Pulitzer Committee To The White Courtesy Phone; Pulitzer Committee, White Courtesy Phone

Shelby Hodge has taken pity on the average Joe. The Houston Chronicle gossip columnist has come up with a "guide for social climbers" to teach the paper's readers how to make it to the "upper rungs of the ladder."

What does it take to enter "café society" and "rub shoulders with the crème-de-la-crème" of Houston?

According to Hodge, really just one thing: money. Money for a "stable of autos," money for a "mega house," money for a "swell vacation home" (Galveston not included) and -- but of course -- money, specifically $186,000, for a Hermes Birkin bag with diamonds and things on it.

Other tips for the aspiring "social rock star": Attend arts events whether or not you're a "culture vulture," because that's where the "tippy top of Houston society" is. Groom connections including fashion designers, personal sales associates and a beauty team ("When you need a Botox fix or a quick roots touch-up, you can't wait for the appointment desk"). Hire your own publicist to "stalk party photographers" for you. And oh yeah, be attractive. Maintain a "svelte, youthful appearance."

This is service journalism at its finest, Houston. But at least one reader didn't seem to appreciate Hodge's useful tips. "This has to be the stupidest thing I've ever read," RyanH commented. "I'm not sure if this is an advertising piece for all the stuff listed throughout this article or if you are actually serious... I kept waiting for the 'just kidding' hook at the end."

Harsh, RyanH, harsh. What are you, like, affected by the recession or something?

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