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#76 - Tartan Print Pants

#76 - Tartan Print Pants

Tartan Print Pants
Price: Wool Itch Where You Want It Least 

If eggnog, mistletoe, tinsel, Grandma’s flask and the lingering scent of pine needles sounds familiar, you know the holiday season is upon us. In many households, Dad’s tattered and occasionally revealing terrycloth robe has contributed to psychological trauma during the holidays, in other homes it is Mom’s “blackened” turkey that has scarred the children’s memories. For the children of rich people, the ghost of holiday trauma manifests itself as the donning of tartan print pants. These holiday favorites are thought to strike the perfect balance between formal and festive but in fact walk the line between hideous and ridiculous, more so for families without a hint of Scotsman in their storied lineage. 

Traditionally, tartan prints have bound clans and identified kinsmen to one another through the intricate patterns designed exclusively for their family name. As the Scottish boast an unrivaled history of war, the tartan played an integral role in identifying the unrecognizable fallen warriors of battle. Today, far from the vaunted lochs and moors of Culloden and Bannockburn these same tartans, as pants not kilts, represent cliché advertisements and the mark of a healthy net worth. For the wealthy it is a subconscious announcement that they are loud, proud and can make any item fashionable by spending excessively. In fact, there are fashion historians who believe the grunge movement in Seattle and today’s explosion of plaid prints at leading American clothiers can be traced back to a tartan cummerbund worn during holiday festivities hosted by the Vanderbilt family on December 19, 1872. This brash display spawned a “fashion” revolution despite the underlying rationale; young Alistair chose tartan over haggis following a lost wager to a member of the MacLean family. 

Nonetheless, tartan prints are an excellent means to kick start a wealthy friendship. While purists would recommend honing your ability to identify the more than 13,000 tartan patterns, this is time consuming and frivolous. It is highly unlikely that your plaid sporting friend’s knowledge of Scotland extends beyond Braveheart, whisky and the Loch Ness Monster and could not identify the tartan they are wearing even if you could. In fact, it would make them uncomfortable if you asked them anything about the history of their woven cloth given their ignorance of the topic. Instead, draw on the strength and power that a tartan represents. Asking if wearing such a print reminds them of their own success and prowess in life could be magnificent. You will be tiptoeing through the DMZ that separates blatant brown nosing and world class flattery but when it works it really works! Fine tune this skill and you’ll be sipping single malt with the upper crust, otherwise you will face the social guillotine without the historical significance attributed to Mary Queen of Scots. Tha mo bhàta-foluaimein loma-làn easgannan! 

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#75 - Prenuptial Agreements

#75 - Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements
Price: Ask Tiger Woods

If you find yourself entering a state of eternal bliss with the man or woman you will forever love, life is rose petals and champagne kisses. Should you find yourself sitting across from that same person in a room full of divorce lawyers and bankers you know what marriage looks like after it has been beaten with the ugly stick. That is, unless you entered the union with a little insurance policy called a prenuptial agreement.  Rich people love prenuptial agreements even more than they love custom shoes and trophy wives because it kills two birds with one stone; first they can rest assured that their fortune is safe in the event that their union “goes south” and upon their untimely demise their remaining fotune will pass to the Swiss accounts of their heirs.

For many people, the thought of a prenuptial is despicable since love conquers all. Knowing that divorce is Latin for bludgeoning a man with his own wallet, there are a few problems with this train of thought. First, people who think this way likely don’t have any assets, think their Rock & Republic jeans are an asset and despite living their lives by the wise words of Deep Purple, have forgotten that all is fair in love, war and banking. For those that do know how far the smitten can fall when the heart grows absent, there is nothing wrong with asking the love of one’s life to sign on the X, initial here, initial here and sign there. With a few strokes of the pen, both man and wife have shown that their love transcends money and that they truly have fallen for each other’s hearts rather than their numbered accounts.

The most successful way to befriend the wealthy when it comes to prenuptials is to indicate that you asked your mate to sign one, have signed one yourself or share a story about calling off an engagement when your true love was incensed at the thought of drawing up such an agreement. This works on many levels, most important it shows that you have a fine head on your shoulders and have amassed enough wealth that a prenuptial is sensible. If possible, poke fun at the one person in the room without such an agreement in place by offering them half a cigar or half a drink. Expect chortles and mumbled guffaws as most rich people have forgotten how to laugh or their Botox treatment restricts smiling. From here you can engage in scintillating conversation around custom tailoring, an analysis of intertemporal tradeoffs in macroeconomic policy or which model of Maserati is most appropriate for the children leaving for boarding school.

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#74 - Bottled Water

#74 - Bottled Water

Bottled Water
Price: Two Parts Hydrogen, One Part Oxygen

Water is the proverbial elixir of life. Like the nouveau riche, its natural form is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Water is the perfect drink on a hot summer day, can be frozen and for billions around the globe turning on the tap is as complex as water needs to be…unless you are wealthy. The rich know that nothing less than bottled, carbonated and occasionally lightly flavored spring water imported from the European Alps will satiate their thirsty yet sophisticated palate although champagne is a close second.

As any butler and some maids know, rich people are an interesting bunch when it comes to wetting their whistles. Despite installing commercial grade water filtration units in their luxury penthouses, country estates, lake houses, ski chalets and private jets the rich are more likely to raise a child without a nanny than drink water from a tap; the horror. Fortunately, enterprising minds with glass bottles, a nose for capitalism and an extensive distribution network have solved the agonizing task of turning on a tap and replaced it with the satisfying crack and familiar hiss of twisting a metal cap. It is this exhilarating release of gas that reminds the rich that they are able to spend more on water than the average household budgets for gasoline.

