Be our fair lady, Eliza Doolittle, as we show you how easy it is to act more cultured and sophisticated than you really are.
Step 1: Go to a show Use the arts section of your local newspaper to find an exhibit or gallery opening to attend. If the chat turns to art, you’ll be prepared to ask if anyone managed to catch the blah blah showing last weekend.
TIP: If you’re too busy to see an exhibit, just read some reviews online.
Step 2: Read up Select a half dozen recently released, critically acclaimed books (no, Oprah’s latest selection doesn’t count) and hit the bookstore to read the jackets.
TIP: Flip through the books until you find a couple of great lines you can later quote, remarking on their 'profundity.'
Step 3: Dress up Find a frock at the toniest secondhand shop in your city. If anyone admires it, say, 'This? Oh, my goodness, Posh/J. Lo/Beyoncé gave it to me when she tired of it; I suspect it no longer fit her.'
Step 4: Sip something sophisticated Once at the party, ask for a classic drink, like a Manhattan, to distinguish yourself from the chardonnay sheep.
Step 5: Use confusing words Declare the drink 'jejune/tentative/chaotic,' then enjoy the looks of partygoers as they struggle to decide if you like it or not. You can also apply these words to any artwork, artist, or art genre you’re asked to give your opinion on.
Step 6: Use foreign phrases Pepper your speech with foreign phrases like 'Quelle surprise!' ('What a surprise!); 'C’est parfait!' ('It’s perfect!'); and 'Bien sur!' ('Of course!').
Step 7: Fake a British accent Make yourself sound like part of the upper class by assuming a pseudo-British accent (think Madonna). Pronounce vitamins, 'vit-amins'; again, 'A-gain'; and can’t, 'cahnt.'
TIP: Sprinkle British words into your conversation, like, 'I'll ring you on your mobile,' and 'Pardon me, whilst I use the loo.'
Step 8: Name drop Drop the names of famous people ('Bono is so tiny in person') and exotic locales ('For the best caviar, you really must go to the Caspian'). Notice you haven’t actually said you know Bono or have been to the Caspian.
TIP: Speak softly. This forces people to lean in close to catch what you’re saying, and gives the impression to outsiders that you’re so fascinating that no one dares miss a word.
Step 9: Go out strong Leave the party when you’ve just successfully told a joke or had a group mesmerized by one of your stories. Hint that you have another even more fabulous engagement to attend.
FACT: Jay Leno was the top choice of men asked which celebrity they’d like to invite to a party.