I never cease to be amazed by how middle class I really am. When I entertain, I am an absolute control freak. The house has to be perfect, the bathroom and hand towels pristine, the table worthy of a photo shoot, my dogs fresh, clean and sweet smelling, and myself and my husband nicely turned out. I do my own cooking (except for those rare large party “catered” events which occur once in a blue moon). I am fanatical about the flowers, the lighting, the food, and the wine served.
My husband and I are solidly and proudly middle class. We both are college grads, (because of going to school at night as working adults), we have a mortgage, and we have a little more debt than we would like. It’s the American way.
When we have accepted invitations from some of our affluent friends, I am frequently shocked at how different rich people are. For one thing, most of them do not care what you think. If they cared, they would have wiped down the bathroom sink and put out a fresh hand towel. At one soirée, I saw the people’s cat up munching on the cracked crab that was out there (I had wrongly assumed) for the guests. The hostess said, “Isn’t he adorable?” I did avoid the crab that evening, but many of the other guests did not. The cat was allowed to wander from appetizer to appetizer and help himself. I was surprised he wasn’t allowed to stroll the length of the dinner table while we dined.
Another time, I went to a dinner party where the hostess never put on clothes before the guests arrived. She entertained a formal dinner party wearing a slip with a bed jacket over it, her hair in electric rollers, and one false eyelash perfectly applied. (The other was missing. Either she ran out of time or sufficient vanity to put on the second eyelash.) The hostess’s husband looked like an ad for expensive whiskey and was impeccably turned. He did not seem in the least embarrassed about his wife’s appearance. This was in a multi-million dollar Nob Hill penthouse with the best views of San Francisco I have ever seen.
We also attended a dinner party in Berkeley where the hostess (a sixty-year-old woman) was wearing a transparent blouse with no bra and had sequins glued to her eyebrows. She was also fairly tipsy well before the guests arrived. Her guests included Alex and me, a medical doctor, a UC Berkeley professor of Physics, the owner of a well known San Francisco restaurant, and a couple of affluent lawyers thrown in for good measure.
The weirdest thing about all of this is that none of the other guests seemed to think that any of this was strange in the slightest. The rich are different.