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Now You Know . . . It Has Come to This
Every once in a while, you see something in the paper that makes you say "Wow. I knew things were bad but I didn’t know it had come to this."
Case in point: Personal curators. I read about them in The New York Times not long ago.
"Need someone to curate your life?" wrote Times reporter Deborah Schoeneman. "Need a personal concierge whose expertise is not picking up your dry cleaning, but helping chose your wardrobe, your tastes, your friends? Ms. (Allison) Storr calls herself a personal manager, but her duties go far beyond that. Her clients, all of them men, pay monthly fees of $4,000 to $10,000 to have her be their personal decider in nearly all things lifestyle-related."
All together now: "Wow. I knew things were bad but I didn’t know it had come to this."
Curator is Latin for "guardian" or "overseer," and in common, modern usage has come to mean someone responsible for the collection of a museum, gallery or library. I can find no references for curator as "someone who does the things you ought to be doing for yourself, for a whopping fee."
Let’s look again at what Allison The Curator does for her $4,000 to $10,000 a month, shall we?
She helps choose your wardrobe. OK, I can actually see that making some sense. I don’t know if it makes multiple-thousands-of-dollars a month sense, but there are an awful lot of guys out there - mostly but not exclusively young ones -- who don’t seem to know much about wardrobe other than dark-suit-blue-shirt for work, hoodie-and-jeans for everything else. If Allison Storr or someone like her can teach them that there’s more to a wardrobe than one set of school clothes and one set of play clothes, that’s a good thing.
She helps choose your tastes. OK, once again I can see this being of some use, although I would prefer it to be along expanding your tastes rather than "elevating" them. The world has enough snobs already. What we really need are more people who are just as comfortable going to the Opry as the opera, and vice versa. Something tells me Allison is not helping her clients to get Opry tickets.
She helps choose your friends. All right, hold it. Hit the brakes. Stoppez-vous the bus. There’s something just creepy about paying someone to introduce you to your new friends. It’s like um well, like an ancient and not-particularly-honorable profession.
The excuse offered by the clients is they’re simply too busy to attend to that sort of thing, so they have Leslie do it for them. Oh, please. Sounds to me like some people need big doses of Get Over Yourself. Why not cut out the middleperson and just hire people to act like your friends instead? It would probably work out about as well.
She becomes the personal decider in all things lifestyle-related. And there you find the explanation, and the problem. It’s true that you can buy a lifestyle, but is that what you’re doing when you hire someone to round up some potential friends? That sounds more like trying to buy a life, as if it were a cheeseburger or something. And what holds true for cheeseburgers holds true here:
The ones you buy are seldom as good as the ones you make yourself.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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