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Upper & Upper Middle-Class Parents - Essential Knowledge? - Page 9

post #161 of 345

Well good this thread just got better. 

 

post #162 of 345

Now I'm going to have that song in my head all day!  

post #163 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by mambera View Post


Jeebus.  This is exactly why I would never want to try and make a living out of my art.

 

You and me both!  (that's why I'm presently a lawyer Sheepish.gif)  (TBH:  I actually had an attitude problem in the arts about making what others liked/expected...so I opted to make my living in another capacity, whilst maintaining some modicum of personal integrity). 
winky.gif
 

 

post #164 of 345

Are death and marijuana the two great equalizers of humankind?  I think so...

 

 

post #165 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


It's fun, though.  I missed threads like this on MDC.
 

 



I've been thinking this, too.  Good to see a little life here!  And it's an interesting topic.



Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post

You and me both!  (that's why I'm presently a lawyer Sheepish.gif)  (TBH:  I actually had an attitude problem in the arts about making what others liked/expected...so I opted to make my living in another capacity, whilst maintaining some modicum of personal integrity). 
winky.gif
 

 


I would love to do my art for a living and I could probably get away with an etsy business (I had a pretty brisk business going for a while) but the law school loans will not wait forever.  Sucks that I have to be a lawyer mostly just to pay for the school.  :(  I could have made enough on etsy to have that second car and probably pay for most of my sons' schooling for the next few years.  But I'm studying for the freaking bar, which is hateful, imho.  

 

post #166 of 345


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I find this thread fascinating, but some points to clarify -----

 

100K for a family of 4 even in a moderate income area isn't enough to live the way many are describing -- with a Merc and black tie events and frequent trips to Europe. Not by a long shot. 

 

Second, I think that some people base their idea of how they rich live, act and think on TV and movies. But life is not a Frasier episode. nono.gif

 

Because of my DH's job, he deals with people who are wealthy and upper middle class. You know wanna know what is really important for him to be able to talk about????  The big mystery subject......

 

 

sports

 

Seriously. He's multi lingual in sports. He can discuss hockey with a Canadian, soccer with a Brit, and of course football with an American. He can do it all in French if required. And he takes time out of his week (sometimes while on a plane) to keep up with what is going on in the major sports in N. America and Europe. It's the important cultural information for him to have. Sometimes I find it disconcerting when he does it in front of me for a sport/country I didn't know was on his watch list. 

 

Next, many people find themselves with varying levels of income over the course of their lives (as shown in this thread). There's really no way of knowing where in all that any of our children will end up. I do think that becoming middle class AT ALL is becoming more difficult. I think financially things are more difficult for people coming of age now than they were a couple of decades of ago. Its impossible to project what it will really be like when our children come of age. Perhaps helping our children become resourceful and flexible are some of the most important skills.

 

I think a few posters here sound to me like they are preparing their children to live in Victorian England rather than then 21st century.


Thank you!!!!

I was beginning to think I was transported into an Edith Wharton novel.

 

And no offense to anyone, but 200k a year does not a Metropolitan Black Tie Hobknobber make.

 

People who spend their days courting donors - they better be up on local sports, current local events, and know their organization inside and out.

 

I think the OP just wants her kids to be prepared for things she wasn't. I get that, we all want that for our kids.  Honestly though, I think much of what they need to be prepared can be done by fostering an open mind, a love of learning, and an intellectual curiosity. And we should all be teaching our children etiquette for our society, and how to respect other cultural norms. I just fail to see how anyone of this income related, really.

 

 

post #167 of 345
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

Interesting question and interesting thoughts. 

 

I think I grew up in what you are talking about, and my parents did a decent job.  They taught me the value of money and hard work.  They let me experience things that I couldn't have if I had needed to work those full-time summer jobs every year.  I was able to do a lot of volunteering and service work.

 

I think the comfort you are talking about is pretty evasive.  It really depends on which circle you end up in.  I mean, teaching table manners for a nice restaurant, so your kid isn't rude is probably about the only thing I can think of that is universal.  Things like italian and skiing and cruises, etc. really depend on where you live and what interests there are socially.  I suppose teaching a child to listen before they speak would be helpful.  Then you can understand where the other person is coming from before you spout off ignorantly about something.  Perhaps the art of being subtle?  It's always classier to be less ostentatious.  And I suppose the idea that everyone pursues higher education is class related. 

