How do you know when you are posh? A cafetiere might be the give away...
A Government review a year or so ago found that some top companies are implementing a ‘poshness’ test for employment, thereby often spoiling the chances of working class applicants.
When I was a child I never thought whether we were posh or not. We were in the same boat as all our friends and neighbours, we weren’t rich but we were comfortable and as far as we were concerned wasn’t everyone?
We had good, loving parents, enough to eat and a lifestyle that wasn’t short of culture and included listening to music and reading books that we obtained from the local library. It was only when I passed the Eleven Plus and went to a grammar school at the other end of town that I realised that there were girls from homes that were not Council owned, some of the houses being quite palatial, and whose parents owned cars and even in a couple of cases horses! I realised then that some people were seriously posh!
Over the years the definition of the word has altered for me. Still many people live in much bigger houses and have more money than I do, but I consider it more important to be happy, have successful and healthy children and grandchildren, have read extensively and to have been lucky enough to have travelled everywhere in the world that I have ever wanted to visit, than to worry in case I hold a tea cup incorrectly.
I never will believe that anyone is better than me, and so I view with a slight degree of scepticism those who would try to tell us that they are posh!
I laughed when I read in the press that David Cameron was referred to as ‘the toff’ or ‘posh Dave’. We had an insight into his lifestyle when he was PM and cameras were invited into the Cameron kitchen and we found that they ate similar kinds of food to so called ‘common’ folk, like Marmite and Lee and Perrins Sauce (yet to be educated into the superiority of Hendos!) but used proper sea salt instead of Saxa, different vinegars, Earl Grey tea and Manuka Honey which can sell at over £20 a jar. All bought at Waitrose of course, the ’posh’ persons supermarket! Although to be fair there probably wasn’t an Aldi near them! ‘Posh Dave has admitted that he knows he is posh, having come from a very privileged background and attended a very posh school. The media made a lot of the fact that he was shown eating a hot dog with a knife and fork which is obviously what posh people do!
However, people do seem to be obsessed with class, and what, in the words of Nancy Mitford, who, being one of the Mitford sisters was pretty posh, are ‘U and Non U!’
A recent guide to etiquette by expert William Hanson instructs on how to know whether or not you are posh.
It appears that you can instantly tell from a person’s home. If you own and use a cafetiere you are well away! Your kitchen should have exciting cookbooks on display. Delia Smiths ‘How to boil and egg’ does not count. The BBC have a range of ‘Posh Nosh’ cook books with useful advice on ‘top’ food like posh peoples fish and chips made with Beluga Sturgeon fillet. Just let me check my freezer!
Preferably you cook on an Aga, have a cling film dispenser, not just a roll that you perforate with your teeth, smart bin bags, not supermarket freebies, although you don’t get many of those anyway now you have to pay for them.
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You must never use paper napkins, or indeed refer to them as serviettes, and the worst thing of all would be to give your guests a piece of kitchen roll!! You could be considered posh if you eat cake with a small fork or put sauces into little dishes instead of having a bottle on the table. We were definitely not posh when I was a child as the HP Sauce label was one of my main sources of reading after my father banned the reading of books at the dinner table!
And I overheard a friend once saying that a mutual acquaintance must be posh as she wore matching underwear, not mismatched, much washed knickers from M & S.
In the bathroom, only plain loo paper will do, never quilted, with bad smells eliminated by means of a reed defuser, never an Airwick spray!
In the sitting room which you never call the lounge, books must outweigh dvds, only fabric sofas will do, never leather, antique silver picture frames and very large television sets are permissible. Loud and proud in other words!
Completely out are coasters, napkin rings, fish cutlery, candle wall lights, hostess trolleys (thought those went out in the 70s anyway!) mug trees, net curtains (you are either a ‘haves or ‘have nets!’ and paintings by David Shepherd. The artist, not the cricketer!
Even when it comes to weddings, it seems that you are either posh or not. Men of the landed gentry, aristocracy or Royal males do not wear wedding rings. It is considered totally unacceptable and very bad breeding to have figures of a bride and groom on the top of a wedding cake, and if you should happen to be introduced to the Queen at a function, never say ‘Pleased to meet you!’ as it appears Kate Middleton’s mother once did. Of course you are pleased to meet her, the correct expression is ‘How d’you do!’
And if, like them you recruit the services of a cleaner, then it’s posh to refer to her as ‘a woman who does’ although could be open to misinterpretation!
It’s a minefield isn’t it? Personally I just haven’t got time to worry about it.
I’m just going to make myself a cup of coffee. Oops! From a jar I’m afraid!