Everyone has met a few of them…..you go to a cocktail party, and are introduced to someone who has an inflated view of their self worth, and is constantly looking over the shoulder of the person they are speaking with in case someone more important comes through the door. Some of them are more elegant and discreet than others, and some think they are above it all, and their disgraceful behaviour towards others is totally normal. Whether or not you are 16, 26 or 60, we have unfortunately all been at the mercy of those who think they are somehow special, and deserve to hob nob only with the rich and famous.
One of the things about growing older (not me, of course!) is that hindsight is truly 20/20. As someone who has met some of the wealthiest and most prominent people in the world, it is fairly hard to impress me, and simply money is certainly not the way to do it. Having grown up in London, my perceptions are somewhat moulded by my childhood abroad.
At recent garden party, one incredibly rude guest RSVP’d, then turned up and took all the fruit from one of the host’s fruit bushes to make jam. She came into the kitchen to survey the crowd, and when she ascertained that there was no-one there sufficiently important for her, off she went, with no thank you, no excuses, other than the fact that she had ‘things to do’. One must ask the following questions…..1. Why did she RSVP to say she was coming.
2. If she had time to drive all the way over, certainly she had time to stay for a cocktail. 3. What could possibly be so important that she should snub everyone in the room by making it evident that she didn’t consider them important enough.4. And most importantly, the hosts had planned their menu based upon the number of guests who had mentioned they would be coming. It is rude and disrespectful to have your hosts provision food and drink for you and then not have the good manners to at least stay a while and participate.
Yes, we all had a truly lovely time, and interestingly the group had no social climbers, so everyone mingled and exchanged ideas and knowledge. Many chairs were exchanged so that people could move about and speak with each other. The sign of a successful party and very generous hosts.
There is some tasty irony in this story, inasmuch as this same ‘turbo-prop setter’ as opposed to a ‘jet-setter’ went bankrupt several years ago and lived at the generosity of several people over the years, yet continued to carry on as if the homes in which she resided were actually hers, instead of the truth, which was that she was actually living at the generosity of her hosts.
It appears to me, that if anyone should make an attempt to be generous, it is her, yet it appears etiquette is something sorely missing in her vocabulary. She has forgotten that she would have been living in the street if it wasn’t for the generosity of others.
Another well known social climber and snob is actually the mistress to a fairly wealthy married man. Seeing her walk down the street with her dark glasses is something to behold, yet many know exactly how her rent is paid, and it certainly isn’t with cash. She has decided that although the man will never divorce his current wife and marry her, that somehow she is special, and deserves special treatment, and only the best. The Hermes bags which are flashed are actually fakes, albeit good ones, the Chanel shoes are also copies, yet the arrogance and attitude of this woman and sense of entitlement are astounding, not to mention the condescending way she speaks and actually pronounces when she makes a statement, as if we should actually all be in awe of her.
Another social climber came into a dining room where 20 –25 people were seated, interrupted the speaker and the entire room to introduce her guest, and brag about what function she was coming from. She kept on for at least 10 minutes until the hostess was obliged to ask if they were staying or leaving. Funnily enough, they were actually leaving. Once she checked out the room and decided that there were bigger fish to be had elsewhere, she announced that she had other stops to make and would be running off. Translation, she was going to the next event to see if the people were more important with her ‘posse’ in tow.
Several months ago, I ran into a woman I have known for over 30 years while in a shop , after not seeing one another for several years. NOT someone I particularly care to socialise with. I was absolutely interrogated as to what I had been up to and with whom. It wasn’t successful on her part, as I always refuse to participate in the ‘my friends are better than yours’ game. This was actually one of the few times that I was publicly rude to someone. Her loud squeaky voice is jarring, and can be heard across any store. The questioning game was so astounding that at one point I advised her I was late as I was meeting someone at my house to write music, something I have been doing for a very long time, She squealed loudly that she was unaware I had ever done anything artistic or musical in my life, and this was news to her. Enough being enough, I finally turned around and suggested that if she had spent even 10% of the time actually getting to know me as opposed to gossiping about me behind my back, perhaps she would have actually known that I had been writing for years, and that in fact, she might actually have more interesting friends if she actually asked about people genuinely as opposed to always gossiping about everyone behind their back.
She is one of these women who have had the same group of friends forever, and they sit around and absolutely rip everyone to shreds if they don’t know them, with a self-righteous tone, which is so sad, the joy of life is actually getting to know people from different races and walks of life so that one can learn and appreciate.
I never understood this game.
Young and old, we all face these individuals. Some of us realize who they are and what the game is,and learn to smile brightly while one is being questioned. Others are offended. The big question to ask, is, 30 years on, what on earth has been accomplished by being a rude social climber when decidedly you are in the same place you started 30 years before.
Is there a lesson in this? Yes, open your mind and more importantly use your ears instead of your mouth. You might be pleasantly surprised.