Here’s an ode to WAGs (wives and girlfriends) everywhere. Recently I’ve made friends with the women Theo’s* friends are married to. They’re all OTT successful in addition to having married well. We went out for dinner yesterday, and it felt like a Goop post come to life.
It comes as no surprise that when you find yourself in a serious relationship you circle of friends gets an overhaul. All those toxic hangers on and acquaintances you used to socialise with because you had nothing better to do have fallen by the wayside and you’re required to make a whole new set of acquaintances so you have someone to talk to at group dinners, parties and weekends away to the country.
I understand that must sound abstract, but allow me to be most specific. Theo’s business partner’s wife invited me out to dinner with her and three of her girlfriends. I’ll preface this by saying that was very kind of her. She did not have to include me, but did. It was at a far from new, ever-cool vegan restaurant in Notting Hill. I’d only ever been there for brunch because you can’t really eat vegan unless ironically, amiright? Apparently I’m not.
All of the girls worked in investor relations, which to me sounds like the public relations of the finance industry. They are all incredibly successful and talk the talk that goes along with their respective careers. Also having married well, their meet-ups are an impressive exercise in keeping up with the Joneses. However, the only Jones the other three girls were trying to keep up with was Artemis*, the (third time) pregnant wife of the hostess’ managing director.
She was going on about how she was about to move home. She managed to upgrade from what I imagine is a gorgeous flat to a full-fledged house on perhaps the most sought-after street in the world. Let’s put it this way. Her neighbours include some of the most prestigious luxury fashion houses and galleries there are. Anyway, Artemis was not in investor relations. She looked to be a former model, had a few fitness-related pet projects and considering we were out for dinner on a school night, loads of help at home.
All of their nails looked to be done in the past few hours. Their hair was highlighted, low lighted and balayaged by the strand. Their handbags combined added up to what I would imagine to be a generous third year analyst salary. I felt out of my depth here.We talked nutritionists and detox retreats. Long weekends away and skiing in the alps. Each woman at this table was decked out in the Just In page on Net-A-Porter. I wore a Jack Wills hoodie and a pilling Kit & Ace turtle neck. It was a Tuesday!
When I came home to Theo to tell him all about my evening, he seemed to know how it would go. The younger girls were trying to keep up with Artemis. Artemis was nothing more than a gold-digger that married her way into the upper-most echelon of high society. But the whole night really made me reflect on my own social scene.
Last weekend I went to Frieze with a group of girlfriends. We go way back, as in teens back – at this point well over a decade ago. They’re lovely and I’ve enjoyed their company all this time – but I half didn’t expect them to shell out for a day at Frieze, which can run £40 per head for entrance to the main tent alone. I shouldn’t give them too much grief, as they did purchase the tickets willingly. But there’s always one member of the crew that gets stroppy about paying an obscene bar-tab or event cover price.
These new women I was dining with would not bat an eyelash at the price of entry. If they were to go to Frieze they would grab a VIP pass for all five days even if they only intended to go to one. Theo described it as having more money than sense. They’re all trying to keep up with one another and in an grand effort of one-up-manship, they’ll go to great lengths to show one another what they have, the size of their immaculate homes, their servants. When I chimed in with the fact that I’d never even met my cleaner, they stared at me blankly.
I’ve always thought I was on the superficial side with my “it” micro-handbags and designer sneakers. Oftentimes my friends would consult with me before making a big purchase. But next to these worldly London wives I felt downright dowdy. Theo reaffirmed my feelings when I got home by saying I was a country bumpkin but that’s what he loved about me. So who cares what anyone else thinks. Right? No, that wasn’t meant to be rhetorical.
*Names have been changed for privacy