30 June 2010

Yuppies: The State-of-the Art Manual

When I was at school, yuppie and preppy were pejorative terms. I can still recall being confronted as a small child by a gang of swarthy young foreign proles in the mean streets of New Canaan for wearing an "alligator" on my polo shirt. In fact I learned to fight in my Lacoste shirts and Sperry Topsiders. After school and university in the 1990s I started a banking career in New York City and then later moved back to London to work in investment management. The yuppies depicted in the image (at left) were still very much in evidence. I was not aware until just recently, however, that an actual handbook had been published on the species. (Likewise it was not until years later that I learned of the American guide to preppies). I never understood why wearing proper clothing, having a job, and sporting a side-parting should be targets for ridicule. Given the nature of those in the creative arts who wrote such handbooks, however, and that of the people who read them, maybe I should not be surprised. Perhaps there is a special name for these people. I certainly can think of a few. Can you?

7 comments:

Tabitha said...

It's a means for the hoi polloi to peer into the inner sanctum, their ticket to the country club. Poor lamb's.

OCBD said...

Part of our obsession with things Trad/Ivy is to dissociate ourselves fromm those "swarthy foreign proles", is it not?

Every time I see Ahmadinejad or Hugo Chavez and the like on TV, I cling more firmly to my obsession.

Anonymous said...

nymag.com/anniversary/40th/50657/

A nice cultural history of the species by Jay McInerney.

K.S. Anthony said...

Thought of you today, old man. Was driving around Newport. Claus Von Bulow's mansion is here. Talk turned to insulin and the trial. Then we went back to drinking.

v. Braun. said...

I am even subjected to ridicule without holding a proper job! :(

Michael said...

Everyone knows that a record player is the only trad way to enjoy recorded music. Not this "walking man" nonsense.

Des Esseintes said...

I had no idea this nonsense existed. I read the Sloane Ranger handbook years ago, some good fun to be had but altogether nothing noteworthy.

Isn't it sad that, from outside the Trad / Preppy / Sloane Ranger / whatever conservative circles, their "tribe" seems to be primarily defined by the brands they are wearing (see the book cover in your post)? That, more than anything else, shows how little many commentators understand the true workings of such groupings. What effectively happens is that they apply the current distinguishing codes of the middle class to every social stratum visible only from the outside.

Unfortunately, this sad pattern is continued by far too many of today's "trad" websites - just look at the rather pitiable wannabe issuing "Unabashedly Prep" - nothing but pseudo-establishment name dropping - or even the absurd, politically correct re-issue of that Birnbach almanach.

dE