Social Question

Dog's avatar

What are modern symbols of opulence, decadence and frivolous displays?

Asked by Dog (24708points) January 26th, 2011 from iPhone

I am looking for modern youth and young adult lifestyle.

Things like tiny designer clothed purebred dogs in purses.
(if you have a purse dog I am not making a judgement on you. I am seeking an overall composite)

In this era with so many hard hit by the economy what images do you see that have a “Let them eat cake” mentality?

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32 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

short skirts, tattoos, rock&roll

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@ragingloli Isn’t that a song?

I want to say designer clothes and accessories, but the truth is I have no idea how to tell the difference between a $4K clutch and a $20 knockoff of that same clutch. So I’ll refrain from putting my foot in my mouth.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Tiny laptops. I see very few business people with tiny, portable laptops but I do see plenty of college kids and even some high school kids with these laptops.

Shoes. Many younger people are wearing ridiculously expensive shoes though I think shoes have always been a status symbol of sorts.

Eating out. It seems only the poor or the very practical eat most meals at home whereas a large number of college kids eat a lot of take-out or simply go to restaurants to eat rather than making their own meals.

Along the same thread as above, not doing one’s own laundry.

augustlan's avatar

SUVs in a city setting.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@KatawaGrey Why does that signify to you opulence?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@KatawaGrey Sorry, but my tiny laptop is definitely not a symbol of opulence. It barely does anything, and cost me less than $200. Seriously, I can’t load more than one video at once, and sometimes even that doesn’t work right.

tinyfaery's avatar

I think it’s unfair to say these people have a “let them eat cake” attitude. Some people still have money to spend (like me) and they are keeping the economy going by spending that money. I eat out a lot because I don’t cook and my wife is often too tired to cook. Plus, where I live $100 shoes are reasonably priced. You have to consider location and setting when judging what is and what isn’t opulent.

I’ve always thought that women who do not work outside the home, but still have a nanny and maid live frivolously. What the hell do they do, anyway?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@KatawaGrey A year ago, I would have agreed with you on the eating out for college students. I have since met 2 different students unrelated to each other who did not know how to make toast or cook rice, much less anything else. Literally. Since then, I’ve reconsidered the position.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@papayalily Of course, the inability to cook can itself be considered a sign of opulence, if perhaps not an intentional one. Or, you know, that they’re basically useless. :P

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@incendiary_dan In this case, I think it’s more a sign of growing up in poverty with really crappy parents. They kinda are useless, except for the laughs, and then they’re amazing

KhiaKarma's avatar

Hummers, ridiculously expensive restaurants, truffles, expensive wine, fake tanning, plastic surgery

incendiary_dan's avatar

@papayalily Strange, every single person I know who grew up poor knows how to cook because of that. My experience with adults (including college kids in this) who can’t cook is that they’re mostly spoiled middle class kids from the ‘burbs who never have to do anything for themselves. Different experiences, I guess.

funkdaddy's avatar

bling that moves

Multiple televisions in your car, some out the back so only the people driving behind you can see them.

“Bottle service” anywhere.

Commenting that’s it’s easier to get in the spa since the recession. Booo.

Can I say tiny miniature giraffes even though it’s in the general section?

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@incendiary_dan I thought so too, but actually none of my friends that grew up poor knows how to cook well. A few know how to cook passably, but it’s not really yummy (or particularly healthy). These two, however, well, one grew up with alcoholic parents, the other grew up in a gang (with parents occasionally there). It’s actually the friends who grew up upper-middle class who know how to cook the best, utilizing ingredients to make tasty and cheap dishes.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Driving a Porsche or a Beemer to high school.

Daddy buying you a nose job for your sweet 16.

Teenage girls wearing diamond necklaces and teenage boys wearing Rolex watches.

Paying a nanny to raise your kids for you, while you go play golf or tennis in an outfit that cost more than my monthly rent.

Diamond teeth.

DominicX's avatar


In general, the smaller the laptop, the less power and the less price (except for maybe the Sony VAIO Z). If you’re referring to netbooks (10-inch or 11-inch laptops), they tend to be very cheap. My friend bought one for college because it was all he could afford. Netbooks are good for taking notes and so a lot of college students do have them.

Here’s one that oughta shake things up: Macs / Apple products

Expensive, showy status symbols they are. :) (Yes, I have an iPhone and a MacBook, but that might be soon to change, though not for those reasons…) ;)

But as someone who drives an Audi and wears Lacoste, I should probably just have steered clear of this question…

incendiary_dan's avatar

@papayalily Curiouser and curiouser…

Of course, can’t they spend a bit of time to learn to cook, if they’re still fairly poor? I’m having trouble understanding this, but that might just be because I always cook in my house and have done a lot of cooking since I was sixteen.

