What’s a Yuppie?

I’ve gotten a couple of emails and comments from people who are upset by my use of the term “Yuppie.” So I’ve decided to explain what I mean when I employ that word. If you’re easily offended or have a shaky self image I suggest you skip this post.

Still here? Ok.

Let’s start with a definition. I searched around the web. This one from Nationmaster.com I like best.

Yuppie,” short for “Young Urban Professional,” describes a demographic of people generally between their late twenties and early thirties. Yuppies tend to hold jobs in the professional sector, with incomes that place them in the upper-middle economic class.

The term “Yuppie” emerged in the 1980s as an echo of the earlier “hippies” and “yippies” who had rejected the materialistically-oriented values of the business community. Syndicated newspaper columnist Bob Greene is generally credited having coined the term “Yuppie” in one of his columns in the early 1980s.

Events and trends The 1980s marked an abrupt shift towards more conservative lifestyles after the momentous cultural revolutions which took place in the 1960s and 1970s and the definition of the AIDS virus in 1981. …

The term is often used pejoratively, with an emphasis on the connotations of “yuppies” as selfish and superficial. ………………

That’s pretty good. Now here’s my definition – emphasis on pejorative.

Yuppie,” Originally meant “Young Upcoming Urban Professional.” Now denotes a group of people, irrespective of age, politics, or class, who demonstrate the following characteristics.

1. If they ever worked a day in their life – they forgot all about it.

2. More interested in the quality of their chardonnay than the quality of their public schools.

3. Pore over the Sharper Image catalog and others like it as if it’s devotional reading. (Full disclosure: the Sharper Image catalog is on top of my toilet tank.)

4. Anyone who stopped drinking Merlot after seeing “Sideways.”

5. Take from the community but never give back. Yuppies think paying taxes fulfills their obligations as citizens. Most commonly seen in gentrified neighborhoods.

6. Over schedule their children’s lives and treat the little tykes as accessories or barometers of their own self worth.

7. Think money is the answer to everything.

8. Spiritual Masturbators. Pursue spirituality disconnected from any social responsibility. (Spiritual navel gazing while people are starving around you) They flock to gurus or new age con artists who recycle older traditions and tell them what they WANT to hear – not what they NEED to hear. If your spiritual guide, whatever his or her denomination, doesn’t say something every once in a while that pisses you off, – they’re only interested in your money!

9. Name branders. It has to be Grey Goose or Stella Artois. Now, I like that stuff too. But if all they have is Bud I can deal.

10. Treat people as if they’re disposable items. (Waiters, sex partners, colleagues, coat check girls, etc.)

11. Are only nice to people when they want something.

12. Never say “please” or “thank you.”

13. RUDE!

14. They always want the “big” wine glasses. Even for the cheap stuff. (Only waiters will understand that one.)

15. Expect the best table on Saturday night without a reservation.

16. Talk incessantly about money, what they have, and what they want.

17. Will sue, or threaten litigation, at the drop of a hat.

18. Know their stock portfolio better than their second wife or husband.

19. Their house is TOO clean.

20. Buy trendy books they never read.

21. Think NYC is the center of the known universe. It isn’t.

22. Assume anyone who didn’t finish college is stupid. (Hey, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard!)

23. Think nice people are suckers.

24. Claim to be honest but cheat on their spouses, taxes, exams, and cynically take credit for other people’s ideas.

25. Know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Some caveats:

1. Just because a person’s rich or upwardly mobile doesn’t mean they’re a Yuppie. There are plenty of wealthy people who are kind, polite, generous, and take interest in other people and their community.

2. Ambition, competitiveness, and invention are good things so long as long as they are not pursued solely for their own sake.

3. We all, myself included, have indulged in the some of the behaviors and actions described above. Some of us are recovering Yuppies.

4. You don’t have to be rich to be a Yuppie. But it helps.

5. Yuppies can change and often do. Time is a brutal teacher.

So, in short I define a yuppie as a: rude, brand name dropping, self centered, impatient, spiritually stunted, obsessive catalog reading, materialistic, emotional dwarf who doesn’t care an iota how other people feel or think.

I hope that clear things up.

But if you read this and it pissed you off – too bad. I’m not here to blow sunshine off your ass.

Some people take the stuff they read in my blog WAY to personally.

22 thoughts on “What’s a Yuppie?”

  1. Saipan Chamoale says:

    You forgot to add that yuppies like to take their sweet ass time when ordering, refuse to order their entrees and appetizers at the same time, and accuse you of rushing them or moving too slow depending on how they feel that day.

  2. warcrygirl says:

    “4. Anyone who stopped drinking Merlot after seeing ‘Sideways’.”

