters and pseudo tycoons that hope the powers that be mistake them as well bred. This group also includes adorable old men but they are exempt from public scrutiny, a benefit of respecting one’s elders. The considerably smaller group of men that rely on clips to hold their trousers in place do so for one important reason; linking thumbs through these elasticized accessories conveys a sense of unquestionable wisdom, a direct yet subconscious connection to President Roosevelt, thereby solidifying one’s alpha dominance in a room full of everyone else.

If you are like 95% of men, suspenders aren’t your cup of tea and you think that they represent arrogant money grubbers that care more about their Rolls Royce than their personal chef’s welfare. If you are in the 5% of arrogant money grubbers that wear suspenders, you could care less what the 95% think, hope that they stay the hell away from your Rolls Royce, wonder what your chef is preparing for dinner and believe that Michael Douglas was a “real pussy” in the film Wall Street. There are of course exceptions to the stereotypical hard-nosed businessman in suspenders; there are hard-nosed news anchors that make their interviewee weep, hard-nosed MI6 double-O agents that are licensed to kill, there is even a band named Satan Wears Suspenders and of course your grandfather who remains adorable in his suspenders.

The burning question is how can suspenders help you? As mentioned, unless you are in the 5% and a notably wealthy individual you will fall into the category of pseudo tycoon desperately trying to fit in also known as the brown-nosing pain in the ass. Adopting this transparent ruse will likely have a negative impact on your career, destroy your personal life and most importantly eliminate what is left of your sex life as the former crumble. Instead there are three things you can do to elevate yourself in the presence of the suspenderati. First, never snap the suspenders that your boss wears, that their boss wears or those worn by important clients that visit the office. This will inevitably lead to a stint counting ball bearings in a city that Detroit natives wouldn’t relocate to. Second, make a point of snapping the suspenders of those in your peer group at work to expose them as ass-kissing sycophants. This will make you popular with your co-workers and unpopular with the ass-kissers. Finally, sarcastically yet vigilantly refer to your bootlicking, suspender clad co-worker as Thurston and ensure that all other co-workers know this refers to the British manufacturer that has outfitted kings, presidents, princes and film stars in suspenders since 1820. This bit of corporate frivolity will clean out the climbers and make for a better place to work. Like Gordon Gekko said and Sun-Tzu before him, “Every battle is won before it is ever fought” so snap to it.

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#85 - Enormous Fancy Hats

#85 - Enormous Fancy Hats

Enormous Fancy Hats
Price: Vitamin D Deficiency

Among the many things that rich people like to own, gigantic floppy hats are among the most baffling. Unlike other fashionable accoutrements, intended to flatter a wealthy belle’s beauty, the hat hides rather than showcases the extensive plastic surgery that the trophy wife has undergone. In fact, when matched with the perfect pair of oversized Chanel sunglasses, one’s collagen-injected lips are hardly noticeable. So what’s the point? Why wear a hat with a two foot diameter laden with flowers large enough to make Keukenhof appear unimpressive? Simply put, just as a wealthy gentleman drives an Italian racecar to proclaim his manhood, women wear hats to trumpet their sense of fashion and signal that they are the alpha female in the group. The only way to remain queen bee among the swarming masses is to outdo one’s social circle by purchasing and bravely wearing larger and more ostentatious headpieces than the other ladies at the club.

It may appear that hat fashion ebbs and flows, but just because Aunt Sally didn’t wear her gigantic peacock feathered Easter hat for Sunday mass doesn’t mean that the cultural elite are taking their cue to pack away their hat boxes. In fact, the true barracudas of the runway have already been recounting to which event each woman in her social network wore which hat. After creating a complex social matrix where hats and events are matched, the mad hatter will predict what the ladies will showcase this season and carefully select the latest and largest hats from small boutiques around the globe for her upcoming calendar. This ensures she will never be embarrassed by donning an Albertus Swanepoel from Barney’s during a weekend jaunt to the Hampton’s. Most women in NYC still recall the horror of seeing Mrs. Eleanor Thomas of the Upper East Side standing next to Ms. Mandy-Anne of Kansas wearing identical hats. Unfortunately for Mrs. Thomas she opted for wearing last season’s fashion and Mandy-Anne had just finished a day of shopping at Century 21. Thomas’ agoraphobic fate was sealed when innocent Mandy-Anne asked Eleanor “Did you buy yours on sale too?”