Rich or not, an appealing attribute of H2O is that, unlike seasoned wine snobs, an appreciation for expensive water requires no special training, no acquired taste and no heightened sense of smell that rivals a bloodhound. Instead, the ability to distinguish whether or not carbonated bubbles are dancing upon your tongue is all a connoisseur of dihydrogen monoxide really needs, making it the perfect addition to any table. All the same, it is important that you always comment on how refreshing it is; this despite tasting no different than chilled water from your Brita. In fact, a surefire way to ingratiate yourself with wealthy hosts is to comment on how much the water reminds you of a particularly exotic destination, be it Fiji, France, Amazonian rainforests or Norwegian Fjords. This will provide them the opportunity to inform you of the great distance the bottles have travelled and the rarity of its contents. Strike the right chord and it will be like a baptism into their wealthy circle and you will be welcomed one of their own! Santé!

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#72 - Scotch

#72 - Scotch

Scotch
Price: Years of practice

The first time that you tried scotch it may have tasted like the perfect blend of paint thinner and ass. As every frat boy knows, if it tastes like ass, turn it around. While this advice may work in some situations it is unlikely to alter this alcohol-based assault on your taste buds and olfactory senses. Despite this apparent flaw, rich people love scotch. To the uninitiated, rich people will insist that scotch is an acquired taste and break into a polished soliloquy on the finer points of this pricey malt beverage as an explanation of why you should love it. A scotch aficionado can block your exit with their knowledge of Scotland’s pride while a room of aficionados can ruin your evening by peppering you with unpronounceable distillery names and heated debates around chill-filtration. If being bombarded by terms like single malt, mash, Scotch Whisky Order of 1990, Glenlivet and Auchentoshan sounds like a nightmare, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

As with all things alcoholic, the more that people ply you with booze as a means to convince you of its superior taste, the less likely you are to know what the hell you are drinking which makes the evening progressively more palatable. Such is the case with scotch thanks to exacting standards that mandate a minimum 40% alcohol content. Getting through the last glass makes the next all the easier. Is swallowing your first ounce of Oban getting in the way of making friends with your wealthy companions? Think about the difficulty that Cinderella must have had the first time that she got to the ball. The red headed stepchild worked through her gag reflex before she and Prince Charming lived happily ever after and so can you.

You may be thinking, why scotch? All spirits have a distinct personality and therefore appeal to specific subsets of the population. Thanks to the Russian Mafioso, vodka represents mystery and new money, tequila goes hand-in-hand with cougars looking to bag an unsuspecting twenty something, cognac with rappers and bourbon with interfamily marriages. Scotch, since 1495, has perpetually represented the sophisticated statesman with elegance, taste, class and ambition; it is like a Rolls Royce among Cadillacs. For this reason, the rich will learn to love this aged liquid and speak of pungent and potent malts, with richly peaty, deep, smoky flavor that has an intense, long ambrosial finish. Such knowledge is a means to highlight their station in life and knowing this can help advance yours. Who knows, drink enough scotch at the country mansion and the trophy wives may recruit you to help them with their case of Patron. Bottoms up!

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#71 - Professional Blow Drying

#71 - Professional Blow Drying

Professional Blow Drying
Price: A Keratin Intervention

A notable difference between upper class fabulous and soccer mom drab is perfect hair. While men are oblivious to their better half’s new hairstyle, all women know to the minute how long it has been since a member of the sisterhood has had her hair professionally washed and blow dried. For most, working or tending to the children gets in the way of paradisiacal hair; for the wealthy a trust fund or a sugar daddy, a nanny, a housekeeper, a chauffeur and a personal chef keep responsibilities to a minimum providing ample time to stay perfectly coiffed. The rich do face a conundrum of sorts; given that hair grows approximately 4mm per day it is hardly justifiable to dip into the salon for a daily trim. Fortunately, the geniuses at the Global Council for Beautiful Hair, a lesser division at the UN, deemed it appropriate to sanction salons that offer professional blow drying for roughly the same fee as leasing a BMW.

Daily “wash and blows” are a godsend for the rich and a potential addiction although they will claim that they really can stop anytime. Not to be confused with a rub and tug, these niche salons are a destination for sophisticated women and remarkably flamboyant men hell bent on flawless hair. The artists that operate these luxury in-and-outs are seasoned veterans that have delivered countless blow jobs and therefore have an aptitude for delivering style that far exceeds even the most accomplished trophy wife. It isn’t only experience that plays into the equation; these experts save the taxing, physical strain of blow drying one’s own hair. The wealthy know how tiring it is to point air straight down the shaft when operating a blow dryer. Thanks to the hair-dressing equivalent of clean-shaven or lightly bearded blond Jesus, the couture flock is provided for and such exertion is a distant memory.

By now, you should be asking how this can help you befriend the fabulously wealthy. An invitation to the blow-and-go is simplicity at its finest. If you face resistance, tell them you have always envied their style and would love their advice on your hair. In a hop, skip and a jump you’ll be racing to the salon district in their freshly waxed Bentley. There are of course other benefits that these salons provide. The sheer volume of the blow dryer will make it impossible to hear your wealthy companion wax on about their most recent “hardship” but the absence of scissors makes it safe to nod attentively as though you can understand every important word they are saying! The blow dryer will mask their hot air, they will appreciate your attentiveness and in thirty minutes you will look and feel fabulous with your new BFF. Cappuccino anyone?

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