Getting to know your British 21st century class system as an American (you have learned it, right?)

yahooavatar15Hey, don’t think that I am ‘rising above my station‘, but I want to share with you a little something that mystifies my American self (and is starting to scare me) about after living in Britain for 5 years. Wait, ‘mystifies’ is a polite word. I should say that my own self is starting to annoy the hell out of me. I am getting my own goat. I am ticking. my.own. self. off.  Help! As a member of the ‘upper-to middle-middle-class bordering on spiralist-meritocracy’ echelon, I am starting to become class-conscious. Has it happened to you yet? Be warned!

I am becoming a person that like other Brits, can “identify” class ranking like a stinky fish in a garbage can. I wanna say that I don’t care about class and all that hoopla but yet here I am thinking about it more frequently then I ever did living in America. Its infilatrating my brain! Got a Cath Kidston diaper bag and Molton Brown in your bathroom ? Oh, I detect a Yummy Mummy! Got a gold earring, have shaved stripes in your eyebrows and are wearing white Ted Perry trainers? Oh, that could be bordering on chav territory. Got a posh neutral accent and wear a cravat? Mon dieu, he MUST be a public school boy! Drive a white va…. ok you get the idea… and I can’t help myself. Have I been subliminally trained ? How in the world did I learn all this??

Something I just cant get used to here in Britain is the class-system ruckus. Words like working class, middle working class, the underclass, the middle middle class, the working blue collar, the noveau riche, the Old Boy’s network, wag, public school,  state-schooler, Mondeo men, Chavs, Neds, scallies, the rah, the essex man… ahhhh…..my god there are a lot to learn! Enough to make my head spin trying to keep it all straight. God save me before its too late!!

Even the chavs are playing tennis in England when Wimbledon fever arrives!

yahooavatar15 So what does an American lady living in England need to know about Wimbledon? To heck with guessing! Today I went and emailed the source. Here is the inside info from Ed, a British Tennis Coach working in Yorkshire.

In your opinion what unique things happen in Britain during Wimbledon?

It always feels to me the start of summer when Wimbledon comes on. You will hear words like “Hawk eye”. You will see tennis rackets begin thrown. Young ball boys barely over the age of 10 will be hit by balls traveling over 120 miles an hour. At least 2 people will pass out live on television with heat exhaustion. Cliff Richard, a 60 year old pop star from the 1960′s, will be invited to the semi final and the final. And if it rains at Wimbledon and the game has to stop, Cliff is handed the microphone and he sings to the crowd. Pimm’s comes out, as does strawberries and cream.  My tennis coaching school business booms.

What are your views on the great British hopeful Andy Murray?

This year will be extra exciting because the UK has a genuine championship hopeful. The last time Britain was this excited about Wimbledon was in the heyday of Tim Henman. Outside of the main area where all the posh people sit is a big hill in Wimbledon. If you can’t afford a ticket you can watch it on the big screen there. This was called “Henman Hill” when he was around. Now its called “Murray Mount”. So you will see over the next 2 weeks Britain work itself up into a wild world-cup style frenzy as Andy Murray progresses in the rounds.  Hope that answers your questions if not will see you and Mr. Chill tonight down at the pub later!

–E

P. S. Forget to mention for your blog readers that the biggest thing you will see is that suddenly all the deserted tennis courts across the UK suddenly fill up with people wanting to be Andy Murray against their friends. For these 2 weeks England stops begin a football crazy place and become s a tennis crazy one.Today as I was driving, even the chavs were rampaging their friends with tennis fever. I love it.

A chavtastic-fantastic-Yorkshire affair

yahooavatar15You frequently hear about their tracksuits, ASBOS, council estate flats, knife problems, and “what a bad thing they are to society”. Chavs have such a poor reputation in Britain!

Well, yes, I knew he had some “chav” qualities, when he first sat his cheeky handsome-self on the Manchester-Leeds train.

But I didn’t care.

His name was Dono and he had the YOOOHHkshaw drawl.

After we first slept together he said with concern “ My Dahhhling American princess, what time to do you want me to set the Alaaam for the Mooohhhning? Oh, how my heart melted!  It was that Yorkshire charm, yes, you know the one!

He wore his white Fred Perry shirt proudly and his mom gladly ironed his Ted Baker jeans for our dates.

Oh, no Leeds University education for him, he was a self made man– didn’t need any of that “classy stuff”. Seacroft Council estate was his conquered kingdom of his business world.

His iridescent purple Peugeot 306 purple was so bling bling, that when he drove he was death on wheels–with Galaxy FM blaring from his sub woofers.

Maybe some BBC Radio 1, perhaps, I would ask? Too posh, he would say.

My stuffy orchestral colleagues would attempt to warn me. Oh darling, we were so worried about you last night after that.. that… that… um …guy .. he drove away so recklessly… did you make it home okay?

(Dono never went to any of my classical harp gigs, not his scene, he would say).

Dono never ate vegetables except the fried variety, and he gave me gifts he ordered especially for me off the QVC.

I introduced him to Yorkshire vegan restaurants and earl grey tea. He loved both.

Dono and I lasted two weeks. He was my one-and-only-chavtastic-fantastic-experience.

Now, who says that chavs have to be so bad for England? I had a great time—!