If You’ve Got It, Flaunt ItNothing gets my blood pressure boiling more than the sight of a Porsche Cayenne: those ugly, omnipresent, aesthetically displeasing vehicles which bear down on the narrow streets of the Eastern Suburbs; the oxygen thieves of the motor vehicle world (with the black RR Vogue coming a close second) most commonly commandeered by a VIP tosser in a Ralph Lauren logoed shirt with mobile at ear and perhaps a latte in the other hand. And what’s even more grotesque than a Porsche Cayenne is a Porsche Cayenne brandishing the personalised number plates PORCYN just to reinforce that the car is actually a Porsche Cayenne and hence the owner must be of some import.
It’s not just the Cayenne that gets me riled up. The Bugaboo pram (Pearl awaits the triple Bugaboo now that large families are yet another sign of wealth), anything bearing Louis Vuitton (especially when paired with gym attire), Lululemon clothing, designer baby gear, and anything described as ‘must have’: all overt signs of wealth displayed in a way that destroys any psychological benefit bestowed upon me by reading Ekhardt Tolle’s Power of Now and attempting to let it all wash over me.
When I was a child, my mother told me that wealthy people didn’t need to show off their money. But wealth wasn’t doing the rounds in my mother’s hometown of Port Adelaide and I’ve been living amongst The Educated and Affluent for so long that I know her adage isn’t true. As such, I’ve decided to devote this month’s column to exploring overt displays of wealth and the Eastern Suburbs ‘lifestyle’. Ideally, I’d love readers to explain why it is necessary to indulge in unlimited, conspicuous consumption, why it is necessary to place it on public display and why the Range Rover has gone from being a ‘want’ to a ‘need’, high on the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy? Is it the exhilaration of superiority, the constant reminder of one’s enormous spending power and importance, or both?
I also want to come to grips with ‘wealth flaunting’ as a hereditary trait, passed down to pink princesses and bully brat sons, who verbalise their wealth through taunts and bragging and Babolat tennis racquets and $200 soccer boots. My great-nephews, who attend a private school (a wonderful source of column material) regale me with tales of nine-year-olds boasting, “When I was skiing in Colorado” while sizing up the cost of their peers’ tennis racquets, soccer boots and running shoes. Who would have thought that a house with an elevator in it and a parent with a Maserati are the latest ‘must haves’ for a fourth-grader?
Maybe Pearl is just being unkind to The Affluent (as usual). ‘Tribes’ are the in thing, so maybe wealthy people are part of a ‘tribe’, like hipsters who I have chosen to ignore because I like beards. Hipsters have beards, tatts, skinny jeans, fixies; The Affluent have Lululemon, LV and RRs. Maybe I need to live with it and live in the NOW!