The Eastern Suburbs Label Fable
Last week my dear friend Fern, who unfortunately lives in close proximity to two private schools in the Eastern Suburbs, relayed to me an ‘encounter’ she had with a school dad who had parked his Porsche Cayenne across her driveway.
The encounter involved the dad becoming irate because Fern had beeped at him, and resulted in Fern losing her cool and calling him a “trumped up tosser in a Porsche”. Now I’m not usually one to come to the defense of yuppies but I did question the ethics of Fern calling him a trumped up tosser in front of a group of bemused, designer-clad (and illegally parked) yummy mummies. Wasn’t the name calling akin to racism? To Fern he might be a tosser but what right did she have to judge this man on his choice of car?
After a few too many Chardonnays, Fern and I decided the only crime she had committed was outing this man, in public, as a vain label wearer; a man who wears his Porsche and his Ralph Lauren shirt as a symbol of superiority so that he can act in a way that infringes on other people’s rights.
The affects of the Chardonnay also had us soul searching, asking the question: why do Eastern Suburb’s people feel the need to wear trendy labels, drive hideously expensive cars, push ridiculously priced prams, and decorate their immaculate houses in upmarket furniture? Why do they need to be photographed in the social pages, mentioning that their shoes are Hermes and their earrings McQueen? Why do yummy mummies flock to gyms, attired in Lululemon and toting the essential LV handbag, having arrived in style in the Range Rover with Prada sunnies perched on head?
Why? Obviously labels are of some importance in the lives of the rich, for why else would a yummy mummy loudly sneer, “Well, Coach is Coach” in the school playground or loudly confront a fake D&G wearer at a wedding? Is it really that important in the larger scheme of things what brand of sunglasses a person is wearing or what car they drive?
To some Eastern Suburbites, the label is all to do with the ‘perception’ of quality; that one is educated and affluent enough to know that money buys only the best. I stress ‘perception’ because there must come a point where the difference between a $200 pair of sunglasses and a $600 pair is negligible. I mean, is a $14,000 racing bike (limited, of course, to the cycle lane at Centennial Park!) really seven times better than a $2,000 one? Or a $1,600 Bugaboo four times better than a $400 pram?
If you are that wealthy why do you need to make it so visible, wearing your affluence like a label via labels? It’s not like one has anything to prove, living amongst people just as affluent. Is the purpose to convey a sense of superiority and differentiate oneself on the social scale via possessions? What does buying designer jeans for a five year-old achieve when they are probably sewn together in the same Pakistani sweatshop as ones from Target? Status at a young age? One-upmanship in the playground?
Alas, with all of our left questions unanswered we came to the realisation that the Porsche owner is safe in the knowledge that he is better than Fern in her Nissan Micra and can park wherever he damned-well likes. And Fern and I are safe in the knowledge that the Porsche Cayenne is obviously an extension of his ‘persona’, something that our husbands never need worry about!