We are all closet snobs

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG photographed in Washing...

Mercedes-Benz S 63 AMG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 You enter a different world when you open the pages of Town and Country Magazine. You enter a world where polo, the “the King of games is still the game of Kings”; fine dining is taken for granted ~ nay, expected; diamonds as big as your head are touted; and expensive watches de rigueur. It is a world I would not mind visiting. Heck, it is a world I would not mind living in. (Yes, I know a word like “heck” should probably not be used in the presence of those who water at the trough of Town and Country.)

The Editor’s letter by Jay Fielden sets the tone for the June edition of the magazine when he mentions that he and his wife took their three children to the Breakers in Palm Beach for four days and then on to Disney World for  their vacation. And they did not travel in the soccer mom and dad’s  vehicle of choice—the ubiquitous van, they traversed quite stylishly in a 2013 Mercedes S63 AMG sedan, which he said was “so much fun to drive that I didn’t notice I was going 86 in a 70 mph zone and got a $256 ticket.”

 The advertisements in the magazine are a real treat, but by the last page a bit of nausea sets in from too much sparkle, too much haute couture, too many mansions, and well, just too much.

Okay, now that I have been suitably politically correct for criticizing the rich; and duly outraged by the flashiness, it is time for me to be honest. I love the fashions, I love the name dropping, the purses that cost as much as a car, the diamonds that come in all colours of the rainbow, the antique rugs, the imperial looking models, the stylish cars, some with no price tag because you know if you have to ask…..



Diamonds (Photo credit: Kim Alaniz)

Face it, many of us love excess. And Town and Country is a magazine of excess. We do not need flashy cars, expensive clothes, jewellery, and furniture—but admit it—it would be nice. You know that when you buy a pair of shoes for $20 they may be cute, but they are not going to last. A pair that costs five or ten times that much then become classics that you can call on over the decades.  (I know that you can get shoes for 50 times that much, but we are not all “Sex and the City” girls.)

One of the articles in the June edition of Town and Country that caught my imagination was written by Dwight Garner and called “Table Trouble”. Dwight seems to be a bit of a snob, a likeable one, but a snob nevertheless, and if we are truly honest with ourselves, we are all snobs in one way or another. It can be taken in such a negative terms, as in “she would drown in a rain storm, her nose is so high in the air”. But really is a snob not just someone who has impeccable taste and does not suffer less gladly? Snobs are not necessarily elitists or name droppers or social climbers, or those who disdain others—they are a part of every one of us, if we will be so honest as to admit it.

Anyway, Dwight seems to think that our manners are lacking today. That we talk with our mouths full. We do not know how to brandish a knife and fork properly– in fact he says we are becoming a knifeless society. He notes that the “sales of table knives have plummeted (in Britain) because the fork-only eating of mushy food in the American manner, has become dominant.”

What I gleaned from his article is that we should all read “Tiffany’s Table Manners for Teens” written in 1961 by

English: Description= Cover page of the Book S...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Walter Hovering. He says it is the equivalent to Shrunk and White’s volume on literary style. He calls both “pocket-sized guidebooks for life.” I think I will try to find a copy, all the while remembering to keep my elbows off the table, put my knife and fork together when I have finished my meal, and most importantly, not talk with my mouth full of food. If I am to be a proper snob, I should at least know the etiquette of it.

Bliss is knowing which fork to use–what do you think? And are you a closet snob?

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://onthehomefrontandbeyond.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/we-are-all-closet-snobs/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

66 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. You know I have never seen this magazine, but am I snob? I guess some where I probably am, I will have to ask those close to me what they have to say to this question, I have been called opinionated, bossy and even too independent for my own good, but so far not a snob.😊

    • snob to me means someone who expects and appreciates the good things in life and makes them happen — using this defintion you are definitely a snob — the good kind

  2. Yes, but of course. How could you be so dreadfully awful and admire and disdain the ultra rich almost within the same breath? 🙂

    For some reason I just can’t get the dang sentence to flow. How terribly crude of me to not know how to write properly. 🙂

    Now to the down and dirty. I am a snob. Actaully,I think I’m better than the rich. :-)This is how it goes. I worked for what little money I see in my retirement check. I need not be a name dropper. I don’t have to worry about what dress or jewelery to wear to whatever occassion. I am real and not jaded and I never get bored. I can drum up my own entertainment. And drive a 1998 GMC truck and don’t have to worry about impressing anyone.

    Tomorrow I must make a mad dash to the library and read the latest Town and Country. 🙂

    I hope you know I just wrote all that mess in an attempt to be funnyI 🙂

    Good post, Lou Ann.

    • To say that you never get bored is to live a full life–tell me what you think of Town and Country when you read it

      • Lou Ann I was joking about the magazine as well. I have “looked” at the mag in the past if I happened upon it in a MD’s or attorney’s office- those are the people with the money you know. I don’t care to look at things fancy things that much. If I m not in that league I see no reason to look at the play toys of th riich. It is all so exccessive- over the top that I can not fathom how the mateial things make on’es life much better than mine. Many times those kinds of people have very loose morals and no feelings for the less monied.

