Keeping up appearances is why many women know their husband’s business dealings are illegal or unethical but still stay because of the first class tickets to New York and the Hermes bags.
Hyacinth Bucket is the main character in a British sitcom; ‘Keeping Up Appearances’. She spends most of her time trying to climb into the upper echelons of society, so much so that she insists her name is pronounced ‘bouquet’. She speaks with a posh accent in stark contrast to her commoner sisters and goes to great lengths to hide them from the view of her upper class friends. Makes for classic British comedy but I’ve also drawn a few lessons from it.
Everyone has an innate desire to be respected, loved and admired; sometimes for something we’re not. People wear masks because they don’t want the world to see their low self-esteem or pain. It’s socially acceptable to behave in particular ways even if it doesn’t come naturally. I believe this is called etiquette.
Some however wear masks so often that their real personalities are permanently cloaked behind a façade. So if you’re not as awesome as you’d like to be, you can simply pretend to be someone else. The internet makes this even easier as you can be a 16-year-old broke student and masquerade as CEO of ‘Whatever Productions’. Famous impostor, Frank Abagnale Jr. did this so successfully that he conned his victims of $2.5m over 5 years.
Asides from criminal activity, the social ladder presents added pressure to conform. What’s the point of buying a BlackBerry Porsche if you can’t tell all your Twitter followers about it? Whenever you scrimp and save to travel to Paris or Singapore, be sure to post pictures on Facebook like it’s a regular vacation spot. Pictures of your shoe closet with 20 pairs of Louboutins on Instagram is perfectly in order when you’re trying to show your friends how well your ‘runs’ have been paying off! How else do you explain young musicians spending their entire first pay check on jewellery, cars and phones?
My sister’s friend bought a fake Louis Vuitton purse and put it in her genuine LV handbag. Who’s going to know? How many people can spot genuine LV bags? A large segment of the population fantasises about aspirational brands and buying what they can’t afford. You want it but can’t afford it? Wear a fake.
Keeping up appearances is why many women know their husband’s business dealings are illegal or unethical but still stay because of the first class tickets to New York and the Hermes bags. It’s why a woman would put up with a black eye giving and philandering husband if only it means she continues to cruise around in her customized Range Rover Evoque with the tan leather seats.
It also manifests itself in a darker fashion as some of us may have experienced. When anyone asks how we’re doing, we automatically say we’re fine even if we’re just about to make a cocktail of cyanide and otapiapia. Some even speak a new language called Christianese and say they’re strong (ill), rich (broke) or blessed (stressed out) when asked about their well-being. Whenever we hit a rough patch we silently hope it’ll go away and never seek help. Some battle clinical depression but are too ashamed to admit they don’t have it all together.
We start faking it at an early age and continue throughout much of our lives. Some people are able to surmount this and care less what people think about them. I find such people to be generally happy. There is a certain joy from doing just what you want and not caring about anything. Rather than being shackled by what you would like to own or be, you can simply enjoy who you are and what you have right now. After all the good book says; “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” For we brought nothing into this world and will take nothing out of it.
So what if you don’t think I’m fabulous? My lovely wife thinks the world of me. Monkey no fine but him mama like am.
“Sent from my iPad in a SuperCharged Range Rover on my way to the Airport to catch a private jet to watch the Spanish Grand Prix.”
About the author: Olugbenga Kehinde Shote is a Consultant and Business Economist. He is passionate about helping small businesses and start-ups reach their full potential.
Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.