I recently found myself on the receiving end of a glorious dollop of snobbery. I know, snobbery, how deliciously old fashioned. We never experienced this sort of thing when we lived in Kemptown. I suppose it is harder to keep up your pretensions while walking up St James Street as a drunk seagull with one foot pushes past you to get into the betting shops ( ps I love you St James Street, you know I do baby) but here in the wide avenues of Hove it appears that this aspect of the English class system has the rarefied air it requires to survive.
I am not for one second suggesting that everyone who lives west of the peace statue is a snob, of course not but I have definitely encountered those that put a lot more energy into the word “actually” when informing others that they live not in Brighton but “Hove actually”. I have found though that if you live here long enough and it does start to rub off. When talking to some hip young things in London I told them that I lived in Brighton but when asked by people my age and older my residence is very much in the Hove area. Is that a form of snobbery? Am I trying to impress?
Being confronted by someone who is “stuck up” does kind of take you by surprise but it does also make you question your own prejudices and we all have the potential to feel superior about something. Music, the breed of dog you own, holiday destinations, misuse of cutlery I can guarantee we all have at least one thing that gets right up our upturned noses.
Some personal reflection has highlighted that I can also be a ridiculous snob about some very particular things and most of them are connected to the great love of my life, food. For example I do tend to look down on people who cut their cherry tomatoes stem end to end and not across the middle. Don’t ask me why, I have no idea but the feeling is absolutely there! There would be no second date for me with a person who ordered a white wine and lemonade spritzer. I ordered a salad in a small town restaurant not so long ago and it came with a twist of orange on top, it very nearly sent me over the edge folks.
I fear I am a mere armature though when it comes to snobbery. I once got floored by a black belt snob in London. I was in the very pricey shop Tiffany’s because I was buying a gift of two crystal champagne flutes for a friend. They were expensive glasses but nothing compared to the other goods on offer in this famous establishment. As the unfriendly, po-faced assistant wrapped my gift for me I commented on how beautiful the Tiffany duck egg blue packaging was. She fixed me with her cold, dead eyes and said “Yes, we often find that people buy the cheaper items simply for the wrapping”
Boom……snob slam dunk.
She handed me my wrapped present, a sneer smeared across her face. I picked up my parcel turned on my heels and departed with the line ” Well who is wrapping b###h and who is buying?”
Stay classy people…..stay classy.
Zoe Lyons hosts Bent Double at the Komedia on the first Sunday of the month. Follow Zoe @zoelyons