        Now I want to make iot cleat that I am not judging here. But the rich jet here and there and do what the rich do which is moslty not much of anythng other than to look beautiful and try to outdo the next rich person.

        I don’t put Bill Gates and Warren Buffett in this class however. These men have made a fortune through hard work and give their money to needy projects. They also do not live life in an excessive manner. They are a rare breed, indeed.

        I went off the rails here. But these are some of my very opiniated views of society’s top layer. 🙂

  3. Ummm, not really a closet snob, although I do enjoy fine dining… I think the trick with the forks and spoons, etc., is that they’re arranged so that the diner starts from the outside and works their way in. I don’t need to own all the “stuff” but coming from the South, I will say that proper table manners are somewhat important. I don’t want people talking with food in their mouths, and I don’t enjoy dining with those who don’t know how to use a knife and fork…

    • I absolutely try to have good manners–but sometimes I slip up–I had TMJ and now have difficulty opening my mouth very wide, so I sometimes look like a messy eater–I have learned to make jokes when this happens

  4. To me, being a snob isn’t just about having impeccable taste and not suffering less gladly, I think it definitely does have connotations of looking down on others who don’t have those same standards, with a sense of inflated superiority. Having said that, I agree that we probably all have a bit of snob in us in certain areas! I know I’m aware of it in me at times. I guess the important thing is to recognise it in ourselves and ensure we don’t make others feel inferior or stupid if they don’t have those same standards that we think should be reached. We’ve all been on the receiving end of those looks or remarks from people who think they are better than us and it’s not pleasant.

    I can’t see you as ever being one of those people who look down on others and make them feel inferior Lou Ann, so I’m pretty sure you’re not a snob, you can appreciate some of the finer things, and you have standards for yourself, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Although, when it comes to poor manners, I don’t think we need to be too accepting, but maybe it’s the behaviour we can look on with disdain rather than the person.

    • I was trying to find a new definition for snob–but the overriding definition keeps sneaking in — sometimes something is so ingrained that even a sense of humour about it does not work
      No one likes to be looked down on–you are so right and just because we have good taste it does not mean others do not
      Thanks for thinking I am not a snob–using the traditional definition, I do not want to be one

  5. I think being a snob is a little inherent in humans, everyone feels in some way they are superior, so in theory some of us are closet snobs, the rest are obvious ones!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • good observation — you are such a wise one for being so young–but then again–I should not think that because one is young they are not wise

  6. I love reading Town and Country on the rare occasions it comes my way – and there are plenty of others like it… I love beautiful things, but not all the people and the jewellery and the houses are beautiful, though they may be very expensive – some are simply vulgar ( how’s that for snobbery?).
    But when I try all the gorgeous things on for size in my mind, I realise that I simply could not enjoy wearing shoes and watches and clothes and so on that cost a minor king’s ransom when there are so many people who need food, shelter, etc etc.
    There’s a heartlessness to living in a rich ghetto like Town and Country . On the other hand I do think I’m snob… about good taste !

    • very thoughtful comment–I know what you mean–it does not seem right to wear shoes that cost hundreds of dollars when sometimes your neighbour cannot afford groceries–though a lot of times, people who have a lot of money give a lot of it away
      Good taste though is not a bad way to be a snob

  7. I do think I am a snob when it comes to table manners! I find the fork thing interesting though. I’m not aware of the fork only American style of eating is taking over here but maybe that is tha age group I tend to eat with! The children and grandchildren all use both – but maybe only when we’re there!
    I agree with Valerie about the needs of so many being paramount. I hate it when the newspaper we read has a skirt for £500 which is beyond the means of most. I have never seen the magazine you mention but we certainly have similar here.
    Bliss for me would be a more equal spread of wealth!
    All the best to you 🙂

    • I agree with you–it does not make sense that some have so much, while others have nothing

  8. I love this! Yes I am a closet snob- ha!

  9. Magazines such as this drive me to distraction. I could never, ever respect anybody who spent more on a handbag than on a car. The snobs refer to ‘bad manners’ among we humble proles. I think ostentation is a far less acceptable crime, because it’s bad manners with money and a sneer. Hateful.
    Before you ask I’ve never had any desire at all to be filthy rich. I’ve certainly no wish to be seen as an equal to these prigs, these sneerers. I’d be ashamed to be accepted by them, or mistaken as one of them.

    • no one would ever think you were one of them–you clearly are your own man–and a good one from my perspective

  10. I love beautiful things, beautiful surroundings, who doesn’t ? I just can’t afford them! And I love looking through magazines that allow us to imagine and dream. One thing we can all afford is good manners, and I guess I am a bit of a snob when it comes to good manners.

