Are You Un Aristo d’Enfer? Find Out Now!

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Are you an aristo?
1. When you grew up, you most wanted to be
a.) ruler of the world
b.) king of the hill
c.) carmen miranda
d.) a bon vivant

2. In your free time you love to
a.) tend your chateaux
b.) have tea with your belle mere (mother-in-law)
c.) horse back ride at a break neck pace
d.) taunt peasants with their unworthiness

3. A typical meal for you would consist of:
a.) escargot with a rich Pinot Noir
b.) fresh bread with toasted goat’s milk cheese
c.) champagne
d.) Neither ‘meal’ nor ‘typical’ are in my vocabulary; the air at Chanel is enough to sustain me. A cigarette wouldn’t go amiss…

4.) Your ideal home would be:
a.) the family chateau – birthplace of ancestors and forbears
b.) a trendy flat in London
c.) in a box off of the Chateau Rouge metro stop
d.) in the 6th – best parties

5.) My perfect mate (male or female)has:
a.) land, title and an Adam’s apple the size of an 8 ball
b.) a black leather jacket and a pack of Marlboro reds
c.) Teeth like Serge Gainsbourg’s
d.) Only one? C’est une blague? (Are you joking?)

6.) You need to get across Paris toute suite for an important dejeuner with your favorite designer. You choose:
a.) public transport.
b.) limo
c.) a Lincoln Towne car
d.) I don’t do ‘toute suite.” A Ducati and 30 minutes late.

How did you score?
1.) If you answered….
a – too obvious! Nil points-
b – what does this even mean? 10pts if you can talk your way out of it.
c – 25 points for creativity
d – 50 points. You’re on the right track.

2.) If you answered…
a – Um hello…we have servants to tend to these things…zero!
b – Boring, but how else can you poison the old hag and inherit the lot? I like where you head’s at – 25 pts.
c- 30 pts – ride like the wind!
d – 100 pts. You’re getting the hang of it.

3.) If you answered…
a -Un bourge – aïe! Rien-
b- What are you Heidi? Back to your mountain! 5pts.
c- 25 points. You’re on the right track.
d – Who needs food when there is shopping, smokes and Chanel? Not you – 50 points!

What your score means -

0 – you are not fit to clean my boots. Casse-toi!

0-25: You are bourgeois. Get a Hundai. Bonne chance-

25-75: You have potential. Perhaps you could marry someone with title and entertain us at parties. We could do with a little intrigue…

75+ : Bien fait! You are d’enfer – throw some designer duds in your weekender and head over to my private jet. Allons-y!
*Disclosure: not my real uncle. Not my photo. Pinched it from the internet without permission (duh -aristos don’t need to ask Pigdog!). For (my) entertainment purposes only…

Packaged Shopping

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Every good aristo knows how to shop. Correction. A good aristo knows how to shop, and a great aristo has a personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman’s.

An aristo d’enfer, however has to be a bit more savvy, even when it comes to underwear. I can’t just march into Barney’s and pick me up some Carine Gilson Flottant Shorty in a few of my favorite colors. No.

But there comes a time in every woman’s life when her inner aristocrat rebels when she picks up a three pack of underwear. The combination of the cotton weave and 8% spandex wrapped in plastic has the same effect as kryptonite: I try to walk away but my legs won’t move. I try to put down the super soft briefs but my arms won’t obey. My middle class limbs know I have a coupon for 30% off and they drag me to the register against my will while the voices in my head coax me across the floor with their poisonous words, “no one has to know, move towards the register…” At home with my faculties back in tact, I open the little package and my heart drops. I put the neatly folded bourgeois briefs in the drawer next to the others and quickly close it.

A true Aristo d’Enfer inherently knows that shopping is about quality. A wardrobe should be built like a skyscraper in Dubai: solid foundation, sleek appeal and luxury apartments. So while I can’t buy everything at Bergdorf’s, I can certainly manage some choice items. Karl (see “Totem Spirit” post) would be okay with that. About three years ago, I stopped cruising the sales racks exclusively and started making better choices. Don’t misunderstand: my inner aristocrat is constantly at war with my outer bourgeois suburban housewife (and also my suburban husband), but I have some great accomplishments:

-Emptied the closet of anything a peasant would wear (itchy, ill fitting, and gym clothes).
-Dumped the ugly suburban mom shoes (pleather and its ilk).
-Invested in some quality skin care. I consider my face prime real estate.
-Got the cell phone of my Chanel skincare advisor at Saks. Chanel on call? Oh yeah….
-Donated excess bags and totes (ie the ones with the monkey), and kept only the ones in the brown boxes marked, LV. Quality girls…

Buoyed by my aristocratic confidence, I enjoy a champagne toast in my head and smugly proposed to my young daughter-aristo-d’enfer-in-training that it might be time to hit up 5th Ave. for a day of shopping. She is thrilled and we brain storm some carefully chosen items we would like to peruse. I feel superlative, empowered and regal. Until my daughter says casually as she walks out of the room, “oh and Mom…no more packaged underwear.”

