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gymboree play and learn center

How rich parents can be friendlier than middle class ones

I had the fortunate privilege of attending the US Open

Finals this year (and last) riding the coat tails of one of my friends who is

an avid tennis fan and who secures plum tickets each year.
After this year’s tournament,  I was having an online conversation with

friends, and one pal mentioned how she will be taking her daughter there

regularly, taking note at how friendly everyone was there.
I agreed.  If you were

to guage by all the anti-rich sentiments that circulate in progressive political

circles, you’d think wealthy people were the worst type of people on earth.
But those attending the US Open were/ are usually overwhelmingly

affluent and with sponsors like Rolex, Mercedes Benz, and Ralph Lauren‘s Polo it’s no wonder

as those brands have studied and know the demographic.
The online exchange reminded me of the time I realized that

I sometimes prefer meeting new rich friends than middle class and upper middle class

 I know it sounds

shallow but if you think about it, rich people are stereotyped to be snooty,

snobby and perceived to always be looking down on others.  

Those in the lower and middle socioeconomic class are thought

by many to be more compassionate and caring for their fellow man.
My experience has in at least one social experience was the opposite.  
After I had my first child in 2002, I was working at an

international law firm at the time and was blessed to have had 6 months paid maternity

leave – virtually unheard of in the US.
I had loads of time on my hands. Back then, the national play

and learn centers Gymboree gave away one free visit for each location.
So each week, I would schedule first time visits and would pack

up my newborn and go visit  all the

Gymboree centers around the DC Metropolitan area to see which one was the best

fit. There were about 4 or 5 of them.
At each center, my baby boy and I would be joining an

already existing class session or one that had just started.  We would have to reach out to friend other

parents and babies there.  Each session

started with a few minutes of free unstructured play,  then parents got a chance to formally introduce

themselves and their baby during the formal circle play time. After it, we’d

have a few moments of free play again during the hour to 2 hour play sessions.  This is when you’d schedule play dates outside

of class or just try to make new friends, generally.
I immediately noticed a pattern.
At the centers that were located in middle to upper middle

class neighborhoods , I found the moms (and dads sometimes) weren’t too open

and friendly. They would look at me and turn their heads and not necessarily

respond to my friendly hand or smile to connect. They’d stick to chatting with

the friends they already knew. Bummer.
Only during the formal circle times, if we were asked to

share where we worked or what we did for a living, I discovered that once some

of these parents learned I was an attorney and then working at a major law

firm, that only then would they start speaking and would gravitate over to me

and my baby. Curious.
That was not the case in the super affluent areas, at the centers

where every SUV parked out front was of some supreme luxury brand.  My experience was that the moms were generous

and open and welcoming from the beginning. I didn’t get a feeling of judgment

or sizing up to determine if I was worthy of getting to know better.
I figured it out quickly.
They simply could afford to be friendly. Many of the moms

were married to very rich men and therefore, in some respects, had reached the pinnacle

of financial success anyway and therefore were done their social climbing. They

didn’t need to feel that adding you as a friend would be adding a new person to

compete with.

They also no longer had to only socialize with those who were

worthy of being in the same circle or could be an asset or connection to the

next rung in the socio economic ladder they were clawing ferociously to the top to summit.

Further, if race was a factor, they, more likely, had

wealthy friends of various races and therefore did not assume that a black

woman, for example  wouldn’t have access

to a network they could tap into and therefore not worth getting to know more.
Certainly, these are broad generalizations and do not apply

to all wealthy or all middle class people as I 

know the opposite can be said from members of each class.
Just in my casual observation and experience the social

climbers are more likely to have tight cliques and circles and are not keen on letting

new friends penetrate through.

Like one of my favorite rappers, Drake, sings, “No new

photo: courtesy Coursehorse

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