...

I also moved to a working class town after marriage.  There are different topics discussed, different priorities in life...  I think that in contrast to my up-bringing, there is a general focus on ideas and theories in the upper-middle-class lifestyle, whereas in the working class lifestyle it is a more practical focus.  I can see how you would find it intimidating to go from working to upper class social groups, but it is also intimidating the other way.  And it also isn't always about "class" - it is about regional differences and career differences. 

 

Thank you. These were the kinds of issues that had me thinking. I've read The Millionaire Next Door. We donate both financially & personally to a whole range of charities. Of course, we have people over for dinner and play backyard games. We're involved in a religious community, and our children have a range of friends. It's not that we don't live a typical life. Even if we did have millions of dollars, we still would do those things. I'm not questioning the core of who I am - just how to help my children gain knowledge that many of the other people around us know already because they grew up in upper-class families where they picked up that knowledge.

 

My questions were specifically about helping my children to fit into a different social class from the one in which I grew up, and while people can theorize about social class being unimportant, the truth is that different socioeconomic classes do have different expectations and experiences. Our society is not a pure meritocracy, and my children have a very different life from the one I had growing up. I'm glad that they do, and I don't feel badly about saying that. I don't want them to be the kid who's always left out because we cannot afford anything. I don't want them to have to panic if they're invited somewhere that costs money because we can't do it. I don't want them to have only 3 pairs of pants that they have to wash and be sure to rotate. I grew up with that, and it wasn't fun or life-enriching. It's not noble to be poor (unless you took a religious vow of poverty, I suppose) just like it's not better to be affluent. Great and horrible people exist at both ends of the economic spectrum. I'm not asking about the value of a human life, for God's sake. I'm asking about little bits of knowledge that I should share in a systematic fashion with my children over the course of their lifetimes. I live in a place that still has cotillions. I could sign my kids up for those classes, but I'd prefer to teach them throughout their childhoods. 

post #168 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post

A lot of people seem to be taking this really personally... do you not think that there is a certain body of cultural knowledge that upper and upper-middle class people generally learn while people in other classes often don't? Really, each social class has its own sphere of cultural knowledge, but if you're interested in becoming upper-middle class then it helps to know that cultural currency. Some of it is as simple as knowing how to navigate going to college or grad school, or what to wear to an interview, or how and when to write a thank you letter. Part of it is feeling comfortable at cocktail or dinner parties, and most people feel more comfortable when they know something about the topics being discussed and understand some of the social graces and manners expected (Which fork do you use? What is the 4:20 position? Where should you leave your napkin when you're finished?). No one will hunt you down if you make a faux pas, but it still feels uncomfortable, and I'm not seeing why it's wrong to acknowledge that. Making social connections is important for many careers, whether we like to think it is or not.
Of course everyone wants their kids to be good, kind, caring people. That's a given.And it really isn't about money - it's about class, and as another poster said before, they're different things but often related. The U.S. is widely seen as having more class mobility than most other countries but it's still not always easy to change classes, in part because of not having the cultural capital.

I think it is so funny that you think those things are upper class skills. Most of the skills you list are common to all social class. I think what people are offended about is the assumption that lower middle class and poor people don't teach their kids to use manners, write thank you notes, speak another language, go to college, teach them about art, visit museums, travel, etc... I am sure there are some actual differences, but the one I am picking up on is that upper middle class and upper class people make a lot of inaccurate assumptions about other classes. Not that it is all sunshine and roses down on the other end but some of the assumptions are insulting, especially the college one.
post #169 of 345

This thread makes me think of the unsinkable molly brown and her new money( titanic)- I think if someday I become wealthy I will not let it change me a bit- I think I will be like Molly Brown and stay the same.... I will laugh at my faux paus and joke about the ridiculousness all the while being myself.

 

Of course- I will be polite and gracious to others- but I would not let it change who I was- who my friends were or what my core values were.

