People on Quora were asked: "What's classy if you’re rich, but trashy if you're poor?" These are some of the most insightful answers.
NOTE: The views expressed in this article are not the views of Gateway Media, Knowable, or it's affiliate companies. The people volunteering answers are giving examples of inequality between socioeconomic situations and are not trying to uphold a dichotomy between "poor" and "rich", nor are they passing judgment on those whose situations may mirror the below examples.
1. Doing any job, even the ones which are considered to be socially degrading
Now, now hear me out first before you ignore and move on.
Consider yourself to be a millionaire or a billionaire. You have all the riches in the world or at least you have the wealth to live a decent life. Now, one day you want to quit everything and try something new in life. A new career. Try different job(s). Try out a new life. Why?? Because you want to gain new experience and knowledge in something which you have never tried before. Before, you were a CEO but you quit, not fired. You just chose a different path because you got bored of your previous life and wanted to experience something new. You take up a job of a cleaner/janitor and spend a life in the slums. You do that for a year or so, just to see how it feels to be living like a poor. Then after a year you come back to your old lifestyle and now you have new stories to tell and new memories to cherish. Friends and relatives raise a toast every time you mention your new yet different experience. “Cheerio”!
But now, imagine a person who is poor in general and does the job of a cleaner and live in the slums. Even though many people might not judge or call it trashy but he/she will be regarded as a person who couldn’t achieve anything significant in life (monetary/wealth wise).
2. Eating animals—particularly their offal, or internal organs
Whilst this may seem rather unappetizing in general, offal is considered a gourmet delicacy in much of fine dining—such as ‘pajata’ (veal intestines), Italian ‘cibreo’ (chicken giblets), ‘ankimo’ (monkfish liver), and most famously, ‘foie gras’ (duck liver).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, consuming offal in poorer populations has commonly been deemed necessary, and thus trashy—where you can’t waste any of the animal.
Even though much of this is now eaten out of culture and tradition, dishes like chitterlings (pork intestines), haggis (sheep lungs, intestines, etc.) and rocky mountain oysters (bull testicles) won’t be considered classy any time soon.
3. It's all about the optics
Practically everything can be seen as classy if you're rich because you have the means to do otherwise but choose to act a certain way out of enjoyment and not desperation.
If Bruce Wayne were poor, he’d be locked up instead of an eccentric billionaire and the Batman we all know and love.
If you did anything that seemed like you were doing it out of fear or ignorance, it would be seen as cheap/inconsiderate/ignorant vs. expressive and statement-making. You would still seem trashy despite having a hefty salary/financial safety net. However, if you're choosing to live minimally in a way that makes a statement about your personal preferences and political stances, that shows the intrinsically motivated actions instead of the desperation that comes from a fear of external circumstances.
4. Big jewelry
Wearing really big pieces of jewelry as a woman (like a ten-carat diamond ring, a huge statement necklace, etc.) either means you are quite wealthy, or you are lower-class, “trashy”, and “gaudy” (or you are a teenager).
Where I come from, big earrings and pendants are almost entirely for teenage girls and all upper-middle-class women wear tiny minimalist pieces.
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