Socialites: What Spa City girls really want to be when they grow up

By Dodie Fingerton

Published July 26th, 2015

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The future health of Saratoga's social scene is in safe hands as a new district-wide survey revealed that most elementary school girls want to be socialites when they grow up.

According to survey results, ‘Socialite’ was chosen the best job by 1,700 Spa City girls between the ages of seven and 13 — ahead of doctor, teacher, scientist and jockey.

“It's troubling,” said survey director Betty Cankerdung. “‘Socialite’ isn't even a career choice; it's a lifestyle that occurs as a result of being rich.”

Cankerdung believes the disproportionate amount of media attention paid to members of the city's high society may have skewed results.

“Mary-Lou Whitney and Michele Riggi get a lot of press. I think the girls see their lives — the limos, the charity events, the $6 million dollar mansions with the perfectly heated lawns and authentic English pubs — and think, 'hey, that looks like fun. I want to be a socialite too.'”

In light of the survey, Saratoga Springs School District Superintendent January Monday urged children to hedge their bets.

“To become a socialite you'd have to marry an uber-successful old bag you couldn't possibly be attracted to, or inherit a fat bankroll from a rich relative,” said Monday. “That's what's called going all in on an exotic futures bet. But I call it a sucker's bet.”

Though Monday insists she doesn't gamble, she went on to put the over-under at 1.5, suggesting players should “eat the chalk, lay the hook and parlay the under for a dime.”

But for 9-year-old Walnut Downsey, it isn't about playing the odds. It’s about preparation and commitment.

“I want to host a gala when I grow up. But my Dad's a bum, so my Mom says I'll have to marry into money.”

Ten-year-old Jessica Touchy agreed.

“Sacrifices will need to be made, no doubt, but I want a house with a Balinese wellness spa, 36 small breed dogs that I can call 'divas,' and a reality show. Is that too much to ask?”

The fifth grader was referring to Riggi, whom until recently had a development deal with E! for an unscripted reality show based on her life.

Tentatively titled “Palazzo Riggi,” the series was axed back in 2013 after network president Chip Notsom deemed it “far too obnoxious even for E! Network standards.”

Though it remains to be seen how many children actually become socialites when they grow up, one thing is clear: In terms of elitist, megalomaniacal training grounds, Saratoga's still “the place to be.”


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