 

Some of the richest people I know- you would never ever know it.  My aunt always wears shorts and tights with flats and a casual shirt- sometimes that casual shirt will cost 300 $....

She is who she is regardless of who she is with- and people appreciate her for not putting on a show.

post #170 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post
 I'm asking about little bits of knowledge that I should share in a systematic fashion with my children over the course of their lifetimes. I live in a place that still has cotillions. I could sign my kids up for those classes, but I'd prefer to teach them throughout their childhoods. 


You should share with them the hobbies that you enjoy, teach them how to advocate for themselves at school, how to budget responsibly, allow them to develop their own interests (sports, skiing, music, art, etc) and hobbies, encourage them to get an education, and teach them basic manners. The rest will follow by example most likely. The best way to teach them to have intelligent conversations, for example, is to include them in intelligent conversation at dinner each night. It gives them practice in a safe environment. Challenge their views and make them back up whatever arguments they offer (not by force, but in conversation). Most of what they learn will come from you.

 

My cousins know about wine, but only because my aunt and uncle enjoy wine, and enjoy cooking great meals. I know nothing about it, and its no big deal. My parents are in the class you are talking about, and my mom enjoys some wine, but its not a big hobby of hers like it is her sisters.

 

I happen to think all parents should do this anyway. I don't think it has to do with class or money. I guess YMMV.

post #171 of 345
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post


I think it is so funny that you think those things are upper class skills. Most of the skills you list are common to all social class. I think what people are offended about is the assumption that lower middle class and poor people don't teach their kids to use manners, write thank you notes, speak another language, go to college, teach them about art, visit museums, travel, etc... I am sure there are some actual differences, but the one I am picking up on is that upper middle class and upper class people make a lot of inaccurate assumptions about other classes. Not that it is all sunshine and roses down on the other end but some of the assumptions are insulting, especially the college one.


I GREW UP WORKING CLASS. I do know exactly what life looks like in a working class and a middle class family. I'm not making assumptions. Unless my family was wildly different (and we are Southern, which I realize also matters culturally), no one brought up Copernicus or the local Rembrandt exhibit at dinner - not at my house and not at the houses of my friends. We played backyard football, not lacrosse. Short of people who grew up in immigrant households, I don't think that learning a second language is a priority in many working-class households. The reason that I addressed my comments to upper-middle and upper class families specifically was because of a thread here about a year ago. A number of parents said that they don't feed their children things like lobster because they cannot really afford to eat it and don't want to give their children a taste for something out of range. Quite a few people said that thank-you cards were outdated and not something their friends did; also most people agreed that teaching things like how properly to spoon soup and use multiple forks were not useful lessons. Many an MDC-er "lol"ed at the notion of eating at "such fancy places." So, yes, if you're working class and do those things, by all means share, but the general consensus (on a thread that also went pages and pages and pages) was that most people do not need to teach their children such esoteric skills because they would be unlikely to use them.

 

I'm sure that there are some working-class parents who teach those things to their children, but I'm confident in saying that they aren't the majority - or even a sizable minority. My mother - who was young and single when I was born - insisted that I learn to play golf and tennis because her outsider view was that making important business deals happened after such sporty outings. She pushed very hard (and I listened) for me to take French in high school because she viewed it as a more sophisticated language choice than Spanish. Those lessons, along with a lifelong push for college & grad school and a keen understanding of how professional women should present themselves, were actually pretty odd where I grew up. Other people went to college, of course, but their parents hadn't pushed it the way my mother did. No one played golf (no courses around). People didn't drink wine (strictly a beer and tequila kind of place). They didn't go to art museums. I'm not making up the differences that I can see between my childhood and my adulthood. 

post #172 of 345
To the OP, other than things like table etiquette, the things you're wanting them to know probably can't really be taught anyway. They're more absorbed by growing up in that environment. If you take them out to eat and talk about what wine you're chosing, they'll learn a bit about that. If you choose food off a menu and they hear what you order and see what you get, they'll learn that. If you are really that concerned and people have cotillion where you are, by all means get your kids involved with that when the time comes, but really I think this is something you can overthink and that isn't as big a deal as it feels like.
post #173 of 345

My aunt and uncle pushed golf on my cousin- he got a full ride scholarship to college and now owns a trading firm. I guess you just answered your own question.  teach them about wine golf and tennis.

