What Bougie People Do

In collaboration with devessel, we continue our delve into all things bouge. Today, we'll explore What Bougie People Do (WBPD) even if no one thinks we should… or can.

What this is: a non-exhaustive list of musings, based on activities in which either we or someone in our immediate circle have indulged. This is part of our normal cloud of understanding. And so we begin:

We go places:

We of the privileged-and-still-working class might choose to enjoy domestic or international travel to timeshare property or 4 star hotels or eco-tourism clubs. Not the Holiday Inn because there's a Pizza Hut attached to it, a familiar sight from home. Isn't the purpose of going abroad to experience the abroad-ness of it? Hell. We *live* abroad, and have passports with stamps from obscure corners of the Earth. When we travel, we worry about things like attaining Platinum status, renewing memberships to the Admirals Club, and which airport in the LA Metro area still has valet parking. We don't go to Atlantic City if we can afford Vegas, we don't go to Vegas if we can afford Monaco.

We attend museum events, charity balls and foundation dinners. Plenty of us are seen at the ballet, first-run theatre (note the spelling), opera, classic jazz, and foreign film events. We can be found at afternoon tea, Sunday brunch, non-chain restaurants specializing in multi-ethnic cuisines, and yes, we can be vegetarian! We go to spas, we worship spas actually. The Four Seasons at Jimbaran Bay in Bali has been rated number one in the world for about fifteen years, I'm still trying to justify going.

We own things:

Beyond houses and cars, we invest. In fine art, investment clubs, businesses and venture capital groups. We have investments with appreciating assets, not just expensive gadgetry. We invest in estate jewelry, not bling. We have college funds, vacation funds, trust funds. We have personal banking assistants, not tellers. We say things like Debt-to-Income ratio, ROI, short sell, strategic portfolio allocation and balanced investment strategy.

We collect things. Things like crystal and coins and wine. We invest in rare bottles of wine. Speaking of vintages, we do love our champagne and we also have been known to partake of microbrewed ales.

We relax at home:

We hire housekeepers, interior decorators and feng shui specialists for our personal and office space. We reserve the right to choose to entertain with or without barbecue, with or without paper plates, and with or without speakers moved out to the rear yard. We throw pool parties and black people actually get in the pool. We are just as happy and comfortable hosting a full champagne brunch at home with omelet chef and dessert bar as we are hosting a full course dinner for two or ten. We know caterers and party-planners. We order custom designed cakes (not from CostCo).

We've been known to watch PBS. We love the Fine Living Channel and HGTV. We gather for in-home salons, soirees and dinner parties solely for the purpose of stimulating grown up discussion. We read the newspaper and classic literature as well as People and paperback novels. We have book clubs, real and virtual. We have been doing that since before Oprah made it cool again. And yes, we blog on every imaginable topic!

We enjoy sports:

We can be seen skiing, surfing, playing tennis, rowing, on hockey teams, long-distance running, cycling, horseback riding, playing rugby, golf, Lacrosse; hanging out in pilates, t'ai chi, or zumba class. We play Chess, and we play Bridge, Baccarat, and Mah Jongg, i.e. card games other than Spades. Not that there's anything wrong with Spades…

We will attend any sporting event that is corporate-sponsored, has V.I.P. parking, catered food, open bars and a Skybox. We will follow our professional teams to away games and plan vacations around sporting events (Pro Bowl in Hawaii? Guilty as charged.)

We shop custom and gourmet:

We buy custom designed menswear. We shop in boutiques as well as department stores. We have personal shoppers. We buy exotic cheeses and seafood from far, far away. We eat local, we love Whole Foods. We can discuss artisan breads. We love an Olive Bar. We trade homemade salsa recipes and discuss the best way to pan-sear scallops.

We buy custom makeup and hair products. We buy monogrammed towels and 1000-threadcount sheets. As a matter of fact, the more things that have our initials engraved, etched or stitched on them; we love it. I don't know why we do this, maybe because we can.

We work (until we don't):

We have careers, not jobs. We don't get a paycheck, we earn a salary. We have a career path. We have mentors and we have discussed our career progression plan with them. We plan for contingencies. We network; we attend National Black MBA conferences and National Medical Assocation conventions. We open consulting companies and have retirement plans. We are never unemployed; we are on sabbatical, between jobs or considering retirement. J

We pray:

We are diverse in our spirituality. We practice yoga, chant mantras, light candles and go on retreats to mountain getaways. We practice our faith privately whether as Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, --or not at all.

We also:

Reserve the right to wear our hair naturally without irony, and still place hand-made haute couture on our backs. We wear old school press n' curls, we wear expensive weaves.

We recycle, we have Eco-friendly home cleaners and grow our own produce without pesticides. We have been 'green' for generations before it was cool.

We vote how we like. We are represented across the political spectrum, from the farthest left to the farthest right. In fact, isn't that the same geographical point? Hmmm.

So we say all of this to say what? Is bouge nothing more than a mindset that gives us the audacity, coupled with finances that give us the capacity to express ourselves as we choose? Is it radical in its own very "mainstreamness"? Bougie is as bougie does…

Anything else you would like to add to the list?