Your RDA of Irony

Social-Climbing for Du Mies

I know that most of you are not status-craving snobs; otherwise you now would be reading the Huffington Report. Nonetheless, if only to improve my social standing, I want to encourage you to join the aristocracy.

This is not as difficult as you might think–if you don’t mind being French. The French aristocracy is really quite democratic. The most tenuous relationship could allow you to assume a title. If you actually had a titled ancestor–no matter how distant–then you can sport that moniker, too. Every child of a comte is also a comte or comtesse–as are the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Actually, it is surprising that everyone in France doesn’t qualify.

By contrast, in Britain only the oldest son gets the title. Younger sons and their sons still get good tables but not “the real status.” Winston Churchill was the grandson of a Duke but was still technically a commoner–although a decidedly upper class one.

So just marry or be adopted by a French aristocrat. (There are plenty of threadbare comtes who will do it for the money.) If your current family might object to being abandoned–or if it wants to social-climb with you–you have another route to the heights. Buy a property with a title. Yes, in France a deed of title can be quite literal: the property comes with a title. Let’s say that there is a tract of land that is registered as Cul de Sac. If I buy that property, I then am allowed to call myself Eugene Finerman de Cul de Sac. Doesn’t that sound prestigious?

The French certainly think so–and who are we to disagree? For example, remember Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a former President of France. So you thought with that name he had to be an aristocrat?No, his ancestors actually were on the safe side of the guillotine. His grandfather bought the Estaing property and the family then acquired the “de” veneer.

Unfortunately, all these routes to the social heights must be paved with money. If you have a convenient fortune, just make an outrageous contribution to a successful presidential candidate–and hint the country where you would like to be ambassador.

  1. LiberalMetsFan says:

    But can we still have “Freedom Fries” after we get our title?

    Few people really know how much the French helped us in the Revolutionary War. Without their funding, we never would’ve won.

    But the French like to have evidence before invading another country so they’re no ally of the US.

  2. Hal Gordon says:

    In their celebrated journal, one of the freres Goncourt tells of overhearing a conversation in a Paris cafe about an aristocratic family that was “practically poor.” The conversation about the family concluded with this observation: “They are the result of three generations of marrying for love.”

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