This is not the richest part of town, not the place where the old money lives, but their kids do live here -- beaten down and broken by that silver spoon -- along with the nouveau riche and heavyweight yuppies. These are The Haves, you know, the people Obama wants to tax more.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of nice people here, just less than average, maybe a lot less. One indicator I use is the dog-poop indicator. The law says you have to clean up behind your dog. It's disgusting, but it's considerate. The more poop is left on the streets, the more assholes live there. It's not scientific, but it's broadly accurate. I usually see more dog poop during a single lunchtime walk in The Pearl than I'll see in several weeks of walks around my lower-middle-class neighborhood.
I used to be a yuppie and I lived in an emerging yuppie neighborhood. Now maybe I'm just a judgmental bastard who works at a nonprofit. I'm also a people-watching writer who watches The Pearl residents closely. In this place you find trophy wives aplenty, often with accessory dogs tucked under an arm in a custom doggie handbag, or in a specially made stroller. These women are on display; perfect hair, tight pants, low cut tops, manicured nails, high heels... all of it high-end fashion. And they look so smug... and often, so uncomfortable. Many walk funny, like their heels are too high, or their shoes too pinched, or their designer jeans too tight...or maybe...shudder...it was a rough bikini wax day. But mostly they do indeed achieve their goal of being both hot and cool.
On any given weekday, while the rest of us are working, they can be seen strutting about, getting pedicures or facials, shopping, twittering with other wives from sidewalk tables, or going to the gym. It would seem that being a trophy wife is a lot more work than one might suspect, not as much as having a job, but it does seem to be a kind of obsessive occupation.
Come evening time you see them with their husbands who themselves are often quite well kept too, tanned, trimmed and crisply dressed. It's much easier for us guys; cut our nails, shave, get a haircut and put on nice clothes...and presto. Sometimes they are plain looking, especially as they get older; balding, with prosperous waistlines, as if they are announcing to the world that they must have a shit-load of dough to be this average and yet afford a trophy wife that hot. "She's out of my league? Have you seem my investment portfolio? I thought not...peasant!"
But what do you rarely see? Closeness. Tenderness.Warm hugs, gentle touches, lingering kisses, sweet smiles and the like. These are optional accesories. This should not surprise you. On the one hand you have a man who sees a woman as a prize, a commodity, and usually he's busy talking on his cell phone anyway, loudly demonstrating his priorities and his alpha-status to the invisible subservient on the other end of the line, and to all the rest of us too. On the other you have a woman who not only wants/settles for this life, but one who wants nothing more for herself than the comfort of this man's dowry. A woman without drive, without meaningful goals.
How lonely, how monotonous. What's to look forward to? Gossip with peers? The next skiing vacation? A life waiting for each imperfection of age, beating them back with facials and expensive creams tested on bunnies, and the inevitability of cosmetic surgery and a slow decline into looking more and more like an escapee from the original V TV series? The fear that your shallow husband will find a newer model of shallow wife and want an upgrade?
What of children? Friend or foe? Certainly the moms in the park with little ones splashing in the wading pool seem very different from their neighbors. They are not as trim or tidy. Motherhood is work and a serious handicap in the trophy business. It changes them, as only motherhood can, and the change is for the better. Perhaps it gives them a purpose beyond self-obsession. Or perhaps it just frees them from their shallow bonds.
I know those rich cats sitting there in those expensive restaurants with their hot babe across the table from them think I should envy them, but I pity them. I have a wife who started her own business and made it work through quality, love and real human connections. My wife paints, draws, makes jewelry and creates in a countless other ways. She dreams big, she takes chances and she's not afraid to fail or seem foolish. It's an attitude that has seen some of her impossible dreams come true. She just bloody goes for it. She's driven by her own personal growth and our shared future, not by image or bank balances.
She inspires people and makes friends easily. If you're a friend in need then she is a friend indeed. She's sweet, but tough. She'll challenge me if I'm being an ass and listen to my own challenges. She always wants to be a bit better today than she was yesterday. I have a wife who gave herself to me completely, and who accepted all of me. Her love is a fierce, wild, unflinching thing, and I swim in it like a dolphin through rough surf.
Our relationship is not perfect. We fight, we fail, we don't clean the house often enough. We annoy each other in a hundred little ways. But what we are is built on trust and we have no secrets, save those confidences a friend may have confided in us. Every shared experience, good or bad, draws us closer. Five years on and each day we find more to love in each other. We still talk for hours, hold hands, share long hugs and kiss under a full moon, like youthful lovers.
They used to say that behind every great man was a great woman, but maybe part of being a great man was recognizing the value of a great woman, of a great partnership. It's a helluva thing to have a helluva woman in your life.
You may be a boob man or a butt man, but you should always be a face man, an eyes man. That's where the person shines out, that's where you see that spark. When I look into her eyes I can see every bit of this. It is a rich, full, layered beauty that commands attention. When you look in your pageant queen's eyes, all you see is your own blind reflection.
I'm fucking rich, fat cat. I walk through a world that has no lies and few illusions. My wife and I know each other deeply and we love fully. We have lovingly run each other's lives and experiences through our fingers, like sand. It's rich and warm and intimate, but vast and free as a big blue sky.
You can keep your veneers and your petty pamperings. You can let your facades be the pillars to your house of cards. Your life has a pretty painted shell, but I know how hollow that cage is.
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