Have you ever been walking down the street and you see a shiny black Lincoln Town car drive by with two standard poodles in the back and you think, what kind of eccentric person has his dogs chauffeured around in a limo and then you realize, hey wait a second, those are my dogs?
Well that was about the time I realized that my life was no longer “normal” and I was probably on the verge of becoming “difficult to relate to.” At least by most of the people I knew.
Me: Hey! I’m here to help you paint your porch!
BR’s sister: OMG. Is that what you’re wearing? Very funny.
BR’s sister: Because you’re decked out from head-to-toe in lululemon. Not to mention the fact that you got dropped off by your limo driver. To paint a porch.
Me: Oh yeah, I guess that is kind of funny… but it’s old lululemon. Does that make a difference?
BR’s sister: Not really.
Despite what you see in the Real Housewives or Millionaire Matchmaker, settling into a “fancy” lifestyle when you were not brought up in one can be a little overwhelming, to say the least. You’ll find yourself trying to fit into two worlds that don’t really connect, and often you’re just kind of in limbo. Patti Stanger might be able to help you find a millionaire, but she doesn’t prepare you for what to expect when you actually move out of your condo and into the mansion.
On one hand you have your old group of friends and your family who talk about normal things like going to the movies, getting their cars fixed, and how much they dislike their jobs. On the other hand you have a completely new group of friends who talk about going to Paris, getting a new private jet, and how much they dislike their nannies. Your old group of friends is mildly appalled that you even associate with anyone who will only fly private, and your new group of friends is mildly appalled that you never fly private.
And then sometimes you find yourself in the middle of situations that you literally never thought you would be part of:
Lance: So I drove up to the four-way stop sign at the same time as three other Rolls Royce’s. And the two guys who had drivers were sneering at me and the other guy like we were a couple of peasants because we were driving our own Rolls Royce’s!
Appropriate response: Haha, that’s so funny! Can you pass the vodka?
Fancy acquaintance: The pool party should be starting soon, we’re just waiting for the Olympic Synchronized Swimmers to arrive… and then we’ll sing the National Anthem, followed by the six-gun salute.
Appropriate response: Of course we will! Can you pass the vodka?
Fancy stranger: What beautiful dogs! Are you the dog walker?
Appropriate response: Oh fuck off. Can you pass the vodka?
My point is, balancing these two completely different worlds is not easy. I would like to think I’m still the same old middle class girl I always was (just with a better wardrobe) but this is not exactly true. “Fancy society” demands an entirely different set of rules, norms, dress codes and protocols that I didn’t even know existed. There is a learning curve, it’s literally sink or swim, and the water is filled with Prada-wearing sharks.
So for those of you who have found yourselves in similar unknown territory, here are some “fancy society” survival tips:
1) Have a sense of humour about things, and don’t take yourself (or anyone else) too seriously. You will meet a lot of people who think they are very important. They’re probably not. And they usually have a lot of issues.
2) Don’t be a social climber. BR and I have literally zero social ambition. Zero. This takes a lot of the pressure off, because we really couldn’t care less about who we’re sitting next to at a dinner party, as long as they’re not a total asshole. Actually we usually don’t even care if we’re at the dinner party.
3) If someone seems like a douchebag, they probably are one. Likewise, if someone seems like a nice, relatively normal person, they probably are one. Learn the difference and stay away from the douchebags.
4) If the party is really stuffy and unbearable, it’s absolutely acceptable to drink your face off. Just try to keep your comments and your eyeball-rolling and your pointing to a minimum. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. Note: the synchronized swimmers. Actually I enjoyed that party… although I did find the swimming and the six-gun salute slightly bizarre.
However, after attending a few dreadfully painful events, I’ve really learned to appreciate BR’s quirks and eccentricities, his refusal to join any clubs, his Darth Vader-like tendencies, and his desire for privacy. One thing I can say about him is that he truly lets me be my dorky self and we are very silly and dorky when we’re together. It’s refreshing and I love him for that.
And my favourite exclusive parties are the ones we have at home with wine and chips and Law and Order reruns… and it’s just us and the dogs.