As always, what matters is how to use this to your advantage. Just as Keanu Reeves could not be unseated as “the one” during the 90’s, you should not strive to occupy the throne reserved for a hat aficionado. Instead, opt to go big but not enough that you will clash horns with Chiquita Banana. Flattery will get you everywhere with the Queen Bee and while no less that 24 inches of couture circumference means you won’t recognize her, you will nonetheless be able to pick out her horn of plenty in any crowd. A well placed compliment on her style will go far but delivery is paramount. When approaching, keep your eyes averted and never look her directly in the eye. She will recognize this as respect and allow you to proceed. Next, let her know you love her style. Never tell her you could not wear such a beautiful hat as she already believes that to be true and by stating it you are implying that you think you could be in the same league as her. Instead, let her know that it is the perfect hat for her. She will recognize that you accept her as the alpha female and may at this point compliment your hat. A polite thank-you will suffice and you should offer to fetch her champagne or Iranian caviar to show your gratitude. If she accepts you are part of her entourage. Finally, never make reference to Dr. Seuss or Alice in Wonderland in her presence, she will take it as a personal slight and you will feel her social wrath. Remember, hell hath seen no fury like a woman scorned.

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#84 - Designer Cupcakes

#84 - Designer Cupcakes

Designer Cupcakes
Price: $36 a dozen

Prevailing wisdom dictates that little girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Spend some time in a trendy shopping district and you will soon find that this is largely due to designer cupcakes, emphasis on the sugar and light on the nice. Thankfully, for the financially endowed, they need venture no further than around the corner in their hybrid SUV to satisfy a craving that used to take their private chef as much as an hour to whip up. Designer cupcake shops are becoming so popular, they are threatening to supplant Starbucks as the storefront voted most likely to replace a former tenant, although Vietnamese nail salons run a close third.

While common people may purchase these single serving delights at the supermarket, this could never satisfy the sophisticated sweet tooth of a high net worth individual. For starters, store bought icing isn’t rich enough; cupcake shops appear to have cracked the age old problem of condensing a full pound of butter into a half pound of icing. Second, buying a dozen chocolate cupcakes is blasé; the baked pleasures of the wealthy deserve creative names like “Tickled Pink”, “Lady Baltimore” or “Dirty Blonde”, the latter may also describe one’s third wife. Finally, the creativity doesn’t end with naming cupcakes, rich people love to fawn over the playful shop names where they purchased these heavenly indulgences; think Babycakes, Buttercup and Flour Girls for starters; I adore the t-shirts from Babycakes in NYC.

While many quirks of the wealthy are out of reach of the common man, a love of rich desserts is a human condition that knows no economic boundaries. With this in mind, impressing the wealthy is simple when done by the dozen. Discussing your favorite cupcake shop will certainly do in a pinch but it is the gift of cupcakes that will truly impress. The elegance and tastefulness of ribbon wrapped sugary goodness will have your hosts beaming at your thoughtfulness and once it comes to naming these savory delights, they will figuratively if not literally be eating out of your hand. An excellent conversation starter, your affection for cupcakes will win hearts, minds and stapled stomachs. Be sure to save the “Sexy Red Velvet” for the beautiful heiress you’ve been watching and she may turn out to be your sweet temptation!

