Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Home Libraries for the Rich!

I recently received a comment inquiring 'What kind of books do rich people read?' But since every human being whether rich or poor is different in their tastes and interests, there's really no way to give a generalized answer, right? What I can tell you, however, is that rich people have books in their homes, and lots of them.

Most of us have bookshelves, whether we live in a small apartment, a modest home, or a mansion. But it's become fashionable among millionaires and billionaires to have an enormous private home library, with floor to ceiling shelves filled with thousands of books. Just check this Google Image link to see exactly what I'm talking about here.

These home libraries are certainly grand and beautiful to the eye. However, unless they're in the home of a professor or scholar, they don't really make sense, do they? Aside from using books as decorations, they are meant for one thing - to impress someone. They make the statement "We are respectable, grounded, intelligent, thoughtful, inquisitive and decidedly well read!" 

But not necessarily true. These libraries are not a life-long collection of seriously-studied books that shape the owners' souls.They are created by interior designers who purchase the books by the yard to fill the empty shelves in these empty-headed rooms.

The upper shelves always have extensive collections of matching, color-coordinated encyclopedias, law books and such. Then lower down, there are yards and yards of exquisitely bound books on any topic under the sun. But on the eye-level shelves, the books are generally supposed to reflect the owners' real interests in life - hunting, traveling, music, pre-Colombian art, whatever. But the thing is, these shelves can easily be manipulated to impress people with embellished interests beyond the owners' true experience and exposure.

If you've been reading this blog for very long I think you'll agree that I'm not too often critical of the rich. But these phony libraries really get my goat. They are in fact a graveyard for books - never touched, never pulled out, never read. And they rarely provide a true glimpse into the owners' souls.

In the house where I currently work there is indeed one of these designer showroom libraries. But I'm relieved to tell you that upstairs in the private living quarters there are also floor-to-ceiling shelves carelessly crammed with books that are actually read. You'll find all the latest offerings from the New York Times Bestseller List and titles directly related to my employers' personal interests and business affairs. Non-fiction certainly seems dominant over fiction. And getting closer to an answer for "What do rich people read", in this house you won't find any of the popular genres such as romance novels, murder mysteries, westerns, horror or science fiction.

So I'm going to stick my neck out here, not extrapolating this to all rich people, and say that the reading habits of my current employers are seemingly on the serious side. Which is a good thing, in my opinion, as they present themselves as leaders and pillars of the community..

Thanks for stopping by tonight.



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ascot or Tie?

In the last essay about Black Tie versus White Tie  I received a comment from Angela that inquired: "My husband hates formal bow ties and wears an ascot or cravat instead. Is that ok? What are your thoughts?"

Bearing in mind that I'm not a fashion consultant Angela, and that GQ Magazine might take issue with me, I do have some observations from my long experience in dealing with the rich and famous.

Yes, ascots and cravats most certainly have their place and are acceptable in many situations, especially daytime affairs. But for formal evening events, it's risky. This kind of neck wear can appear stuffy if not arrogant - and it makes the statement "Look at me, I'm different."

Which is absolutely fine - if you are different and deserve to be looked at! Otherwise you might come across as pompous and pretentious, if not altogether ridiculous and absurd. 

Rule of thumb: if it's a large event with hundreds of guests, wear the ascot if you wish. But if it's an intimate black-tie dinner party with only a few guests, you'll stand out like a sore thumb. Be sure you deserve that attention and can handle the scrutiny. 

In this house I've seen distinguished authors, diplomats and European dignitaries wearing ascots to our black tie events. To their credit, they all carried it off rather well.

And I may get in trouble here, but we have a fun middle-aged divorcee who frequents this house with a different man each time she arrives. On one occasion she famously showed up with a young man not half her age wearing a tuxedo and a white silk ascot - but no shirt. You would think this would cause lifted eyebrows throughout the room, right? But in this older jaded crowd the repeated face lifts eliminate or minimize any reactions requiring the use of facial muscles!

Not to hurt any one's feelings - but in short you kinda have to be somebody to get away with wearing an ascot. Some accomplishment in life that makes you worthy of note - and I hope that makes sense. Here's a link to Goggle's image search for ascots. Just look at all the somebodies who can get away with wearing them.

If you think you're in this category in any way, then by all means guys, get out the ascot. This is America, right? Anything goes, and who am I to judge? But don't come crying to me if you're rebuffed, ignored or laughed at behind your back.

Thanks for dropping in,