SOPHIA MONEY- COUTTS MOD­ERN MAN­NERS Dig gold? I’d rather plant turnips

‘Fin­ish­ing school’ for bag­ging a bil­lion­aire is ris­i­ble and shal­low, but there’s a kind of shame­less hon­esty about it

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Front Page -

I’ve be­come ob­sessed with a Swedish woman called Anna Bey. (I’m not get­ting out much in York­shire.) She’s the blonde one with thick lips who made head­lines re­cently be­cause she’s launched a busi­ness called the School of Af­flu­ence.

You won’t find this estab­lish­ment in The Good Schools Guide be­cause it’s an “on­line fin­ish­ing school” that prom­ises to teach women “how to en­ter high so­ci­ety”. Anna has come up with a seven-step pro­gramme for those who want to “fine-tune their el­e­gance, so­cial grace and en­ter the elite com­mu­nity”. Some of the lan­guage on Anna’s web­site sounds sus­pi­ciously like it’s been put through Google Trans­late, but I’m not go­ing to bash her for this, since my Swedish is rub­bish.

And any­way, Anna is more wor­ried about your nails than your vo­cab­u­lary. As part of her cru­sade to help strug­gling women find their bil­lion­aire and live hap­pily ever af­ter, she’s posted a video on­line that re­veals six things women do that turn rich men off. I have watched this 14-minute video, and I have to say, if Anna’s new busi­ness doesn’t work out, then she may well have a fu­ture in stand-up com­edy.

First up, wear nail var­nish. Ei­ther pink or beige, says Anna, but if you’re try­ing to bag a bil­lion­aire then the car­di­nal sin is to go out with “naked nails”. I in­spected my nails while watch­ing the video and they were more “turnip farmer” than “bil­lion­aire girl­friend”, so I car­ried on watch­ing Anna’s tips with in­ter­est. These in­cluded not be­ing on your phone the whole time, not wear­ing too much make-up and not wear­ing “slutty out­fits in pub­lic”. (Note the “in pub­lic” here. At home in his 74-bed­room house, you can pre­sum­ably tot­ter about dressed like a French maid.)

Then there was “Don’t talk nasty,” be­cause Anna says rich men don’t like rough lan­guage. And fi­nally, for those con­fused about whether they’re on a date with a rich man or tap­ping him up for a monthly £4.99 di­rect debit to Save the Chil­dren, “Don’t ask for money or ma­te­rial things.”

So there we have it. Laugh­able, pa­thetic, shal­low. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Anna’s not hav­ing an easy time in the com­ments sec­tion un­der­neath her video. I es­pe­cially liked the op­ti­mistic Aus­tralian reader who wrote that she was go­ing to “await the book” by Meghan Markle for the low-down on how to bag a bil­lion­aire since she’s “ac­tu­ally done it”.

And yet, lu­di­crous though it may seem, a tiny bit of me thinks, good on her. To most peo­ple, Anna’s new ven­ture seems grotesque and out­dated. She has a touch of the Mrs Ben­nets about her: “Five thou­sand a year!” But on the other hand, she’s be­ing hon­est.

At a re­cent talk about my book, a woman came up to me af­ter­wards and said she par­tic­u­larly liked the re­la­tion­ship be­tween two mi­nor char­ac­ters. They are a com­pli­cated cou­ple – he’s into dress­ing up and goes to fetish par­ties with­out his girl­friend, she knows that but is pri­ori­tis­ing get­ting mar­ried to him as a sta­tus sym­bol over ev­ery­thing else. But there was more hon­esty be­tween them, said this woman at the talk, than many other re­la­tion­ships. They talked about it. They knew what the other wanted.

You could say the same about Anna. We may in­stinc­tively re­coil at her shame­less­ness, but at least she’s not ly­ing. If she and her fol­low­ers re­ally want to date leath­ery bil­lion­aires whose main pre­oc­cu­pa­tion is the colour of their girl­friends’ nails, well, best of luck.


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