Dog's avatar

Excellent answers so far- I also want to remind everyone that I am looking for a composite- meaning if you have a tiny computer, laundry service or eat out it is not saying you are an elitist or that you are being judged. I am not painting you. I am painting an attitude that I have yet to see in anyone here on Fluther.

For clarification I will be using a combination of several things to (literally) paint a picture. I need several things communicate clearly the contrast and divide between working class with need they cannot meet (but may have a tiny computer) and those who are oblivious to any need and never know want.

Please lets not make this personal at all.

*** I am also asking it be moved to Social but with the caveat that if people start getting compative it be modded as if in general. ***

Thanks guys I am getting some really really awesome ideas!

Kardamom's avatar

People that go to Starbucks everyday

Highschool and college students with iphones (where do they get the money to buy them and then pay for the charges?)

Boys with big giant expensive athletic shoes that are not on the school’s athletic teams

Kids being given new cars on their 16th birthday (even if they have a job, it isn’t one that affords gas, car insurance and maintenance)

College students buying booze and going to bars a lot (they don’t have jobs, how are they paying for all of the booze?)

Highschool students and younger saying they own such and such a movie (who’s paying for all of these DVD’s?)

Boob jobs for young women

Fancy streaked hair dye jobs and the latest current haircuts and French manicures for young women

Pimped out cars being driven by heavily tatooed young men with the look of “da hood” and a big loud bass heavy sound system sitting in the back seat (it’s not likely that most of these Gangsta boys have jobs that would pay well enough to afford all of this)

gondwanalon's avatar

Metal pins all over the face, mouth and select areas of the body.

Wearing pants with the crotch down to the knees.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I would like to clarify that when I said those teeny little laptops, I meant in addition to regular laptops. I would also like to point out that I was talking about people my age early 20’s who do not make enough money to afford these things, though anybody who has more than they can afford is living opulently, in my opinion.

@psychocandy: If shoes cost 100 dollars where you live, then that’s not expensive but even in that area, wouldn’t you say that paying 500 dollars for a pair of shoes or, 5 times that of the average cost of shoes, which would be closer to 200 dollars for me is extreme? As for eating meals out, once again, I was speaking mostly of college-age kids.

Laundry services: I’m not talking about getting your suits dry-cleaned for your job, I mean people who would rather spend a large amount of money to send their laundry out rather than using a laundromat if they don’t have washing machines or using machines supplied by their living facility. This is assuming that someone with a washer and dryer wouldn’t send their laundry out.

DominicX's avatar


Where do they get the money to buy them and then pay for the charges?

My parents?

YARNLADY's avatar

A hamburger for 5K at the Mandalay in Las Vegas
Flying to San Francisco or Los Angles for an afternoon of shopping.
Thousand Dollar designer clothes for babies.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@gondwanalon I’m not seeing how those are symbols of decadence – you’re going to have to walk me through that one.

@incendiary_dan I think it’s a few things. For starters, they don’t really know how to learn. They also don’t have the real push – tv dinners and other premade foods are so readily available they don’t need to. Plus, it can be more expensive to buy fresh produce and meats and cheeses and starches (especially if you live on your own) and then see much of that go to waste before you get to it than to simply live off of Ramen, Doritos, and Lean Cuisine.

Dog's avatar

Ecxellellent points.

So I have to ask. 50 years ago what would have been symbols of decadent opulence?

downtide's avatar

@KatawaGrey I got one of those tiny laptops because it was cheap. And because it’s smaller to pack when I travel.

The first thing that comes to my mind about decadence is a cocaine habit.

augustlan's avatar

50 years ago… maybe a portly guy in a suit, smoking a cigar?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Dog When I was a teenager (50 years ago) the signs were trips to Paris, wearing lots of real jewels in necklace and earrings, driving a custom made European car, and living in Beverly Hills with a vacation home in Vail or Squaw Valley

ucme's avatar

Here in England Town that’ll be a premier league footballer draped in bling parading his chav girlfriend around the seedy nightclubs that they inevitably frequent.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Fifty years ago, I would imagine that a household with multiple TV’s or multiple phones might have been on the side of decadence. Okay, people, let me have it.

gondwanalon's avatar

@papayalily Yes I suppose you are right. Bizarre to the level of campyness would best describe the symbols that I mentioned.

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