WE supposedly live in a classless society. So why then does class tension come bubbling dangerously close to the surface during the most mundane events?
Should you feign interest in your driver’s route and working hours, or does it sound patronising? Do they want this tedious conversation about onions you’ve stumbled into, or are they just humouring the pampered homeworker? All you wanted was some bog paper and cheese delivering, not a nerve-jangling journey through a social minefield.
Seeing a certain breed of dog
A 100 per cent accurate marker of social class. Labrador: white collar professional. Alsatian: self-employed working class. Staffie: borderline underclass. Okay, it doesn’t work with all dogs, eg. dachshunds. Who buys those hairy saveloy-shaped freaks is anyone’s guess.
Getting into university
Not such a big deal these days, but it’s an achievement, and one you were quite modest about as a teenager. Then your dickhead Uncle Dave said something like: ‘Don’t suppose you’ll want to talk to us peasants anymore.’ At least he didn’t blather on about the superiority of the University of Life, where, it appears, everyone graduates with a double first in Stupidity.
Visit by a dopey tradesman
Middle class types agonise over looking down on the lower orders. All very well until someone genuinely gormless comes to fix your boiler. Then, on a freezing day, an ironic comment like ‘Think I’ll do a bit of sunbathing later!’ will be met with the frighteningly literal response, ‘No, it’s too cold, mate.’ Hopefully it’s not a big job, because the conversation won’t get better.
Accidentally slagging off someone’s choice of TV viewing
Certain TV shows are, shall we say, deliberately targeted at the ‘less sophisticated viewer’, such as Love Island or Mrs Brown’s Boys. You’ll unthinkingly slag them off, only for someone to say ‘I think it’s really good!’ You’ll then have to pathetically backtrack, eg. ‘I mean it’s very good as broad brush humour, it’s all subjective when you think about it…’ and so on, sounding totally spineless, which indeed you are.
Certain working class relatives have incredibly forthright views about any topic they refuse to research beyond reading tabloid headlines. So any family gathering becomes a game of ‘avoid the hot topic’, or you’ll be subjected to insightful arguments like ‘How can a man be a woman? A man’s not a woman, he’s a man.’ The only positive is that Uncle Dave will have gone strangely quiet about Brexit by now.