Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Recreational Read Teaches How to Climb that Social Ladder

This article gives review and some insider tips on a fictional book "Social Climber" written by Beth Dunn.

(MS) -- Despite "The Real Housewives" franchise sprouting new regional incarnations each TV season, these ueber-rich vixens from all over the country have nothing on a different set of ladies who can teach all about the proper clothing labels, the key to a pedigree, how to marry an asset husband, and so much more about climbing to the top of social standing.

Not many people get the chance to experience "how the other half lives." These are the cliques who are born with the right last name and grow up in the elite suburbs of the country. They attend the desireable schools, socialize at the country club, and later on go on to marry for the added status that it will bring. After that they spend their time vying for invites for the latest fundraiser, or working toward chairing the next committee.

There are the lucky few who are "already there," (AT) who have social status inherent from birth and don't need to worry about climbing to the top. But many more are "social climbers," (SC) who aspire to aquire that out-of-reach status, and may do whatever it takes to get there.

In her seemingly autobiographical, yet albeit fictional book, "Social Climbers," author Beth Dunn shares the secrets of this superficial crowd others only read about in the society papers. She sheds light on the ATs, SCs and NRs (nouveau riche) who make a name for themselves on the Main Line -- a well-known enclave of old money outside of Philadelphia. These are the women who compete for invites, wouldn't make it through a week without a mani/pedi at the top salon, and do their best to emotionally pick away at others social standing for the gain it may bring themselves.

"While ground rules for social 'acceptance' may have changed since I was in school," offers Dunn, "The ladies definitely haven't. Being sick of cliques and mean girls grown up, I was motivated to write about them."

Whether you're looking for a glimpse inside this eye-popping world, or are just looking for an escape from your own social circles, "Social Climbers," is a fast-paced, entertaining read perfect for pool- or beachside.

Can you relate to the catty Kitty Kimmel, who seems to chair every committee and enjoys a love/hate relationship with all of her acquaintances? What about the alluring Allegra, who doesn't have to work so hard for social status because she is Greek aristocracy, enjoying a few-rules approach to living? Then there is main character Elizabeth Quinn, who knows how to play both sides of the game but is always a step away from realizing her true potential.

Author Dunn has first-hand experience of this special world, having been a former social climber herself. But things have certainly changed for the author. She says she is now reformed, putting her family and giving back first, and worrying less about the catty side of social climbing.

Although becoming a socialite may seem elitist, there are many positive aspects that women can include in their own lives. Here are some pointers to consider:

* Volunteer and support a charity: In today's economic climate there are many individuals and groups that could use extra manpower and support. Get out there and become involved.

* Put your best foot forward: While the socialite would say to put your best Prada-clad foot forward, dressing up and looking your best can improve self-esteem and make a difference in how you present yourself to others.

* Smile: The uninspirational evening news has left many with few things to smile about, but the funny thing about smiles is that they tend to be contagious. Show off your pearly whites and embrace a good mood.

* Have fun: There's no harm in enjoying yourself once in a while. A socialite knows how to get on all the party lists. Investigate bashes thrown by public relations firms or nonprofit organizations. They're usually fun and free!

* Have confidence in yourself: A socialite knows that she has every right to be at an occasion or gathering. Present an air of confidence in everything you do, and when meeting new people. You never know how you can network new relationships to your advantage.

For more insider tips on social climbing, pick up a copy of "Social Climbers" from your favorite online retailer, or by visiting

CAPTION: Behind the smiles and compliments may lie a social climber.


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