Money & Power
Private Social Clubs: How to Be Part of the Truly Rich Lady's World
What’s so great about being a member of an exclusive club anyway?
ILLUSTRATOR Alysse Asilo
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Do you want to ask our resident TRL anything? E-mail C.C. Coo at [email protected].  

I spent most of my university years with just three friends: Sammy, a curly-haired brainiac and the only daughter of a lawmaker; Dom, an elfin creature and the heiress to an entertainment group mogul; and Legs, who was teen-dream beautiful and came from a family whose obscene wealth was built on frugality. And then there was I, Moves, who was called such because I liked to dance.

We were thick as thieves, prowling the college halls like a pack of, in my opinion, elegant creatures who were wise beyond our years and blessed with perfect teeth and GPAs. And while we didn’t mean to appear like—what’s the word I’m looking for—a gang, we gave that impression because we kept to ourselves, a fact that must have intimidated other people (I swear we were mostly nice).

My friends and I have all spent time together at these so-called private places, which aren't all that private because we know everyone there.

There was this girl, Tina, who was always on the periphery of wherever we were. Once, as we were figuring out our schedules for the next semester, she, upon seeing our perfectly synched classes, quipped, “Together again? Don’t you ever get tired of each other?” She was probably smarting because our relationship with her didn’t progress to anything meaningful. It was a nothing comment, but I did feel a sting because, well, were we that obvious?

Closed clubs are tricky places. You know, the club on the island, the one in the tower, the one with pretty horses, and the one that endeavors to be beyond exclusive by having a mysterious unmarked entrance. My friends and I have all spent time together at these so-called private places, which aren't all that private because we know everyone there.

At times like this, when people are screaming for egalitarianism and the world is seemingly circling the drain, a private social club can also look a little dirty. I mean, is it really okay to keep most people out so that I can enjoy my fried chicken in peace? Should I bother to spend a cool sum (annually, monthly, and per visit) to gain access to a place that I will probably only really set foot in a handful of times a year? Is it cool to join a private club just because other people (also known as "the committee") think I am cool enough to join that private club? Wouldn't it be cooler to turn down such an invitation because I am cool enough already?

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I am sure that sometimes you, too, just want to be with the people who understand your particular quirks or customs. You don’t want to be mired in endless small talk with a gaggle of strangers.

What’s so great about being a member of an ultra-private club anyway? And why can’t I take photos when everybody else is? High price points lead to restricted access, which means privacy, the quality that supposedly makes these places desirable. Sometimes I enjoy being by myself or among a group of people who are of the same mind as I am, which is supposedly the very spirit of the club. It is, according to senior girl scouts and Merriam-Webster, “a group identified by some common characteristic” like cookies or sewing or quietness, all things I am delighted to talk about while I finish my chicken.

I am sure that sometimes you, too, just want to be with the people who understand your particular quirks or customs. You don’t want to be mired in endless small talk with a gaggle of strangers. That’s what work and church are for. What you want to do is to go to a place where you and your best girl friends can gallivant in daring maillots with full confidence because there is no one there but the four of you. And a hundred other like-minded people. What you want is to let your guard down and let your back rolls be free. Well, that's what you had hoped for, till everyone else joined the club.

Now, when does it go too far? If I take that feeling of exclusivity outside the four walls of the club and rub it in people’s faces.

Of course, the venue should be superior in atmosphere, the other most-wanted perk of the members-only club. You want to feel like you are transported to another world, dressed in very old finery and very new technology in, maybe, a hodgepodge style that says it is wordly, laidback, and costs a lot of money. Large exotic plants are usually involved.

There are also the amenities (that are really unused most of the time—we just want to eat), but what I personally like are the intangibles. You know, like how things magically appear before me without my even asking. Or how a stretch of beachscape looks deserted when I require quiet. I also like how everyone knows my name (and not in a creepy way) and how they know I have a weakness for mildly sweet things at around two in the afternoon, and then how a hot batch of bread pudding suddenly shows up in front of me. 

Now, when does it go too far? If I take that feeling of exclusivity outside the four walls of the club and rub it in people’s faces. The Truly Rich Lady does not detail the fantastic goings-on in her life on social media, including the super secret place where she gets her chicken fix. She will not make a fuss about something that is already inherently private (which means, don’t talk about it). She will also never let anyone tell her where she can or cannot go, what she can do or cannot do. Or else why even bother?

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But she will gladly invite a friend over to feast on that good chicken. She will also thank the gods for her good fortune and then, after she has had her alone moment, spend an equal amount of time and money doing secret good deeds somewhere else.

 

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