How to be Pretentious

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By Charlotte Latvala

Many people hit middle age without having fulfilled a single dream or even identified one unique thing about themselves. These fifty-somethings compensate by becoming insufferably pretentious – sometimes about a single topic, but more often about every facet of life.

If you wish to join their ranks, here’s some help.

  1. Look down your nose at the following: Chain restaurants. Starbucks. Pottery Barn. Shopping at Wal-Mart/Target/Costco. Children’s menus. Children who are average. Parents who don’t know what they’re doing, especially those who shop at Wal-Mart, the thought of which offends you to the very core.
  2. Start throwing arcane words into every conversation. You will impress some otherwise sensible adults, despite the fact that is available to all.
  3. Become a wine buff. Wine is the very backbone of middle-aged pretentiousness. Just remember the Four S’s: Sniff. Swirl. Sip. Spend.
  4. Eat only specialty foods. It’s easier to be pretentious if you subscribe to a diet that feels like a moral choice (veganism) or proof that you’re smarter than everyone else (clean eating) but the important thing is to let everyone know about it. (When in doubt, remember these words: “Sorry, we only eat local.” Everyone will admire your resolve, even if “eating local” means buying Twinkies from the mini-mart down the street.)
  5. Indulge in the arts. Or, as pretentious people call them, The Arts. To start, you absolutely cannot enjoy anything that’s remotely popular. Disney shows on Broadway? Please. Your friend who pens romance novels? Deluded. Reality TV? Only palatable in an ironic, I’m-amusing-myself-with-my-witty-social-commentary sort of way.
  6. Go green. Of course no one wants to harm the environment. But to be truly pretentious, you need to go the extra mile and lecture others – incessantly – about recycling, fracking, and so forth.
  7. Become a size 0. Pretentious people are rarely chubby – or even average-sized.
  8. Join a club. Or pretend to join a club. Refer to it often, as in, “When I was at the club the other morning….” No one will ask “What club?” because they are too busy being impressed by your imagined social connections.
  9. Get used to being alone. Because, eventually, people will start tuning you out, or possibly realize that you’re not that special. You must decide if the joy of pretentiousness is worth it. (We here at How to be 50 have come to the conclusion, after some deliberation, that it’s not.)


Filed under 50, humor, mid-life, middle-aged, snobs

2 responses to “How to be Pretentious

  1. Tara

    Ha ha ha ha ha! In defense of drinking wine after 50 . . .

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