Teach Me How to Bougie

bougie, adjective – Aspiring to be a higher class than one is. Derived from bourgeois – meaning middle/upper class.

I blame the new Facebook timeline for giving me instant access to the photos, posts, and regrettable decisions I’ve made during the past seven years.  As I look through the pictures and comments I made, I can’t help but compare who I was when I entered college to who I am now.  I’ve gotten older, wiser, and more civilized.

Seven years ago I was a scrawny runt whose standard outfit was a dark blue Russell Athletic hoodie, track pants, and white Reebok sneakers. High fashion for me was a sapphire blue zipper fleece that said “Italia” on the back.  I thought There’s Something About Mary to be a game changing movie in the world of cinema and I swore that The Da Vinci Code should win the Putlizer Prize for Fiction.  I’m sure if I could’ve seen my facebook profile bio it would’ve said something like, “I’m a cool guy that likes stuff.”

<—-  I probably would’ve thought this guy was TOO cool.

Now I won’t leave the house without a pair of Levi’s jeans or khakis from Urban Outfitters; I roll up the sleeves of my pastel buttoned down shirt, and my shoes are often a sensible Clark’s desert boot.  I can now debate the theme of alienation between Fellini’s La Dolce Vita and Godard’s Le Mepris, and I can defend my senior thesis on the American Dream and British identity in post-World War II England in (Nobel laureate) Harold Pinter’s play The Homecoming.  Today I’d be described as a hip urbanite.

But how did I go from trash to class?

How did I go from this:

To this:

Who still kinda feels like this:

I blame Sean Brophy.  Sean is my sartorial guide, my financial advisor, and oh yeah… my boyfriend.  Seanyboy is as refined as it gets. He’s eloquent, impeccably dressed, and can name all of the British monarchs in succession.  He studied at the Episcopal Academy and now works for The Wharton School of Business.  He’s the Henry Higgins to my Eliza Doolittle and my ambassador to all things natural fiber, proper, and preppy.

I also blame the theater. All the Shakespeare and English plays I’ve performed in has skewed my perception of the world and made me a bit more class conscious than I ever was before.  I don’t spend my time eating cucumber sandwiches and going to horse shows, but I can appreciate a Charles Dickens novel and I know how to perform a classical monologue.

Now that Facebook has provided me with a timeline of the last seven years, I can witness my transformation from a suburban boy to a sophisticate.  Although when I think about it now, I’m still not all that sophisticated. I still like to dance and booze it up, I still listen to the same cheesy hip-hop I did when I was in high school, and I still secretly like The Da Vinci Code. So maybe my great transformation from boy to man hasn’t been as exaggerated as I like to believe after all.

I’ve been placing blame on the reasons why I changed but truthfully it’s just a role I can play when called upon. I can dress in natural fibers, quote Austen, and talk about the weather in Edgartown.  I can reinvent the type of character that Jay Gatsby does in The Great Gatsby and long to be part of the moneyed elite, but I think I’m really me when I’m goofy, wear track jackets, and don’t take myself too seriously.  As hard as I may try, I’ll never be a true prep, and I’m ok with that.

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