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How to spot a socialite

Someone very correctly said, ?All men are equal? and didn?t stop there, but went on to add even more correctly, ?Though some men are more equal than others.?

india Updated: Jan 13, 2006 04:01 IST

Someone very correctly said, “All men are equal” and didn’t stop there, but went on to add even more correctly, “Though some men are more equal than others.” This is pretty much the distinction between a socialite and us lesser mortals.

The other day I was invited to a party and arrived completely unprepared. (I had left my air-kissing lips at home on top of the refrigerator.) But over the evening, I gathered a lot of evidence — in a Desmond Morris, Nat Geo manner of speaking — to frame those socialites who claim to be hard-working, tax-paying members of the society like the rest of us.

So next time you are in a house that’s not your own, here’s a quick rundown you must conduct to determine whether you are chez a socialite or not. Here goes:

1. A socialite never lives on the ground floor. He or she may have a lawn (preferably a terrace garden), but are most commonly found perched on the higher reaches of any dwelling. Ground floor houses are simply too down-to-earth.

2. The porch has to have more expensive cars than an auto expo. This is a sure-shot sign that one is driving up to a socialite’s house. A fellow socialite will always oblige by parking their driving divas alongside to make it look like a cavalcade of sorts. I was happy, because from my car I could enjoy the lovely view of their swanky sportsters while they pretended my car was cloaked in an invisibilty force field.

3. Air-kissing is a hygienic hello. (Well, so is a good namaste, but then...) With so much stress over personal spaces and spreading germs, never make the mistake of shaking hands or wrapping a hug. If the host approaches you and you hear a ‘muah’ pucker sound emanating from her (and increasingly these days, his) direction, well then, dude, you’ve just been air-kissed by a socialite.

4. A socialite always serves finger foods. The socialite brethren understands the need and imperativeness of air-kissing someone while you’re nursing your Glenmorangie or holding your Dunhill or clutching your Louis Vuitton with one hand while admiring the other person’s hair or dress or both hair and dress with the other, er, hand. Snacks which can be popped like Ecstasy are way more favourable than say, a tangri kebab, which gets in the way.

5. There are always tables with glass tops and animal figurines. Animal statues in bronze or wood are old-school classy but also a sure sign of power. Glass tables are great for snorting chalk-like substances. And if it’s not silica gel or baking powder, you’ll know you’re in a socialite’s house.

6. The bathroom has at least six different bottles of EDTs. And no, I don’t mean those little vials that come free when you shop abroad. I am talking about full-sized bottles of colognes ranging from musk to lemon-tree scents. I had a tough time refraining from pocketing a couple.

7. There is wine and some liqueur — always. The wine may be old and vinegary; the liqueur probably equally vintage and obtuse. But they are sure-to-be-found table-top decorations. This wouldn’t be out of place normally, but I am talking about times when one would go over to watch football matches or pay-per-view programmes.

8. There are more antic relics than the Louvre in the house. No socialite house is complete without some odd antique that was bought for a fortune that could have repopulated a modern-day Pompeii. Mostly, these things will be absolutely hideous and distasteful and you will inevitably be asked to comment on them.

9. There are at least seven cooks and ten helping hands. Even with larger families with labradors, the food is never great.

10. Saying bye is a 20-minute process. Say bye but then continue conve-rsing for another half an hour. And that’s the minimum.

First Published: Jan 13, 2006 04:01 IST