Cultural Caviar

A Manners Guide for the Nouveau Riche, Part Deux

August 05, 2011

Multiple Pages
A Manners Guide for the Nouveau Riche, Part Deux

In Part One of this guide, I encouraged the newly rich not to wear white. Many people, possibly some of them newly rich, objected. They were right in one sense: You can wear white, but only if you know how to wear white. When you don’t, it is simply easier to avoid it altogether.

Herewith I elaborate on that point, as well as some other general etiquette rules and how to break them.


• Men may not wear stiff white cotton jackets with black shirts unless they want to look like a cunt.

• Under no circumstances should you wear white patent-leather shoes—except if you are Elvis or Liberace, and then only in the casket. Pat Boone will be permitted to wear them again once he’s dead.

• Drive a white car only if it’s old, beaten up, or cheap. You may not roll in a white Rolls unless you are in Vegas or Monaco and you are being ridiculous on purpose. Diddy and Ay-rabs are exempt.

• You may decorate your house in all white, but for Pete’s sake, make sure it doesn’t look like an Ian Schrager hotel.


• You may eat ribs or baby lambchops with your hands, but only if you can do it without looking like a beast. Children should eat chicken legs with their hands, but adults must refrain unless they are at a BBQ wearing socks with sandals and a Hawaiian shirt. Lobster can be eaten by hand, but try to keep the sucking sounds and greasy-finger look to a minimum, especially if you are overweight.

“Never lick your fingers, unless you need to lubricate.”

• Don’t eat anything else with your hands except asparagus. If you are attractive, a French fry can be picked by hand with a delicate gesture. A salad leaf too. It’s quite chic ... tres de rigeuer… it is a matter of know how. If you come from a country where eating with your hands is normal, I’m sorry for you. Learn to use a fork and knife unless you are at home.

• Plump girls should not be seen in public eating bread, candy bars, or desserts ravenously. If you want to stuff a dozen Twinkies in your piehole when you’re home, that’s OK, but don’t buy them in a shop—order them over the Internet.

• Never lick your fingers, unless you need to lubricate.


• Women should never appear drunk in public. You may be tipsy, but never pushy. You look cheap enough as it is.

• Men can drink as much as they like as long as they remain joyful à la Robert Benchley and never show a hint of aggression.

• If you must do drugs, never speak about them and don’t do them with your very young grandchildren. Remember, keep it in the family, noseleak—but only adults in the family.


• Fancy cars are for rappers.

• If you have a chauffeur, don’t allow him to drive your Maserati or Porsche; keep him in your wife’s bedroom instead.

• Bodyguards are not the new black. They’re out. To lunch.

• Collect art and wine, but don’t hire someone to choose it for you, upstart.


• Men should never, never, never dye their hair. Women can, but stick to your roots. If you’re Saudi, chestnut at best, no blonde. Red, pink, or blue-black should be avoided unless you are a rock star.

• Rattails and hockey haircuts or mullets are not a good look. Real rednecks are allowed to rock this look and any other, but not if they become famous.

• No Hamiltans. Valentino Garavani, just a bit less orange, please, but we love you anyway. Lindsay Lohan spray tans are stupid like Lindsay Lohan. Fair is fairer.

• Plastic surgery should only be for brave young men and women who have been disfigured in an accident or wounded in war. If you must fix a bad nose or get a breast lift, fine. But lip injections and too much Botox make you the Bride of Wildenstein. Period.

• Don’t get tattooed after 25 unless you’re doing time.

• Unless you worship Il Duce, don’t wear a black shirt.

• Badly wrinkled linen suits can be very attractive, but you have to be very fat or very thin to carry it off.


• Stay in your ethnic region. There is nothing more ludicrous than seeing thick-set, peasant-like Russians shopping in St. Moritz or Sardinia. WASPs should stay in Newport and Russkis in Crimea.

• If you must leave your country, don’t wear a fanny pack and rubber sandals. Remember, when in Rome…


• Don’t eat food out of season. According to my brother, eating oysters in July and August is like eating pussy after it has been on a 100-mile bike ride.

• There is nothing that guarantees inclusion to the world’s most disgusting people like drinking expensive wine and champagne when it isn’t a special occasion.


• When referring to Hellenes never call them “Grecians” like Dubya did; they’re called “Greeks,” dimwit.

• Never leer, unless you are a rich Saudi or Pakistani and are therefore genetically incapable of controlling it.

• If you’ve grown up in the desert and you’ve never seen a modern bathroom before, don’t drop one behind the curtain. That’s a big no-no over here.

• When an obese member of an ethnic minority begs for food, respond by suggesting they could do with a diet.

• If you see a large contingent of blue-suited Chinamen near the UN in Manhattan, don’t hand them your laundry.


• Stay in your ethnic area.

• A lady or a gentleman never raises his or her voice unless there is a fire in a crowded movie theater. And even if there is, he or she always screams politely.

• If your mother’s rich and no one knows who your father is, don’t use your mother’s last name like Amanda Hearst, Brandon Davis, or Paris Latsis. If you must change your name, downgrade.

• Always be extremely gracious toward people less fortunate than yourself; you’ll be on your way down soon enough.

• Don’t use the “F” word unless you are begging for one.

• Never floss in public.

• Never treat a woman like anything but a lady.

• Never use the word “partner” unless you are planning to rob a bank.

• Don’t carry a gun unless you are a professional athlete in the NFL or NBA.

• If you want a pet, get a homeless Indian from the subcontinent. Don’t buy a pit bull; you might lose a boob one day.

• No matter how ripped you are, no one wants to see your hirsute body at the table. Wear a shirt for lunch even if you’re on the beach.

• American women: STOP walking around with a bottle of water in your hand or a cup from Starbucks! You’re killing the white race.

• Muscles are medium class. Body building is O-U-T.

• No PDA, unless you are a fused lesbian.

• Finally, if you have to leave, don’t go until you come back.


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