Much like the Oracle, HipGuide answers visitors' tough questions here.

Rich Not Unemployed
Q:Dearest QueenBee,
I recently went to Atlanta with a friend who had to move for business.
The town was... interesting, but also nice. We went out to a few clubs, nothing spectacular. My query for you is... everywhere we went people would ask me "where do you work?" or "What do you do for a living?" I have no profession, so naturally thats what I said. For some reason people in the US (Atlanta in particular) seem to translate this as unemployed and penniless. I couldn't explain more without being vulgar and I couldn't answer any follow up questions without being crass. They sensed my evasiveness and it only added to their poor impression of me. I bought drinks, I left large tips, not obviously, but tastefully, and I am sure you will agree with me when I say, I don't think I could have done more without being in serious breach of decorum.

My question is, how do I make them understand that I have no profession by choice and that it has no effect on my income or my ability to pay, without being in very poor taste? It never really comes up in London, or in Europe in general for that matter. I, of course, assumed that you being the uber-hip, tres chic queen bee of fabulous would know the answer. Thank you in advance.

-- "JPI, Roma, London "


A:Ah, the pain of being idle and independently wealthy.
While I would like to think that you were surrounded by entrepreneurial types who just can't stop inventing, my first instinct is that you were hanging out with those who will always have to work for a living so they can't imagine any other life.

Now the truth is JPI, that these days it's not chic to "do nothing", which is what a gal pal of mine who's trust fund dwarves our national economy used to say. (Now she says she publishes books.)

Doing nothing implies you have no passion and therefore care about no one/ nothing which is why no amount of etiquette or money can fix it. Therefore you must come up with something to which you will hitch your sails...

So whether you are (choose one):
1. involved in charities
2. a professional host/hostess
3. a writer (another friend of ours occasionally writes an article on her jet set life for magazines)
4. an investor (throw money at something, someone, and me whilst you're at it...)

People will always be uncomfortable around those who are cagey (gee, wonder why) and even the seriously dishonest will wonder why you don't have any passion. You wrote to us so you must love something. Find it. Claim it. Stake it.

~The QB

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