I can’t say that I’ve discredited myself or others for liking and displaying stuff, whether it’s cranberry stemware or nose rings. My reservation about stuff derives from another source. I shall forever recall with a degree of trepidation my late father’s cautionary quip that, “You can’t have money and things!” The deeper but unexpressed notion that pervaded was that, “If you’ve got it, you don’t talk about it!” The one is purely economic; the other is practically a religion. Either way they aren’t what I’d call a green light to flightiness.
Contrary to what the adages appear to suggest the conflict lies not between truth and dishonesty (which for me would only be relevant if encumbrance were the issue) but between poise and exhibition (which borders once again on Puritan rhetoric). If one has reservation about the ideal behaviour it helps to recall that broadly speaking, “No one’s listening; no one cares!” That is, there is no need to extend the film of selfish absorption with one’s stuff by mistakenly presuming the world actually cares. They don’t. Nor should they. They have no more time for reverie in your particular ambitions than you do in there’s! At best you’re a fleeting image, an ephemeral blur; perhaps foundation for a momentary guffaw. If you prefer a pragmatic resolution you might consider the option, “It is the privilege of the masses to mock their betters!” This may sound more of arrogance than appeasement. But the alternative of a lifetime dedicated to public approbation is assuredly guaranteed to fail.
There is another possibility; namely, you just might want to put on the dog whatever the consequences. It’s not only the domain of the poor to show off their stuff when they have it. Both the rich and the poor similarly share on occasion the violation of exhibition. It is a condition humaine not a class difference. Whatever you may say, wealth (especially for the current demographic of successors) and its preservation are a combination of luck and fortuity. The excess may not be the product that offends the senses. Artistic decision regarding the type and compass of one’s personal vulgarity – whether it is jewellery, clothing, make-up, hair, automobiles, real estate or art – is best treated like Mediterranean food. It’s all about presentation! The magic potion is balance and the understanding that more is less. Essentially, you don’t have to wear it all at once!
The practice of this particular virtue is admittedly uncommon. Likewise the performance of it is “balanced” shall we say. But when you see beauty in its intended state of perfection it is an ineffable experience. I for example have a passion for certain plastics! Their combination of durability, weight, colour and design are inexpressibly satisfying.