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
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.