An Introduction to The Bobo Handbook

by Ranim Elborai

You’re wondering what exactly a “Bobo” is, and what purpose a handbook for one might serve.

To put it simply,  ”Bobo” is a French term, a contraction of the two words “Bourgeois” and “Bohemian.” The Observer once identified them as France’s favourite hate figures: wealthy left-wing urbanites, both fashionable and environmentally conscious. Because the French seem to hate a lot of things, coming in as a favourite must mean they’re a fairly awful lot. (You can find the article here — Apparently the death knell sounded for the Bobos in 2008, but I’m pretty sure they’re still around.)

I dwell in an urban environment (I’ve relocated from New York to London) and lean to the left of centre on political and social issues.  I recycle, and I’ve been known to flip through an issue of Vogue now and again. Am I really a Bobo, after the French fashion? No, not particularly. But once, a friend called me one, and I really liked the way it sounded. It is quite silly-sounding, particularly if you pronounce it with a French accent. And being a lay-about ne’er-do-welling middle-class late-twenty-something year-old on a vastly alternative career-path that most sensible adults disapprove of, I kind of am a Bobo.

Will this blog turn you into a Bobo? I should hope not! No one should aspire to be quite so useless!

No, no, no…what it is, is a compilation of oft satirical personal essays intended to entertain and amuse. The writing may, on occasion, offer some insights on life, and why things are the way they are, but most likely not.

Rigorously academic writing this is not. If you want that sort of thing, pick up a sociology or a gender theory anthology. Better yet, take a course online. And keep away from this blog, you’ll find it rather upsetting and we don’t want your kind here. Sweeping generalisations will be made, erroneous conclusions arrived at, and a few chuckles might be had (and hopefully no offence taken).

The material will be interspersed with miscellaneous photographs, reviews, and songs. Possibly some rants as well, as I’m prone to ranting, but I prefer to use those as material for my longer essays. I think it’ll depend on how indignant I am at the time.

And with that, I’d like to welcome you to my inane and banal world. I hope you find it entertaining.

Eternally your friend,



Addendum: There is a bit of a quibble in intellectual mediums as to who exactly first coined the term, with an academic friend unabashedly scoffing at me for not crediting David Brooks (author of Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There) in this post. According to trusty Wikipedia, combining the words “bourgeois” and “bohemian” wasn’t unheard of long before Brooks came along and contracted it into something a lot more catchy. The fact remains, however, that the people fondest of using the term are, and will probably always be, the French.