Flying from Ft. Lauderdale to DC last night, I was seated next to a couple I can only refer to as "typical Washingtonians." They were clad in those studied casual clothes--currently stylish in a preppy way. The woman's handbag had to have run at least $500, and they were both sucking water out of those nipple bottles that disturb me a great deal. The woman was reading Money magazine (and Body and Shape) and the man was reading Men's Health. I was reading a book on oral history research practices and thinking about how Washington and Wall Street are the only two places on earth where they can even sell copies of Money magazine to women (okay, you can slam me for that comment, but it does seem true to me). In LA, after all, the distinction between money and shape/body is obscure at best.
So yes, they were reading their magazines. Woman began doing the word search on the children's puzzle page of the airline magazine. Man was correcting her work and helping her over her shoulder. "Doesn't that look like an 'o' to you?" I moved on to the NYT crossword puzzle and tried not to feel bitter about the distribution of wealth.
Woman began menu planning, showing Man recipes for low-fat salads (sigh) running in side-bars to the Cabo vacation ads, as they both moved from nipple water to bloody marys with gin.
A snippet of conversation:
Woman: We definitely need to tip the dog sitter since she came through at the last minute.
Woman: And I think we should think about the whole dog thing again.
Woman: I mean, we said we weren't going to let having a dog get in the way of living our lives.
Man: But you want children.
Woman: That's an entirely different matter.
This was the point that I realized people in LA are really no more shallow than people in DC. They are just differently shallow. And they own it better.