I’ve got a confession to make. Yes, another one. I don’t think there is anyone alive in the world today who has less right to be a snob than me. But weirdly, I still manage to be one (or at least I do privately). Coming from the lowly beginnings that I do (oh God, here she goes again, banging on about her lowly beginnings! Well actually, imaginary person, I wasn’t going to bang on about hard-luck stories on this occasion, and was only hinting at my meagre upbringing to prove a point!), sometimes I actually have to pull myself up and question why I have turned out this way. More often than not, my husband questions the chosen subject-matter for this blog, but I always explain that I am merely trying to dissect what is wrong with me rather than what is wrong with everybody else. It’s not that I think that I am sufficiently better than any other people; it’s more that I think myself so much better than I realistically am. If you see what I mean. And today I’m going to explore why this has come about and whether I really ought to stop and do something about it.
Even as a schoolgirl, something was a bit amiss. Now and then, the odd child would advise me that, for an East London girl, I was a bit ‘posh’. Now if you know or have met me even for a millisecond, you will find this absurdly funny as I am anything but posh. I have a very definite cockney twang (with a little bit of an Antipodean lilt as I spent a tad too long in New Zealand). But posh I ain’t (please note the use of the word ain’t – this denotes my poor use of the English language at times. However, Google tells me, ‘the use of ‘ain’t’ was widespread in the 18th century, typically as a contraction for ‘am not’. It is still perfectly normal in many dialects and informal speech in both Britain and North America. Today, however, it does not form part of standard English and should never be used in formal or written contexts’…oh…wait…). But as I’ve always said, the cockney accent is a bona fide accent just like Scottish, Irish or Welsh and is not just an accent for plumbers and builders and other men in trade (no really, I have literally always said this); I would happily sit down and watch a cockney newsreader or welcome a cockney Prime Minister, for example. Anyway, the point is, I suppose I was always fairly articulate (apart from the flagrant use of the word ain’t in formal or written contexts). I had, perhaps, a more advanced than average vocabulary as I used to look words up that I was unfamiliar with from an early age. And then proceed to crowbar them into everyday sentences in which they probably didn’t belong (some may say I still do) – and I imagine this sounded incongruous coming from the mouth of an eight year old girl. But from the get-go, my use (or ill-use) of language possibly made me a little bit different.
In my late teens and early twenties my secret snobbery found a different forum in which to display itself – that forum being ‘the dating game’. I was notorious for getting ensnared in relationships that lasted the duration of approximately two weeks or less. And it was usually me backing out, outwardly saying ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ but inwardly saying, ‘oh dear God, it is most definitely you’. I would blacklist these innocently hapless men with spurious excuses such as; poor choice of first-date restaurant, stupidity, lack of/unsophisticated sense of humour, just plain common (again, not with regards to accent, but just in outlook) or unfortunate shoes. Those were the biggest offenders. In reality, this was probably just me looking for excuses not to be in a relationship because I was perhaps a little emotionally naive, but at the time I thought an ideal mate was an extremely rare species. My husband ought to count himself lucky that I didn’t find some flimsy reason not to date him either – or maybe he should count himself unlucky and the men who got away are the fortunate ones. I have an old friend who dumped a guy because on one occasion he waved at her from across the street rather too wildly and he inadvertently…well…looked a bit silly (yes, you know who you are, old friend). And I entirely understood her position on this. Because I would probably have done exactly the same thing.
Adversely, however, I also had the problem of having to extricate myself from relationships because the guy was too perfect, too immaculate, too well-spoken, and generally too clever by half. Well, as a closet-snob, I hardly wanted to feel inferior to somebody, did I? Well of course not.
Maybe I ought to have started out with this (damn it! Oh well – it’s Saturday morning and I’ve got shed-loads to do so I’m not rewriting this now), but the dictionary definition of the word ‘snob’ is:-
Well, going by that definition, maybe I’m not entirely a snob after all. I don’t particularly respect people in a higher social positions, I’m not interested in other’s wealth and I don’t seek to associate with my social superiors. In fact I purposely avoid them. Perhaps on the odd occasion I may secretly look down on somebody but not because they are my social inferior (if there is such a thing as being inferior to me socially, I highly doubt it) but usually because they are particularly dense. And there may well be a fair few people out there who look down on me too, and that’s absolutely fine as long as they don’t admit it out loud or make it completely obvious by sneering at me distastefully. It’s a free country, think what you like.
So, before you cover me with hot tar and coat me with feathers for having an unattractive personality trait, just let me explain. As with most of my posts, I’m simply admitting to a flaw in my character and am just trying to put the following feelers out there: This is what I think. Is it wrong to think this? Does anybody else think like this? Should I have openly admitted this..? Echo…echo. Well, possibly not, but the way I see it is this; if I spotted the flaw first, then the flaw becomes null and void, right (actually, the American Heritage Idioms Dictionary says the phrase ‘null and void’ is redundant since ‘null’ means ‘void’ and is therefore ineffective – oh shut up you snobby American Heritage Idioms Dictionary!)? And usually the resounding response I get is that a lot of people out there think the same way as me but just don’t go about sharing the information willy-nilly like I do. Y’know, like on a public blog open to worldwide critique. Who the hell would do something as dumb as that? Oh yes. That would be me.