Selective snob

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“It is impossible in our condition of society not to be sometimes a snob” – William Makepeace Thackeray.

Apparently (according to my quick and dirty Google search a few moments ago) the word snob was first recorded in the late eighteenth century as a term for a shoemaker or apprentice and although no-one seems to understand how it came to mean “stuck up, snooty, high and mighty and pretentious” as it does today (Google’s synonym search is also handy), I do like the fact that the word has a connection to shoes.

I consider myself to be a bit of a snob in a number of areas.

Nightwear: Pyjamas and slippers should be worn in the house only. I might possibly concur that you could stretch the bedwear zone to the doorstep of your own home if you are waving goodbye to someone but that is it. Wearing bedtime clothes to the shop, on the school run, to the garage, is just wrong. You might as well fashion your duvet into some sort of padded frock (also wrong, don’t get any ideas). If I was king of a supermarket, I might even go so far as to implement a dress code. If you’re wearing brushed cotton tartan, anything that says ‘I don’t like mornings’ on it or trousers covered in pictures of tiny pink yawning dogs, you’re not coming in.

Cake: Victoria sponge is THE grand mistress of cakes but only when it contains buttercream icing as well as jam. Butter and sugar, so wrong but so very right. The Women’s Institute, who are advocates of the jam only, no buttercream school of Victoria sponge thinking, would be horrified at this comment, but I think I’ll live without their support. Just as an aside, I would have absolutely no idea whether they have a branch in Brighton, how you join or what they actually do apart from bake cake and sing Jerusalem. I think I’d have more luck scoring some cocaine than joining the local WI. Well, apart from the fact that I only know the term ‘score’ from Nasty Nick in Eastenders, I would have no idea if I was snorting coke or icing sugar and that I just had to Google ‘what colour is cocaine?’ to check that it was actually white for the purposes of this entry. Although I’m slightly more tempted to try it now that I’ve discovered that it’s an appetite suppressant. Could help me out on the diet front, particularly given my love of Victoria sponges.

Shoes: I am an absolute shoe snob, I could almost be talked into terminating a friendship with someone who would even consider, no matter how fleetingly, the idea of buying shoes that fasten with Velcro and don’t even get me started on Crocs. Shoe inspiration should not come from a plastic laundry basket. I have a friend who owns and has worn Crocs in public near me. I pretended that I didn’t know her. My mum has shoes that fasten with Velcro that she wears to work. It’s hard for me to make that confession but I can’t pretend that I don’t know her. Although I would rather be disclosing that she’s actually my dad and until 1988 was a civil servant called Derek, so great is my shoe snobbery.

You’re / Your: There is a sandwich shop on a main road on the way to my sister’s house and I’ve often driven past it and thought that it looked nice and clean, well presented and that if I needed to urgently buy a sandwich at a notorious traffic hotspot on the congested A27, this shop would be the one I’d choose. Well, that was until I drove past it the other day and it had a banner outside which said “You’re local sandwich shop”. I am not a local sandwich shop. I’m a person. You’re means you are. How hard is it to get that? I mean, of the six original letters in the two words, five of them are still there and the sixth has been replaced by an apostrophe. A bit like this: Local sandwich shop is completely sh’t at grammar. If Mr Sandwich shop man doesn’t know his your from his you’re, what is to say that he might not know his chicken from his mechanically separated meat? Not a risk I’m prepared to take.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a secret snob-free side to me. There are a number of things that I am unashamedly not a snob about.

Magazines: The cheesier the better. I want to know about the woman who had babies with a man who turned out to be her long lost brother/father/uncle/son, the toddler who can sing like Frank Sinatra and the man with the giant cock who can’t find love; he might be hung by a donkey but, bless him, he also looks like one too. I suspect that’s why he’s still single.

Ironing: I can live with the creases. Life is too short to iron.

Newspapers: I am addicted to the Daily Mail app on my iPhone and the trashy “celebrity” section. Although most of the time I genuinely don’t know who the people are that I am reading about. Some woman who dated the bass player of a mediocre mainstream band six years ago has worn the same dress three years apart. Fuck me. Why didn’t someone text me an alert about that sooner? I have also read The Sun, although not since the phone hacking scandal hit the News of the World; I’m not an animal. Plus, I wouldn’t do it in public. It’s strictly ‘at-home-behind-closed-doors-and-possibly-even-then-whilst-wearing-some-sort-of-disguise-in-case-the-postman-spots-me-through-the-letterbox’ type of reading material.

Wine: £1.99 special, with a delicate bouquet of wet dog, wellington boots and winkles? Are you kidding me? It’s £1.99. I can always top it up with lemonade.

“Wine is wonderful stuff but so many people are put off by the snobbery of it” – John Cleese

Don’t worry John, I’ve got it all under control.

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All hail the mighty Wellington Boot

imageI may have owned a pair of wellies when I was a child, I don’t remember. As an adult I didn’t own any until a few years ago when I bought some because I had decided that I was going to go to a festival.

I bought the festival tickets with a friend and everything. Ludicrous idea really considering that I don’t like: mud, camping, beer, chemical toilets, getting dirty, rain, spiders, being in a tent, not being able to wash my hair, being cold, puddles or sleeping in a sleeping bag. I don’t know what came over me, it certainly wasn’t anything to do with having a crush on someone who may also have been attending the festival. No, that would have been utterly ridiculous. Particularly because I’m not sure that I can pull off any form of ‘camper chic’ in fact without access to a hot shower, a hairdryer and some of Boots finest cosmetics I’d be lucky to manage ‘tatty tramp*’

*vagrant, not slut.

Anyway, back to the wellies. My shoe rules are usually as follows:

Are they pretty / sparkly / funky / shiny / brightly coloured / sequined?
Have they got bows / ribbons / zips / any other decoration generally deemed unsuitable to be attached to a pair of shoes?
Do they make me a minimum of three inches taller?
Will they bite my toes or rub several layers of skin from my heels after approximately 49 seconds of wearing?
Can I walk no more than about 25 steps whilst wearing them?
Do they match my outfit?

If so, I buy / wear the shoes.

If they fall into any of the following categories:
Functional, clumpy, sensible, plain, sturdy, menswear, practical, dull, lesbian, chunky.

I do not.

I spend quite a lot of my day in self-inflicted discomfort because of my completely impractical shoe obsession but even I recognise that when its snowy and icy and I’m walking to work, I can’t teeter about in my glossy 4 inch stilettos because a) I’d fall over and b) I’d fall over again.

So, when the snow came last week, I dusted off my Wellington boots with a sigh, thinking how awful it was that I had to wear such things. I shoved them on my feet, stroppy expression on my face and headed outside.

Suddenly, after a few short steps in the snow, I was struck by a strange sensation. My feet were dry and they were staying firmly on the ground. No sliding about, no wobbling around.

As more days passed I made another wonderful discovery, wellies + thick winter socks over my work tights = cosy feet.

Be still my beating heart.

I’m so sorry that I doubted you, gorgeous, practical, sturdy boots…

…Although, is there any chance you’d like to be adorned with “bows / ribbons / zips / any other decoration generally deemed unsuitable to be attached to a pair of shoes?”