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#83 - Flying First Class

#83 - Flying First Class

Flying First Class
Price: Your First Born, Their Pocket Change

Flying isn’t natural. As they say, “If God had meant you to fly he would have given you wings”, Icarus learned this the hard way. Of course, when they said this, they were probably referring to economy class where the masses are crammed into uncomfortable seats with sweaty, broad shouldered, obese individuals who want to talk to you about their 2-star vacation or persistent skin rash that is likely contagious. If this situation is the bookend to your holiday or business trip, you are probably inclined to agree that mankind is better off on terra firma. While the rich certainly prefer the comforts of a private jet, when push comes to shove, a lie-flat seat with noise-reducing headphones, personal media players, fine dining, full bar and a curtain to separate you from the plebs makes commercial flights tolerable.

For the masses that feel they have won the lottery because they managed to “score” a seat in an emergency exit row, there is a belief that the seats on the other side of the curtain are prohibitively expensive because of the roominess and luxury. Rich people know that, while 40” of seat pitch is comfortable, the real reason to sit in first class is that one does not have to associate with people that can’t afford the finer things in life. After all, the food, personalized service and comfort are table stakes in the lives of the wealthy. First class seating is one of the few places that legitimize class segregation, making it extremely attractive to the rich. Having a boarding pass that reads 2B with a flute of champagne in hand is a wonderful reminder that while money can’t buy happiness, it can help you choose your misery which does not include spending time with individuals who think a timeshare is a good investment.

Naturally, if you want to make good with the wealthy the first option is to secure yourself a seat in first class. This can be done in a few ways; buck up for the extra few thousand dollars every time you fly, try to sweet talk the ticketing agent into upgrading you on every flight or start sleeping with a flight attendant. Of course, if you could pull off the latter two options with any level of consistency, you would likely already be on the road to success and riches and able to execute on option A. As back-up,the art of conversation to kick start a discussion with your wealthy counterpart will work wonders. Give your new friend an opportunity to dazzle you with their in-flight experience. Use informed inquiry about flying Emirates or United’s P.S. service while jet setting between the left and right coast and sit back and listen. Make this work and you may never have to hear the question “fish or chicken” again. Enjoy the friendly skies!

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#82 - Going To Harvard

#82 - Going To Harvard

Going To Harvard
Price: Developing a “Yahd” Accent

There is nothing rich people value more than higher education, right after money, jewelry and status. In most American households, the dream is to send at least one child to college. For the rich, they know that their children are destined for Ivy League institutions and for many, only Harvard will do. Among the myths that enshroud this venerable institution is that “Harvard is only for geniuses.” Upon meeting some of the “legacy family” undergrads you quickly dismiss this mistruth and realize that a family member with a Harvard degree from 1948 in Sociology may be more important that an outstanding SAT score when it comes to getting into Harvard, even if it is on the third or fourth admission review.

While the academic merits of America’s oldest university are clear to most, they are secondary to why rich people love Harvard; nothing says success like dropping the H-Bomb at cocktail parties. Yale is nice, and Brown used to be impressive but Harvard immediately implies that you have a great job, boatloads of cash and more class than anyone else in the room. In fact, rich people are so hyper aware of this perception that they will talk about graduating from their alma mater as though they accomplished something other worldly like smoking dope with the pope or going for a jog with Stephen Hawking.

If your parents didn’t have the foresight to graduate from Harvard and you had to slum it at a lesser known institution, fear not, you can still befriend the wealthy. Knowing that many trust fund recipients didn’t score a 1,400 on their SAT there is no need to engage in pseudo-academic discourse as they may not have made it to class anyway. Instead, learn the simplest facts about campus life. Ask about the COOP where you can pick up textbooks and a latte or mention cheeseburgers at Charlie’s Kitchen, which was probably the last time they stooped to eat a cheeseburger, but college is for experimenting. These two traditions should have your wealthy counterpart falling over themselves to share their experience with you and allowing you to form the next best thing to rooming with them. A word of warning, give a Harvard alum with a guilty admission complex too many drinks and you’ll be listening to their horror stories of growing up with Harvard armchairs and midevening calls from Harvard students looking for donations. It’s not easy being Crimson!

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