Sounds like your mom really valued you moving up in class....

to me it's important for my son and dd to achieve more then I have up to this point and I talk to them almost daily about college and good professions.  For one I talk to ds about going to U of I.   But I am the only non college grad in my family- so maybe I am in the minority of poor folks.

post #174 of 345

If you want your kids in a wealthy circle, get them involved in Crew. Its a sport, and is VERY expensive (think $200 uniforms, several regattas out of state, the use of equipment that costs many thousands of dollars.....) It also teaches discipline in a way that many other sports don't, and offers a way to get good scholarships for college.

post #175 of 345
You likely won't be able to teach them much about cotillions, because you are not familiar with them. Just let them experience the process. They will learn what is necessary through experiences. Cotillions are different in every region anyway!


[quote name="VisionaryMom" url="/ I live in a place that still has cotillions. I could sign my kids up for those classes, but I'd prefer to teach them throughout their childhoods. 
[/quote]
post #176 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by One_Girl View Post

I think it is so funny that you think those things are upper class skills. Most of the skills you list are common to all social class. I think what people are offended about is the assumption that lower middle class and poor people don't teach their kids to use manners, write thank you notes, speak another language, go to college, teach them about art, visit museums, travel, etc... I am sure there are some actual differences, but the one I am picking up on is that upper middle class and upper class people make a lot of inaccurate assumptions about other classes. Not that it is all sunshine and roses down on the other end but some of the assumptions are insulting, especially the college one.

Statistically speaking, the more money you make and the more education you have, the more likely your child is to go to college, and the more likely he is to go to a selective or highly selective university. I attend one of the top 20 universities in the U.S. as a grad student, and less than 5% of our undergrads even qualify for Pell grants - which families are eligible for if they make up to 50K a year, in some cases, so not really even poor. Going to college - again, especially a selective college, more so than a community of state college - takes know-how and time, and it also takes seeing going to college as an option.... which many families still don't.

I live in the city of St. Louis.I know poor people - really poor, not just grad student poor like me. Multigenerationally poor... and generally no, they don't travel internationally, or visit art museums, or speak a foreign language (unless their parents are immigrants). How would they be able to do those things? Those things take time, money, and knowledge, and really, why would they be relevant? Generally they aren't, especially when it's hard enough to ensure that kids are well-fed, clean, safe, doing well in school, etc...

As far as manners, there are different manners for different social settings. Do your kids know an oyster fork from a fish fork from a salad fork? Have they ever needed to? Not that I think it's something everyone should go right out and teach their kids - one can always watch someone else, and failing that, outside to inside is a good general rule- but it's an example of manners that generally aren't relevant unless you're of a certain class.
post #177 of 345


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



I GREW UP WORKING CLASS. I do know exactly what life looks like in a working class and a middle class family. I'm not making assumptions. Unless my family was wildly different (and we are Southern, which I realize also matters culturally), no one brought up Copernicus or the local Rembrandt exhibit at dinner - not at my house and not at the houses of my friends. We played backyard football, not lacrosse. Short of people who grew up in immigrant households, I don't think that learning a second language is a priority in many working-class households. The reason that I addressed my comments to upper-middle and upper class families specifically was because of a thread here about a year ago. A number of parents said that they don't feed their children things like lobster because they cannot really afford to eat it and don't want to give their children a taste for something out of range. Quite a few people said that thank-you cards were outdated and not something their friends did; also most people agreed that teaching things like how properly to spoon soup and use multiple forks were not useful lessons. Many an MDC-er "lol"ed at the notion of eating at "such fancy places." So, yes, if you're working class and do those things, by all means share, but the general consensus (on a thread that also went pages and pages and pages) was that most people do not need to teach their children such esoteric skills because they would be unlikely to use them.

