A house in our development recently went up for sale. The owner of the property, a mid-fifties father of two and entry-level BMW owner was outside taking pictures. He waxed sentimental, about all the fond memories he had in the home before boasting that he was upgrading to a mansion in a nearby neighborhood. I never thought twice about his story until three days later when another neighbor had a very different version to tell. The neighbor, whose husband was good friends with Mr. Entry-Level Beemer, said that the family was not upgrading at all. In fact, Mr. Entry-Level Beemer was downsizing to a condo since his youngest child was headed off to college. It seemed Mr. Entry-Level Beemer was fronting.
Fronting for those who don’t know, is a slang term used to describe people who put on a false façade in order to impress others. The word made headlines when the rapper Bow Wow was caught fronting on Instagram. Bow Wow posted a picture of a private plane and indicated he was on his way to do a press run for Growing Up Hip Hop. Unfortunately, fans spotted the rapper in the economy class of a commercial jet the same day. Further, internet sleuths with too much time on their hands discovered that the private plane photo was the cover image for a company based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Bow Wow claimed he was flying out of Georgia. But this wasn’t the first time the rapper was caught fronting. Bow Wow famously posted a large bag of cash on Instagram which turned out to be a Google stock image of “a bag of cash.”
Fronting isn’t just a problem for would be rappers. It seems everyone these days indulges in some type of fronting. The prevalence of social media only seems to make the problem worse. Anyone can carefully craft an ideal version of themselves online. And it happens all the time. How many perfect relationships, exotic vacations, and ridiculous displays of conspicuous consumption have you seen on Facebook or Instagram lately? In the dating world it’s called kittenfishing – altering pictures on apps and dating websites to make someone more attractive. So how do you know if you are fronting? Below are some examples that I have had the misfortune to run into.
You might be fronting if….
- You lease a hot car but still live in your parent’s basement.
- You carry a Louis Vuitton purse and wear Louboutin’s but can’t afford this month’s rent.
- You buy the cheapest “fixer upper” in a wealthy neighborhood so you can brag about a particular area code.
- You are constantly talking about a promotion or amazing job opportunity that never seems to materialize.
- You start an online business that generates no income but pass yourself off as an Internet CEO or Start Up Entrepreneur.
- You win BIG every time you go to Vegas or any other casino.
- You have “celebrity friends” which turn out to be celebrities that you saw at the airport and convinced to take a selfie with you.
- You post pictures of your children with the hashtag #blessed, #lifeisgood or some other variation even though they are obnoxious, little brats.
- You post an abundance of “happy family pictures” with your spouse, kids, and rescue pet but are on the verge of divorce.
- Your social media feed is full of strategically angled selfies to camouflage massive weight gain.
- Your luxury vehicle is about to be repossessed by the leasing company.
Remember, confidence is one thing—delusion is another. Do everyone a favor and stick to the truth.