modern woman
Women of Substance

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Feigning Culture

The modern lady is a busy gal, what with all the mundane necessities of life, like thinking of reasons to skip spin class, chatting to guys on Tinder that you have no intention of meeting up with, deciding which take away to get and ordering custom accessories off Etsy for your cat. There is hardly any time left for the stuff we feel that we SHOULD be doing… but really can’t be bothered with.

Well, don’t stress, here is my guide on how to pretend to be cultured, without actually having to interrupt your hectic Netflix schedule. You can thank me later.

The Modern Woman’s Guide to Feigning Culture

Classic Novels

Back in the day, the easy solution to reading a classic novel was to just watch the movie of said literary masterpiece. But even watching the movie can be time-consuming and bore you to tears. Do you really want to be watching people ponce around in frilly ye olden day clothes, talking in bad British accents (because no matter where it is set, they always seem to have British accents) in a vernacular that is difficult to understand, especially when most of these movies seem to be lacking in all the most awesome things that modern cinema brings to our lives like raunchy sex scenes, ridiculous car chases and sassy talking animals? My solution to all this is Wikipedia – reading the Plot Summaries in Wikipedia takes all of five minutes and tells you everything you really need to know. At this rate, you could even commit to one classic novel a fortnight! That’s 26 books a year. Your friends will be blown away by your reading prowess.


You don’t need to go to culinary school or start eating at très fancy restaurants to fool people into thinking you are cultured about food. You just need to upgrade your vocab. By finding ingenious new ways of describing your food, anything can sound gourmet. For example, sliced sautéed new season potatoes, gently seasoned and accompanied with a tomato reduction (chips and tomato sauce) or freshly sliced loaf, lightly grilled and served smothered in roasted nut spread (peanut butter on toast).


It is an age old question – if you don’t get a selfie in front of a famous painting, then did you even see it? However, museums and galleries are now catching on how irritating and can be to have everyone blocking up the main exhibit while they try to capture the perfect angle (of themselves, not of the painting, duh), and many places are banning photography altogether. This is delightful news! Now you just have to find what galleries have banned pics, and then you can tell everyone you went there. ‘OMG I loved the new Monet exhibition, so bummed I couldn’t take any pics to put on Insta. What, you were there too? I must have missed you, I was sooooo engrossed in the artworks…’


I am known for being a person who has no sense of shame. I am not afraid to dance a little jig every time the Biebs comes on the radio, and am not at all embarrassed that I know the lyrics to many One Direction tunes. Yet I am aware that such proclivities are considered vastly uncultured. Genius that I am, I have found a way around this: whenever you are caught listening to some awesome pop jams, insist that you are only listening to it ironically. ‘Obviously, I normally listen to Beethoven’s Symphony number 9 when I’m driving as it soothes me, but an ironic mood overcame me and I put on Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off in jest.’


In this day and age, it is not enough to just travel to an exotic locale; we are expected to immerse ourselves in the local culture once we get there. Gone are the days we could just go on holidays and kick our heels up by the pool with a cocktail or two (or seven, who’s counting?!). Now we are supposed to tour the historic architecture, ingest the local delicacy (deep fried crickets anyone? Or how about some 1000 year eggs? Jellied moose nose is a real thing too), go to museums, be all culturally sensitive and keep alcohol-fuelled shenanigans to a minimum. Yawn. My solution to this is to travel exclusively to drinking based festivals – think of St Patrick’s Day or Oktoberfest. That way I can combine my two favorite things – getting black out drunk and pretending to be cultured (I also really like giant pretzels).

Fake it till you make it!

As with all things in life, the best advice I can give (besides have another wine) is fake it till you make it. The ability to bluff is widely undervalued and can get you through many sticky situations in life, and in this case can be used to elevate yourself in the eyes of your culture vulture friends (or frenemies, since your real friends know that you would never leave the comfort of your couch in order to go look at some tarted up canvas). In all seriousness, how many people are actually going to have the stones to call you out when you say you went to the latest Tchaikovsky ballet, even if they know you are the kind of person who is more likely to immerse yourself in K for Kardashian Kulture? So go ahead, let everyone know how much you loved visiting the Picasso gallery in Barcelona, who knows if you tell enough people you might even start to believe it yourself.


Emma Betty is the Lead Contributor at where she writes about dating, love, and relationships. She has achieved such an enlightened state of being that she feels the need to give unsolicited life advice.

Womenlite thanks Emma Betty for writing such a wonderful article and helping the Modern Women to slay in each aspect of their life easily!