1. Wear Ralph Lauren polos.
The first Ralph Lauren polo I ever bought was the first time I ever spent more than 40 dollars on a shirt. I used to have a bunch of Express polos that I bought on sale but they kept falling apart after about a year, so I decided to go upmarket for my next set of polos. I looked at the ridiculous price tag in the store and thought, “Well, at least people will think I’m rich.”
2. Mention the Wall Street Journal in casual conversation.
It wasn’t good enough to say “I read somewhere that blah blah blah”, I had to say “I read in the Wall Street Journal that blah blah blah”. People my age aren’t supposed to read the WSJ so I thought name dropping such a paper would give the impression that I was both intelligent and mature.
3. Wear my employee badge after work hours.
I work at a fairly well-known company based in Atlanta and I used to keep my ID badge on my belt so when I went to the bar afterwards, people would know at a glance that I was gainfully employed there. I also made sure to turn it back whenever the obverse got flipped over, just to make sure people could see the corporate logo at all times.
4. Talk about my credit card strategy for maximizing cash back points.
Whenever the check came around, I’d whip out my wallet, take out the credit cards and say, “Dude, this quarter is 5% back on restaurants on my Chase Visa. But once the month ends, it reverts back to 1% for restaurants, so then I use my Fidelity Amex for a flat 2% back. If the place doesn’t take Amex, I go to my Fidelity Visa for a flat 1.5% back. I also get 3% back on groceries with my Amex Blue Cash, which you should totally get, by the way.”
5. Brag about the manual transmission in my car.
“Yeah, man. My friend got me into it in college and I just never looked back. Driving is just so much more engaging and visceral when you’ve got that direct connection to the transmission, you know? There’s a bit of a learning curve, but now I refuse to own a car that only has two pedals.”
6. Wear a watch.
Watches are simply male jewelry. Anything it can do, a phone can do better. The only reason to have a watch on the wrist is to tell other people “look at me, I’ve got enough discretionary income to blow it on completely frivolous things!” At this point, it’s a shameless attempt at status peddling, but I still do it both out of habit and the fact that I occasionally get compliments on my cheap Seiko. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way, I guess.
7. Talk about the financials whenever the conversation turns towards sports.
These days, being a sports fan is more than knowing the names and numbers of the guys on your team. It’s about knowing their cap holds and contract lengths. You’ve got instant sports cred once you begin sentences with “the new collective bargaining agreement stipulates.” Other terms you should slip in are “championship window”, “revenue sharing”, “small market vs big market”, and “non-guaranteed contract.” You’re not a true fan until you can fill in for the team’s front office in a pinch.