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.”
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.
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.