 

I'm sure that there are some working-class parents who teach those things to their children, but I'm confident in saying that they aren't the majority - or even a sizable minority. My mother - who was young and single when I was born - insisted that I learn to play golf and tennis because her outsider view was that making important business deals happened after such sporty outings. She pushed very hard (and I listened) for me to take French in high school because she viewed it as a more sophisticated language choice than Spanish. Those lessons, along with a lifelong push for college & grad school and a keen understanding of how professional women should present themselves, were actually pretty odd where I grew up. Other people went to college, of course, but their parents hadn't pushed it the way my mother did. No one played golf (no courses around). People didn't drink wine (strictly a beer and tequila kind of place). They didn't go to art museums. I'm not making up the differences that I can see between my childhood and my adulthood. 


What your write makes sense. However, in my experience what you are talking about is more a social grouping thing not an economic class thing. I'm very middle class, I grew up very middle class. Most of my friends would enjoy talking about the local Rembrandt exhibit. However, I remember going to some of my son's little league games with other parents who were mostly in my same income bracket and many in a slightly higher bracket and being bored silly because there interests were so different from mine. I have very academic interests. My son is interested in languages so he takes Mandarin lessons. I'm often looked at like I have two heads when I talk about these things. It's not because I'm sitting in the wrong economic class it's because I'm sitting with people who I have nothing in common with and don't share interests with.

 

I think what others are trying to say is that I know plenty of people of all income brackets who would love to talk about my academic and eclectic interests. I know plenty from all income brackets who would be very uninterested in what I enjoy talking about. To me this is about finding a social circle that shares your interests, not a social circle that meets your economic status.

 

I will admit that more academic interests can usually be met with a more educated crowd. In the broadest grouping more educated individuals are often found at the upper income bracket. However, I know several people with college degree's making very little more than minimum wage. I know people with no advanced education who make a lot of money. I also know plenty of people who have academic interests who never went on to higher education.

 

It sounds to me like you simply want your kids to be exposed to lots of things to decide where their interests lie and want them to value education. I think that if your raise them with those values in mind you'll do well. Let your kids know that you value it when they express curiosity about a lot of things and that you value varied life experiences. Teach them to keep an open mind about a visit to the opera, a baseball game, a museum, a crawdad feed, or whatever so that they can find their interests and they will do fine in any polite conversation and will eventually find a social group that fits their interest.

 


Edited by JollyGG - 2/21/12 at 7:06pm
post #178 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post


Statistically speaking, the more money you make and the more education you have, the more likely your child is to go to college, and the more likely he is to go to a selective or highly selective university. I attend one of the top 20 universities in the U.S. as a grad student, and less than 5% of our undergrads even qualify for Pell grants - which families are eligible for if they make up to 50K a year, in some cases, so not really even poor. Going to college - again, especially a selective college, more so than a community of state college - takes know-how and time, and it also takes seeing going to college as an option.... which many families still don't.
 


50k a year isn't much, and people making $50k are most certainly poor in some parts of the country. I make $48k/year, and my ds and I would not make it if it weren't for child support. Literally. We could not make it. Not in my city. My rent is $1500/mo (which considering ALL of my utilities are included, I have a washer and dryer and dishwasher in the unit, most places you have to use coin operated laundry, I have a GREAT deal on a sweet place). Daycare? $1400/mo. and its the cheapest option that doesn't have chickens running around in the kitchen (yes, literally, I looked).

 

Also, going to a selective college, means being a legacy admission in most places (ie, your parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins went there too). After accepting legacy admissions, elite schools accept the students that they need to fill certain roles (stroke of the 8 on the crew team, quarter back, trumpet player for the orchestra, 1st chair violin, baseball players, etc), and then they diversify. If you go to a private school, and are not a legacy admission, you aren't going to an Ivy League college, you just aren't. No matter how rich, how elite, how well versed you are in ethics, whatever. 2 friends of mine from my crew team got accepted to Yale - they went to public schools (shitty ones), were valedictorians with a perfect 4.0 gpa, and were FAST by high school crew standards. One qualified for youth nationals and junior world championship regattas. Thats what it took in her case - she was good in a way that none of us could compare to. Her erg scores were outrageous. And she had a perfect gpa. She wasn't anything special outside of that, and had zero know how when it came to getting into college. The other guy? Was rich, but went to public school because his parents knew the system, was also fast (but not as fast as the girl - she routinely beat him on the ergs, and not because of qualifying the scores she just beat him outright - but she was pretty exceptional and had scholarships to be on the team), and he was probably a legacy to some degree, but also got a crew scholarship.

