Tai Tai 太太 is a Chinese colloquial term for a wealthy married woman who does not work. She can be the wife of an elected leader-wife or even a head-wife of a multi-wife (polygynous / sister-wife) family. Tai Tai has the same euphemistic value as “lady” in English; sometimes flattery, sometimes subtle insult.
The term may come to imply a wife who was “dependent on her newly rising bourgeois husband” for her consumerist lifestyle.
In the context of lifestyle, one author describes it as equivalent to the English term “ladies who lunch”.
I like the “ladies who lunch” context very much. In particularly, lunch.
In Asia, a Tai Tai is the wives of affluent men who are often seen shopping at luxury boutiques and while away hours at expensive cafes and restaurants. Mind you, it is not all café and restaurants but certain premises that are popular for the ladies to hang out.
Is there a Cultural significance?
For those of us who grew up reading American writer and novelist, Pearl S. Buck, in her novel Three Daughters of Madame Liang, Tai Tai 太太 is used to imply a wife who was “dependent on her newly rising bourgeois husband” for her consumerist lifestyle. Pearl Buck uses the well-known term Tai Tai 太太 to describe Madame Liang.
How do you know that you are a full fledge Tai Tai?
The full definition is of course, “A lady of privileged means, with lots of leisure time and money to spend”.
Lots of Leisure Time
Tai Tai is ever youthful. Period. They have pale, luminously flawless smooth skin, soft hands without any signs of any wrinkles or blemish.
#1 Leisure time is spent primarily to pamper herself with long spa, massage sessions, and facial treatments.
#2 Time to exercise and pamper takes top priority to maintain a youthful lean body, Tai Tai join the top gyms and country club for private one on one personal training session.
#3 Most Tai Tai is well toned and eats healthily. No, they don’t eat a diet of fried foods and cheeses. A good wine and some cheese to nibble are fine. Carbs make you bloat so take heart.
#4 For a full fledge Tai Tai of manicured and pedicured fingers and toes, you will need good shoes. Think glass slippers and you get the idea. It is not easy to step into their shoes. And in random order are the coveted brands Alexander McQueen, Brian Atwood, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci, Christian Louboutin, Miu Miu, Jimmy Choo, Walter Steiger and the MICAM (which I adore).
#5 Gossip. Only the best are lucky enough to be a member of this exclusive circle of women and worthy to be gossiped about. The ladies are often seen at upscale cafes having high tea and the juiciest gossip. Of course, they wear the latest fashion trends.
#6 A sophisticated sense of style is the pre-requisite. Tai Tai follows the latest fashion trends gleaned from reading fashion magazines. The expensive glossy kind, okay.
#7 Of course, Tai Tai has an arsenal of classy jewelry, and eyewear from famous brands such as Chanel or Gucci and minimum shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo and please, at least an Oran sandal with the with iconic “H” cut-out, Hermes style.
#8 Travel is the top favorite activity where Tai Tai often head off to the fashion capitals several times of the year. Think “Crazy Rich Asians”. Places to visit include Paris, Milan, or London for luxury buys.
#9 Top choice for a handbag is Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Fendi’s Iconic Peekaboo Bag is a must-have for fun and of course, Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu bags are another must have.
#10 Latest Tech gear is, of course, an iPhone Xs Max no less.
Now that you know the 10 Signs That You’re Now a Full Fledge Tai Tai 太太 it’s time to make travel plans.