The bizarre life of an Upper East Side housewife isn’t that bizarre
So…a friend posted this article on Facebook this morning. It was about author Wednesday Martin’s anthropological dissection of her experience as a woman/wife/mother living in New York’s affluent Upper East Side. As I read through the piece, I couldn’t help but equate much of what I was reading with things I have witnessed myself. Maybe not on the same uber-wealthy level, but definitely behaviour of the mean-girl, queen bee, mom-war, snobby, elitist variety.
Families up here had many children, not the average 2.5. Having a lot of children is the new conspicuous consumption…It’s how the Masters of the Universe show their wealth: provisioning their children the right way and getting them into the right classes.
Intensive mothering says that if you have all these resources and all this money, you can’t just say to your kid, ‘Go play in the back yard.
You need to hire somebody to teach your kid to ride a bike the safe, right way. Taking your kid to school is not enough. Helping with homework is not enough. There are homework tutorials for parents — we’re supposed to literally go to classes so you can learn how your child is learning math, so that you can be in a better mind-meld with your child.
There’s a lot of social jockeying through play dates.
The black Cadillac Escalade is the transportation method of choice on the UES.
Okay, okay…in Vancouver it’s the Land Rover.
I’ll leave you with a little anecdote to prove my point. Earlier this month I was at a fair for an elite private school in Vancouver. I have been going to this fair since I was a child and it has grown into something of a spectacle. What was once a rummage sale with a bottle toss, cake walk and raffle has become a very lucrative fundraiser, which I am certain must raise upwards of 100K. Amazing, right?? I sure hope some of that goes to charity.
The fair now has pony rides, bouncy castles (that start at around $3 a go), a jewelry sale with armed guards outside the door, a silent auction that has trips to Mexico…and a clothing sale. The clothing is divided into two sections “regular” and “designer”. This year, there was a section I hadn’t seen before dedicated entirely to handbags. I stood in awe as women clambered to find designer treasures amongst the cast aways. I paused, transfixed, and overheard the most bizarre exchange.
“Did they all sell??” One woman asked another.
“Yes!” She replied, “…we just got rid of the last one.”
“Great! How much did they sell for?”
“I think around $3000 a piece. The last lady is just coming back with cash.”
They were talking about three Celine handbags that had sold that day…at their “rummage sale”.
See??? That Upper East Side lady’s life really isn’t that bizarre, is it?