snob |snäb|

noun

1) a person with an exaggerated respect for high social position or wealth who seeks to associate with social superiors and dislikes people or activities regarded as lower-class.

2) [with adj. ] a person who believes that their tastes in a particular area are superior to those of other people : a musical snob.

 

I have been called a wine snob numerous times, and I feel the need to express my dissatisfaction with that title.  Friends, family, and strangers have used the title to my face, as though it wasn’t an insult. As you can see from the relevant second definition, it is an unpleasant attribute to be a wine snob. I don’t think about my tastes in wine in relation to other people!  Why is it that someone with a passion for wine (or food, my husband is often called a food snob) is automatically described as a snob? Everyone has passion, expertise, opinions, and standards about something, whether it be politics, architecture, keeping house, watching television, textiles, knitting, dogs, thrift-store shopping, etc.  Only occasionally does the expertise come with the moniker “snob”.  Why is that? One would never call an expert accountant an “accounting snob.” Or a superb teacher an “education snob.” No, instead you would be glad that they are good at what they do, and not think of it in relation to yourself. Why with wine or food or movies do people feel the need to exhibit a sort of reverse snobbery, and put you down for caring so much?

Once I became an expert on something, it made me really admire expertise in others.  And contrary to seeming like snobs about their chosen subject, true experts want to share their knowledge with everyone! I began asking for help in stores of all kinds because I realized that the owners and salespeople held expertise in something I did not, and I wanted to benefit from their experience. I also started asking friends and family more about what they specialized in, realizing that because one can’t be an expert in more than one thing, a community of experts on individual topics is awesome.

I can forgive you for calling me boring if I go overly deep into an explanation on matters of wine, but please, please don’t call me a snob.

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