 

ETA - in my city everyone goes to museums. They're free (and they're among the best). Best city ever.

post #179 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG View Post

...I'm actually more worried about my kids learning things they might miss from living a comfortable lifestyle then in wanting them to learn the social niceties of being an upper income earner.

 

I worry that if I pay for my kids college they won't value it as much and work as hard (I payed my own way and am still working on the loans, but I knew the cost and value of what I was paying for each semester as I payed my tuition).

My kids don't see us making a lot of sacrifices to meet our budget and I wonder if they appreciate the value of an economical menu, few extras, ect. and if they ever do need to cut back to make ends meet will they know how to do it having never seen it.

 

I guess I worry more about them learning the value of hard work, how to make frugal decisions, how to live on a budget and those sorts of things.


This.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

...I wonder whether your own sense of being an 'outsider' is causing you to give these things more importance than they merit?

 

In general one makes a better impression by being comfortable in one's own skin than by trying to cover up one's imagined deficits.  Eg a polite request for an English menu (or a charming smile along with, "I'm afraid I don't speak Italian; what dish would you recommend?) looks much more confident than a flustered attempt to pronounce an Italian phrase one doesn't understand.


I agree with the above. 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Adorkable~ View Post

...Why is it not ok (and i agree it's not) to take shots at someone for being poor, but seemingly open season of someone who is rich?....

 


This definitely happens here. 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

I find this thread fascinating, but some points to clarify -----

 

100K for a family of 4 even in a moderate income area isn't enough to live the way many are describing -- with a Merc and black tie events and frequent trips to Europe. Not by a long shot. 

 

Second, I think that some people base their idea of how they rich live, act and think on TV and movies. But life is not a Frasier episode. nono.gif

 

Next, many people find themselves with varying levels of income over the course of their lives (as shown in this thread). There's really no way of knowing where in all that any of our children will end up. I do think that becoming middle class AT ALL is becoming more difficult. I think financially things are more difficult for people coming of age now than they were a couple of decades of ago. Its impossible to project what it will really be like when our children come of age. Perhaps helping our children become resourceful and flexible are some of the most important skills.

 

I think a few posters here sound to me like they are preparing their children to live in Victorian England rather than then 21st century.


Ahh, finally, some sense in this thread. wink1.gif

 

post #180 of 345

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

 

If your kids are in a socio-economic circle that they will likely run in those circles as adults? Absolutely they should learn how to to act appropriately. Are ALL the people there snarky and mean? Nope. No more than those who are AP confronted by mainstream parents ALL snarky and mean. And let's face it - a fair portion of the latter are.

 

At the end of the day, it does kids a disservice to not prepare them for the areas they'll be circulating in. No matter what group it is. If you hang in a group where the guys all get together to play poker every Friday, would you teach your son to play bridge? Probably not. If you lived in a big football area, would you teach your kids cricket? Or vice-versa? If you lived in the UK, you'd likely teach them cricket, rugby or soccer instead of American football. Because that would help them fit in. Same thing. IMO.
 

It would never have occurred to me to pick a sport for my kids, based on whether or not that would help them fit in. I don't ski (nor do my parents) even though almost every friend I ever had went skiing regularly. I don't ice skate, although the same goes. I've never voluntarily played a team sport, and I never will. None of my kids have played soccer, or hockey (I'm Canadian - hockey's HUGE), although ds2 may do the hockey thing - he's showing interest.

 

And, I'd much rather teach my children not to care if some rich person is going to gossip about them and laugh at them for not knowing how to behave at a black tie event. I don't want them to fit into that kind of behaviour, to tell the truth. I can't imagine why I would.

 

And, the post upthread about finding oneself in a higher bracket makes me cringe. I'm already in a much higher "class" than the one I was born to, and I don't care for it a lot of the time. I really hope dh never reaches the "upper" class "heights", because I don't think I'd survive it. The description in this thread make it sound every bit as tedious and snooty as I believed it to be as a teen, when I suffered from severe reverse snobbery.

 



 

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