This week, just like Kim Kardashian, I took my “closest inner circle” (the kids and the dog) to a surprise getaway. Kim jetted 40 of her friends and family to a private island to swim with mermaids (or something) and I shoved my household into the car and drove us for an hour to a hotel in Enfield.
Enfield is not known for its tourist attractions, but there happens to be a nice hotel in the woods nearby. I am a Khorsandi, not a Kardashian, so there was no swimming with whales or watching movies on the beach for my lot. It was a pottery class and stomping about in the woods, frantically shouting the dog’s name. I wasn’t on a secluded beach like Kim and co but after a while, the constant hum of the motorway sounded like the sea.
I made a conscious decision not to post pictures on social media or even on private WhatsApp groups. For a long time, while social media was still a novelty, I was obsessed with documenting precious family moments and posting them. A few years ago, on a trip to Rome, I gazed up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and quickly took a picture, ignoring the signs dotted around the place telling me not to. My partner at the time asked crossly, “You’re constructing a tweet, aren’t you?” I was. I was hideously addicted to posting about things I was doing, rather than just doing them. Kim Kardashian, though, has displayed her life in public and it’s made her massively wealthy.
Anyway, I’m not sure I actually have 40 friends and family to whisk away – even if I was a multimillionaire. I’d have to invite George and Amal Clooney to bulk up the numbers.
Kim preempted criticism for mixing households and wrote, “After two weeks of multiple health screens and asking everyone to quarantine, I surprised my closest inner circle with a trip to a private island where we could pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.”
Of course, social media went to town taking the mickey out of her. Criticism of her “tone-deafness” came in avalanches. Kardashian said she was “humbled”, seemingly by her own lifestyle.
The criticism is pointless. Kardashian already knows everything that is being hurled at her. Of course she knows that “normal” for normal people isn’t private islands and swimming with whales. She knows there’s a pandemic and that people have died, that babies have not yet been held by grandparents and that livelihoods have been ruined. But wealth and a pretty face and bottom are her brand and, being a businesswoman in these troubled times, she was reminding us all of it. Organising this trip, taking the photos, posting the “humble” nonsense was just her doing her job. I doubt any of the criticism touched the sides. Her business decision paid off. It got everyone to talk about her, even me, here, right now.
I’m sure that many very wealthy people are doing exactly what Kim did. The difference with Kardashian’s line of work, or brand of celebrity, is that she needs us to see her do it and talk about it.
I like to think that she has another “real” break with loved ones, where she stays in her pajamas all day, has farting contests with her sisters and scoops Philadelphia cheese out of the tub with a Jacob’s cracker on a bed for lunch. Nothing ruins precious moments more than some numpty whipping out their camera to splash it on their socials.
I’ve been to parties and on TV shows where the good times have to be paused as people scramble about to take the perfect shot of you all having fun. You have to look your best, so there is grooming to be done and people leaping about you with make-up brushes and tit-tape. Frankly, it’s a buzz kill. Although the shots look great on social media and give the illusion of a great time had by all, what actually happened was a series of unfinished sentences, insincere smiles and the depressing realisation that this is no longer “part of the job”, it is the job itself and the only reason any of you are doing it is for the money. Surely there comes a point when you have enough money, though, and don’t have to get poor Kanye West synchronised swimming with a whale?
These days I don’t know what part of a holiday I would even want to snap for social media. The bit when I was cleaning mud the dog trampled into a hotel carpet? Or the murderous look my 13-year-old gave me when I made him go on a “Forest Adventure” with a bunch of six- and seven-years-olds? Or maybe a selfie of the moment I hissed so viciously at my squabbling children that I turned purple. Perhaps Kim has a nanny who hisses at her children for her. And perhaps we should stop pretending that her posts on Twitter are anything but PR.