Miss Manners on Social Climbing through Philanthropy

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March 31, 2013; Source: San Jose Mercury News (United Feature Syndicate)

Not only does Miss Manners disapprove of trying to meet a rich man through volunteering, she also believes that it is a bad plan. A Miss Manners column reader recently suggested that she would not mind living in a Fifth Avenue penthouse and doubts she can get there through her own efforts so she has started volunteering at galas in order to meet a very rich person with whom to have babies. Miss Manners is horrified, and she responds:

“Society is fortunate that hordes of social climbers strive through philanthropy. If not for the hope of whatever they consider upward mobility, there would be far less charity. However, this is done at the committee and board level by people who have money but are nevertheless in pursuit of those who have had money longer. This lets you out. As for the galas, rich gentlemen do not attend them in search of eligible women. They attend them because their wives are on the committee and have put together tables where they can socialize with their own friends.”

Aaargh! The best laid plans…

We are surprised at the number of times we have heard of philanthropy being used for purposes other than philanthropy, such as high rolling fraudsters using philanthropy to establish themselves in a community of the well-heeled. Bernie Madoff comes to mind, among many others. –Ruth McCambridge