Manners & Misdemeanors
On Over-the-Top Parties and Being Discreet, By the Truly Rich Lady
Thou shall not mistake extravagance for elegance.

My old yaya has once again directed me to what she feels is very important news, something about a particularly grand celebration where a healthy amount of money was spent on securing a cavernous venue, live entertainment, catered food, and other accoutrements for the coming out ceremony of one young lady and 1,000 of her closest friends and family.

Aaand after reviewing the photos and videos of this fabulous party, all I can say is: Is that all?

It brings me back to the good old days when mother would throw luscious affairs that were at least 10 times more fabulous than this sweet soiree. I remember, in fact, a two-day housewarming bash with a "Surreal" theme and a venue that stretched from our plantation-style mansion all the way to a floating barge disguised as a paradise of palm trees and bougainvilleas. Mother wore a taxidermy cat hat and a light-up gown with a ball skirt that housed live butterflies. Every time she took a step, one or two butterflies would escape into the night air before being snatched by hungry birds, which were everywhere. Father, on the other hand, was a bore. He dressed as unimaginatively as his favorite literary character, Conde Monte Cristo.

I'm just going say that you can spend your money however you want. You earned it through your hard work, sparkling wit, and an unnatural dose of good luck, so you can drop it on whatever you like...

Of course, even as a little girl, I did not disappoint. Inspired by Audrey Hepburn, I wore a rattan cage over my stick-like body (the actress wore her cage over her head) and placed live parakeets inside the decorative enclosure for that extra oomph.

Partygoers danced and drank and, of course, dined on a Dionysian spread that included plump roasts of wild boar, lamb, and goose, wheels of cheese, and barrels of grapes. I downed my first swig of Champagne back then, while the beautiful grownups put out their cigarettes in vats of caviar because, well, why not? No one stopped us. At the end of the night, butterfly wings twinkled on the flowery path and white splotches (bird poo) transformed my dress into a Pollock. It was amazing.

That is now but a memory of the gilded past. I have since become a total bore, whose idea of sinful fun is rearranging my indoor plants and drinking two glasses of wine before bedtime.

As a matter of taste, however, an ostentatious show of wealth does not reflect well on the spender. Discreetness is the forever password that protects the gates of refinement.

Anyway, back to this modern party. All I can say is you can spend your money however you want. As long as you've earned it through hard work, or sparkling wit, or an unnatural dose of good luck, you can drop it on whatever you like, including, say, a video that looks like a trailer for part three of the spin-off of the spin-off of an adapted spy caper (I seriously don’t know what that was for, but hey, it was pretty).


You can also buy a European sports car and then cover it with a pattern of fashion logos (I have seen one parked outside the new neighbor’s house) or buy an expensive French bag and paint garlands of flowers on it.

As a matter of taste, however, an ostentatious show of wealth does not reflect well on the spender. Discreetness is the forever password that protects the gates of refinement. Yes, the Truly Rich Lady will occasionally throw an over-the-top party, where maybe—just maybe!—guests will lose control, diamonds will be ripped from costumes and flung into an aquarium, and food will be served by waitresses dressed as Venus of Urbino.  But no one outside the party will ever know about it as the TRL’s army of staff and servers would have signed an ironclad NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and guests would know enough to keep their mouths shut and cameras off.

But who am I really to tut-tut-tut-tut about another’s party. The TRL may see today’s extravagant affairs as the height of vulgarity and an insensitive show of wealth, but I bet the guests who were invited had a lot of fun. I know, because when I was a young girl, I did.

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C.C. Coo
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