    THANK YOU! What kind of a mindless boob do you have to be to let a fictional character in a movie dictate your likes and dislikes? I just bought a bottle the other day because I like Merlot. So there. 🙂

  3. Dr. Kayhan says:

    Do you dislike yuppies outside of a restaurant setting, too? Or is it only when they aren’t saying “please” and “thank you” while you’re waiting on them?


  4. Toria says:

    How about navel gazing idiots who would drive over you in their SUV’s? Got splashed by one the other day while on my bike. “You fu**” I said to myself as he drove on. One can only hope to wish ill on people that can’t be kind to waiters, buspeople, bikers, and children. May their child throw up on them LOL. That’ll teach them.

    As an aside I’ve got this little meme on my blog about motherhood. Have a read if you want.

  5. Doug & Dara says:

    “4. Anyone who stopped drinking Merlot after seeing ‘Sideways’.”

    I guess I’m not a Yuppie because I quite drinking Merlot way BEFORE the movie came out and laughed my ass off at that bit. Not to sound snobby, but it has gotten a bit commercial and I have to admit, my tastes have changed. Now I prefer my merlot to be blended with a cab or sangiovese (i.e. a super tuscan).

    BTW, been reading your blog for several weeks not and love it!

  6. Paige says:

    Much applause!!! As a side note, the bastards live in Mississippi, too.

  7. The Bubaker says:

    Heh! Great post Waiter, some real nuggets of wisdom in there that I feel like repeating on my blog. Especially that bit about navel gazing whilst others starve and that you aren’t always going to like what you hear from a true spiritual guide. I’m sure the rich dood wasn’t to impressed when Jesus said give up your cash man…

  8. Hoosierwriter says:

    Let’s just boil it down to “people with a stick up their ass” and leave it at that. Fun people aren’t yuppies. People who are respectful of others aren’t yuppies. Ok?

  9. woja says:

    Nice one.

    Only disagreement is that if all they’ve got is Bud I drink a fruit juice. I think I’d drink Bud if it was a choice between that and having red-hot needles rammed into my eyeballs, but it’s be a close thing.

  10. Marcheline says:

    As a ten year veteran of the table-waiting profession – fourteen, if you count being a flight attendant, I can concur with your entire list….

    except #21.

    NYC is, in fact, the center of the universe.


  11. loislane says:

    I don’t get the people who ask for “big” wine glasses… I don’t drink “the cheap stuff” but when I’m at a wine savvy restaurant they usually provide Bordeaux or Burgundy glasses depending on what I order. When I’m at a non-wino restaurant, I drinks what I gets.

  12. enygma says:

    I just think of the movie, “American Psycho.”

  13. pos7ed says:

    Ok that helps. I was wondering what the definition was.
    But Yuppie is such a 1990’s word. I can’t get over that. Someone needs to come up with a new word.

  14. Em says:

    Oh my god, I can’t deal with the people who demand the “big glasses” for house wine. Happens on a nightly basis at my restaurant.

  15. Kris says:

    The offended are the guilty. 🙂

    Plus I’d prefer a simple term like “yuppie” so I can get the gist of the customer you’re trying to describe without having to go through an extra paragraph. I’m lazy like that.

    Anyone who gets offended can stop reading. 🙂

  16. Amy says:

    Hmm thanks for the clarification! I had always thought Yuppies were former Hippies that totally betrayed everything they once stood for. I definately know the type you are describing though, hehe.

  17. Kat says:

    What do you think a citize a duty is? (honest question no sarcasm here) do you think (like my grandfather) all boys should be in the army for a little while and all women in the red cross, type of stuff or did you mean something less specific

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  19. policywonk says:

    re number 9. stella is such a trampy drink here in europe.

  20. Maui says:

    I can think of maybe 10 yuppies I see every flipping day. I count myself lucky, though- the world is full of jackasses.

  21. Jenny says:

    Oh boy, I am totally guilty of the big glass thing. I never ask for a bigger wine glass, but I do think wine is better in a nice glass. I’ll even drink 2 buck chuck from one – mmmmm!

  22. Nicolas says:

    Im a new reader to your blog.. love it! I’m actually a Lebanese living in Beirut, and yet I can totally relate to your ideas and experiences.
    In Lebanon, the yuppies are snobs who inherited their money and self-image of significance through legacies. Hell, the whole country is run by politicians succeeding their fathers’ places (corruptly I must add). Thinking of starting my own blog about living in Lebanon, a country whose nation tries so hard to be Westernized, a nation of smart and educated people whose decisions, actions, and drives are dumb as shit.
    I love number 25, the Oscar Wilde quote. Fits perfectly for so many people I know/know of.

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