By Sam Linton
You know, we dub ourselves as “Lifestyle” here, but few and far between are the times that we actually step up to direct our readers on how, exactly, they are to style their lives. Well no more! This article kicks off what may well be a multipart series on the styling of lives, giving you, the MONDO readership, the tips, tricks, cheats, and flat-out chicanery necessary to turn your lives completely around. Now, truth be told, I’m not exactly sure what kind of a person reads MONDO, but presumably, it’s someone with a well-rounded interest in the arts, music, film, television, videogames, comic books, and tenuously lifestyle-related miscellanea. And who has an internet connection. However, for a personality with interests as well rounded as these, something has to give, and I suspect that in the MONDO readership, it’s the social graces (I hope my blanket-generalizations aren’t offensive). Well, don’t worry, internet-friends! Because the MONDO Lifestyle section has made it its special mission to take you all from trashy to classy with a simple list of affectations you can use to patch over your social weaknesses and appear in all situations as either the gentleman’s gentleman (which I believe is a polite term for “butler”), or lady’s lady (wet nurse? scullery maid?). So join me, won’t you, as MONDO Lifestyle delves into…
The Secrets of Class-Having
Okay, I have to admit, I myself am something of a novice on the subject of classiness. However, I have consumed a lot of media containing depictions of classy characters, so I’ve definitely absorbed enough second-hand class to at least form some working knowledge about what constitutes class-having. And honestly, it’s all about appearances. Being classy is like being from the past, but not the real past where things were actually much worse than they are now. Being classy is like being from the fuzzily remembered past, where everyone was polite, children were quiet unless spoken to, and nothing was ever bad. The nostalgic past. Evoking this spirit is the key to class, and it can be easily faked. Just follow these tips!
- Dress for Success. One thing that all classy people have going for them is that they don’t just look good, they look comfortable in formal attire. As though casual clothes are just a weird, civilian disguise and it’s really only in a tuxedo or formal gown that they actually feel within their element. Of course, in real life, you can’t go around in a suit or cocktail dress everywhere; that’s silly. But you can always keep an element of formality in your casual dress to suggest “this is who I really am.” Ladies, wear your hair up in formal do with a clip, wear heels at all times, or get a nice pair of superfluous opera gloves; gents, find one piece of formal attire you can attach to your normal wardrobe (no neckties with t-shirts, though. That makes you look like a 90s punk). And be tastefully understated. Remember, the key is to look normal enough fit in, but to subtly suggest that you refuse to sacrifice as much dignity as everyone else apparently has to do. That’s class. Also, don’t skimp on the occasions when you actually are allowed to dress formally. That’s when you show everyone else how dressing up comes as naturally to you as breathing. It’s your moment; own it!
- Pop Culture is Slop Culture. No one classy pays attention to anything current. Just as classiness comes from the imagined past of nostalgia, it only acknowledges the same. No one classy references The Office (not even the British one); they reference Congreve. Basically, if it could have been produced during the lifetimes of anyone present in the conversation, it ought to be beneath you. For good measure, let’s just say anything made in the last 70 years. That isn’t to say that the truly classy person does not engage in, say, a conversation about Battlestar Galactica, but they will subtly shift it to a discussion on Julius Caesar. It shows an eagerness to engage others in earnest conversation (classiness is not aloofness), but a detached out-of-touchness with modern culture that can only come from true classiness. Also, bonus points if you actually refer to Shakespeare as “The Immortal Bard.”
- Caring, not Swearing. How you actually talk is crucial to pulling off good classy. All the attention to superficial detail in the world won’t be enough to class you up if you still talk like a sailor. But the key here is not only to eliminate most profanity from your vocabulary*, but to generally soften your language entirely. Have you ever seen a movie where the villain has somehow got himself horribly killed and the protagonist melancholically refers to him as a “poor devil”? That’s what I’m talking about; classiness forgives and sympathizes. Have you ever heard someone refer to a dead animal as a “poor fellow”? Again, total class move, sympathizing with the creature’s plight while elevating it to the level of a human being. And that’s really all there is to it. Just remember that the truly classy person sees the world in a less-harsh light than you probably do, and try to reflect that in your speech. It’s as though you see the world through very, very slightly rose-tinted glasses. Like a sepia tone. Like they had in the past.
So there you have it. Sure, there might be more to true classiness than just dressing well, being anachronistic, and not swearing so much, but honestly those three tips will go a long way. And sure, you may be self-conscious about faking it at first, but I guarantee you, the line between acting classy and being a class-act is a very thin one indeed, and you may cross it before you even know.
So remember, it’s your life…
* Some profanity is still allowed. “Bloody” is good, and “damned” is acceptable in situations of extreme stress, in place of the more common “motherfucker.”