Well played.

Totem Spirit

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Many years ago, in a dark deserted part of Western Florida, my sister and I drove through unlit dirt roads to arrive at the trailer home of a psychic.  Why? I don’t know.  There is not much to do in Tampa in August. You think Ybor City is dark and scary? You ain’t seen nothing…

So there we were in front of a petite older woman who began the readings with our Totem Spirits.  “Totem” she said, “is the representation of the person’s spirit and will help you understand who you are.”  Great, I thought.  Until she pulled up a Moose and my aristo d’enfer alarm went into overdrive.

I have nothing against the majestic moose. It’s just… so…big.

Vanity forbids me from associating myself with anything moose size unless it’s from Cartier, or a summer home in East Hampton. The moment my plane touched down at JFK, I lept over the peasant snoring next to me in business class, and made a run for my private psychic on Fifth Avenue toute suite. She was as horrified as I to hear about my experience in rural Tampa and nearly choked on her petits fours. She wasted no time reaching into the dark recess of an 18th century mahogany bureau and produced an exquisite set of gold embossed, designer totem spirit cards. She guided my shaking hand over the deck and told me to clear my mind, while she invoked the names of Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givency, and Yves St. Laurent. She drank deeply of her Pouilly-Fumé, dragged on a cheroot and said in a gravelly voice, “Chérie, deese ees your vrai totem spirit…” I waited for the smoke from her red lips to clear to focus and when I looked down I saw:


Karl Lagerfeld.

You can go ahead and drool, pant, or reach for the nearest AED, but my totem is the ultimate aristo d’enfer: the driving force behind the greatest fashion house EVER, and the man who makes your selfies look like pre school artwork.

Moose indeed.

Disclaimer: I “borrowed” this photo of Karl, my spirit. I don’t think he would mind. He owns it, not I and I am only using it for vain purposes. :)

Bourgeois Den of Iniquity

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Un aristo d’enfer loathes shopping malls but a bourgeois housewife is drawn like a moth to a flame…

It is not my fault that local peasants enjoy queueing for hours to arrive at that hole in the mall that sells “jewelry.” It is also not my fault that a well meaning friend spent far too much cash in that hovel for my daughter’s 13th birthday.

It is, however, entirely my fault that instead of donating her gift to charity while she was at school, I consciously chose to muck in with the masses in attempt to get back the cash.

Un aristo d’enfer knows how to demand her rights…

In my haughtiness though, I lost site of the fact that this was not Bergdorf Goodman’s, but a bourgeois den of iniquity. My bad.

A two hour (I kid you not) death march toward the entrance and my daughter and I were rewarded with a greeting blinded by a plump, middle aged troll in an ill fitting Chicco’s blouse. We were completely underwhelmed. I announced that it was our misfortune to have to call her out from under her bridge but we needed to dump this crap pronto Squanto. We wanted cash. She squinted at us over bedazzled spectacles and asked if we had bought this ourselves.

“Oh no, we would never buy this stuff.” I retorted. My daughter stifled a giggle at my side.

She wiped the drool from the side of her mouth and schlumped off. She returned with her the head of her order: a magnificent specimen of why one should finish school. Karl Lagerfeld’s worst nightmare incarnate. I pushed my daughter behind me to shield her. Head troll gave me the side eye. It wasn’t intentional, her eyes were crossed from having to look at this crap all day. I don’t count troll among the languages I speak, but through the mumble and flying spittle I managed to catch “franchise” and “exchange.” Cash would not be forthcoming.

I could feel my blue blood pressure rising.

We spent yet more time trading in the old crap for new crap. In the end my daughter chose something she really liked could tolerate. She is an aristo d’enfer in training after all. The trolls gave us the obligatory “we’re-so-sorry-we-couldn’t-accomodate-your-simple-request” nonsense. I countered with, “I don’t care. It’s crap anyway.” I did not insist that they bow. It would’ve caused their thick bodies to fall over. I felt generous and magnanimous. Our ordeal was over. My daughter high fived me as we left.

We made a beeline for the nearest Chanel counter. It only took two Champagne flutes of Cliquot and the entire Sublimage skin care line before I felt like my aristo d’enfer self again.

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