Once, whilst visiting a popular picnic spot with my brother, he felt the need to pause a conversation mid-sentence and gasp in awe at a seemingly very ordinary group of people making their way across the immaculate lawn. An army of green canvas folding chairs, wicker picnic hampers and Prosecco bottles crossed in front of us, eyes on a secluded spot where they could lay down their wares and crack open a bottle of Waitrose’s Finest.
“That is…the most middle class thing I have ever seen,” he spluttered, admiringly. “I love it!”
The British are well known for an obsession with class.
I would like to say that as a liberal, left-wing Guardian reading
anarchist member of the bourgeoisie, I am not even remotely interested in such anachronisms, preferring instead to live on a hippy commune in Somerset with thirty five chickens and a couple of goats.
But that would be lying.
I am obsessed with class. I love it. And what I love the most is my own self-important sense of middle class righteousness. The middle classes are right about everything, all of the time. There are no social problems in middle class households. No middle class person ever got drunk on anything other than wine (or maybe gin), no middle class person ever shouted at their errant child in public. And if they did, I never got to hear about it. The middle classes are strictly sensible, strictly quinoa as the preferred grain, and strictly come dancing rather than X Factor. To cut a long story short, my single greatest aim in life is to be considered middle class.
In celebration of the middle classes, I have compiled this list of the Ten Most Middle Class Things Ever. You’re welcome. Picnic hampers not included.
1.) Waitrose. The original, and still the best. I’m pretty sure the basics range includes such dietary staples as harissa and pomegranate seeds, but don’t quote me on it. They might not be posh enough.
2.) Naming your child a class above. Are your children called Sebastian and Harriet? Tristram and Crispian? Is your daughter called India in remembrance of that gap year you spent in Kerala in the nineties? If so, then you are officially Middle Class.
3.) Holidays in Center Parcs. I know dahling, it’s just so much more civilised than Haven. There’s woodland you know, and the log cabins are just to die for. So much more aesthetically pleasing than those common caravans. And you can hire bicycles for the whole family, which is always good for the waistline. Obesity is the scourge of the lower echelons.
4.) Breton tops. Are your entire family dressed in them? Mum, dad, children, grandparents? It’s just the classic look. A little bit French chic, a lot practical school run.
5.) Pretending to be religious to get your child into a better school. Come on, we’ve all done it. It’s a dog eat dog world out there.
6.) Conservatories. No one working class ever had a conservatory. Only middle class gardens offer sufficiently pleasant viewing over breakfast.
7.) Skiing. Just expensive enough to price out the proletariat.
8.) Land Rovers. Perfect for storing the folding chairs and gazebo for those impromptu picnics in the suburban wilderness. And they look so country-casual on the school run.
9.) Colour co-ordinated Christmas decorations. Nothing looks as tacky as colour clashing tree lights or (gasp) those giant inflatable Santas tacked to the side of the house. And God forbid anything flashing. The baby Jesus would be spinning on the Virgin’s lap at such a monstrosity.
10.) Red wine. Who would go into a salty local pub and order a red wine? No one. Only the middle classes have the sophisticated palate required to discern when there’s a “full-bodied field of flowers” or a “hint of saddle.”
So based on this tongue in cheek and dare I say it arbitrary list of criteria, are you middle class, or am I alone in being the one giving a gasp of astonishment when Tesco turn out not to stock pomegranate molasses? I knew I should have stuck with Ocado.
I’ve seen you in those Breton tops. Don’t try to deny it.