How to Marry Up

Despite your slovenly wardrobe, uncouth demeanor and lack of charm, you feel that you're upper-class material. OK, fine. But how do you make the leap from reading the funnies to actually appearing on the social page? It will take hard work, conniving, patience and a lot of luck, but you might pull it off.

Be charming and fun. This is basic advice for anyone looking for a mate. Without these qualities you're really going to have a hard time of it.

Study the society page in your newspaper. It's essential that you're familiar with prominent families and local big shots. After a few weeks of investigations, you'll have a feel for the major players in the best circles. Focus on available prospects.

Upgrade your appearance. No matter how fabulous you already are (inside and out, of course) there's always room for improvement. Join a gym and lose the spare tire, get a new haircut and overhaul your wardrobe. See 28 Get a Drastic Makeover.

Enroll in finishing school to gain ease and familiarity with the finer points of social etiquette. Learn how to carry on witty and lively conversations, and if you lean toward bluntness, school yourself in the gentle art of diplomacy in all areas of your life.

Volunteer for a high-profile charity that attracts philanthropists. Any city is likely to have a publicly supported hospital, opera or symphony, or school. A fund-raising position will put you into direct contact with the well-heeled. If a conflict of interest arises, deal with it after that ring is on your finger.

Use your volunteer position to stay informed about major fundraisers, opening night at the opera or ballet, polo matches and museum dedications. Your work will give you credibility and help secure invitations to all the hot events. Find dates from among your fund-raising contacts by subtly dropping the hint that it's their duty to accompany you to an upcoming event. Avoid overplaying the guilt card or you'll have an unwilling escort.

Join a prestigious club. You have many choices depending on your interests. A country club is an obvious choice. Many yacht clubs have associate or social memberships for people who don't actually have a boat or lots of cash. See 428 Organize a Sailing Team.

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  • Marrying up will be successful in the long run only if you actually love your mate. Marrying just for money is likely to prove a disaster. See 287 Plan an Amicable Divorce.
  • You don't want to pick a mate just by reading the society page but you might as well see who's available. If nothing else, it will make the process interesting.
  • See 32 Plan Your Social Calendar.


  • When in doubt, keep your mouth shut.

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