    • that is a good thing to be a snob about
      you have beautiful things and surround yourself with them–

  11. I agree, we are all closet snobs in one way or another. Any time we think we’re doing something better than someone else, or we have the right way, really, anytime we judge someone. I was actually noticing that in myself the other day. I wasn’t particularly proud of myself, but at least I am aware and honest with myself. Plus, how would we better ourselves if we weren’t a bit snobbish.

    • you make a very good point–and self awareness is the key–I think we can be snobs as long as we do not let it show or hurt someone with our judgments

      • I always try to put myself in someone else’s place and give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they were never taught or are wearing the best clothes that they own. I go over this with my family all the time. Yes, their things aren’t as nice as ours or their manners aren’t as good, but what if…..
        Here’s a question…Is it really snobbery if we try to help someone who we feel isn’t up to our standards? Perhaps we should all try to use our snobbery for good.

      • I like that — you could sort of be the Robin Hood of snobs!

      • LOL! 🙂

    • I don’t think it’s snobby to feel better than someone who, say, beats up women. Yes it’s a judgement, but it sure isn’t snobbery.

      • you have a very valid point here

      • That clattering sound is my high horse Lou Ann

      • feed it some carrots

      • Arf!

      • well, you got me there. That wasn’t exactly what I meant. More like judging someone because of their clothes or hair.

      • Aaah. OK. I gotcha. And I couldn’t agree more. One of the nicest, funniest, most intelligent men I ever met habitually dresses like a tramp. It didn’t stop him being brilliant company.

      • Exactly. 🙂

  12. I’m absolutely a snob, but in the best way. 😉
    I don’t “judge” people but there are certain manners that, when lacking, speak volumes. I’d like to think that I could be as comfortable with the Queen as I could at a Cubs game. I think if you’re confident with who you are you can easily get along with anyone and feel comfortable no matter where life takes you.
    I love Town and Country magazine. I tear pages out that reveal the best room to stay in certain hotels. I love beautiful things and I think, or maybe I imagine it, but the quality is so much better.
    Like everyone else I love beautiful things and I love to imagine the stress free life of the people in those pages.
    Great post, LouAnn!!

    • see–you got my point–we are all snobs to some extent and that does not make us bad people at all — just don’t hurt anyone else and I think you are golden
      I love beautiful things–and yes the sparkly things too

  13. I’m like you – I don’t need all those expensive, fine things, but would I turn them down? No, absolutely not!!

  14. I’m not familiar with the magazine. Am I a closet snob? Probably. I see things & think I want them. Then- I look at the price & no way Jose. I guess if I were extremely rich – a price tag wouldn’t matter. But I’m straight up middle class & no way can I afford what I really want. So- I must bring myself down to reality & stick to what I could afford. Oh well – such as life! 😉

  15. I get fairly judgmental of people that can’t (or don’t) use proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Drives me a little bit batty.

    • me too,then I find myself making a mistake and am then embarrassed that I am so judgmental — but that does not stop me

  16. Lots of food for thought here…on one hand I love beautiful things and I know there are many purchases that I make that are far from necessary or essential. On the other hand, there is an invisible line that I can’t cross…some of the other comments mention the extravagances of the wealthy compared to the needs of so many in the world…I’m sure that much of what I am comfortable with at my “middle class” level of life would embarrass me if I came face to face with poverty in many areas of the world. Thorny issues, and hard to take an honest look in the mirror to confront them! ~ Sheila

    • I think you have made a good point — and I have to say that I believe like you and me the wealthy give back too — now if someone wants to sent me a Rolex or chocolate diamond…………..

  17. I’m definitely a table manners snob. We try to drill them into our kids, just in case they are ever invited to dine with the Queen.

    I love looking at the sparkly fashion photos too. I’ll never dress that way or decorate my house that sparkly, but it’s just as fun to look at as Downton Abbey.

    • that is a good way to look at it — like Downton Abbey

      I once thought I was going to interview the Queen–those hopes are someone dashed now

      • Never say never..

      • well maybe the next Queen
        I was born on Queen Elizabeth’s birthday in April so have always felt an affinity to her

      • I remember reading that. Your birthday is much more regal than mine. I was born while Woodstock was happening.

      • now that is interesting — were your parents hippies -lol

      • It would explain a lot, but no. 🙂

  18. Isn’t snobbery a matter of perspective? For instance, two snobs about wine may not see each other as snobs, but as brilliant .. whereas others see them as snobs. … Oh well, most of us are probably snobs about something.

    • I think you make an excellent point — when two great minds meet they tend not to judge

      • BTW … Today I have Time – The Musical: Act 3.

  19. I guess I’m a bit of a snob. My mother drilled manners into us, repeatedly. It drives me insane to eat with someone who speaks with their mouth full! I haven’t read Town and Country for years, but remember it as a fun peek into another world…
    Just finished reading “Snobs” by Julian Fellowes. It’s a hoot!

  20. Nothing wrong with putting your knife and fork together after finishing your meal; or is there?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: