It was like he'd moved to another world that I hadn't known existed. This is way outside anything I've ever experienced. I smoked at the time. Generally, I got the impression that I was being looked up and down and found rather wanting. But, in my favour, his sister was going out with someone who was even more low-class than me. They wanted him to marry someone who had grown up around the corner, whose parents they knew and of whom they approved. They attached no value at all to academic prowess.
And also, I think they just slightly thought that I was a little bit too loud — not the quietly understated, elegant person that would fit into their quietly understated, elegant lifestyle. My parents were sending out invitations, but they were on their uppers because their business had gone to pot. The invitations had to come from them.
And there were all these titles, and they'd been told his aged aunt would only open invitations that were correctly addressed. My mum was very much, 'They'll just have to take us as they find us. The wedding sounds very stressful: I wonder why she didn't put it off a bit longer. And Tom was not that bothered about class — he couldn't have married anybody who was a class warrior, who thought everything he stood for was awful. He had to feel that he could be himself, and he did, and so did I.
In purely class terms, the decision about secondary school will be major. If they go to the state school, they will very obviously be different from their grandparents and even from their parents. I don't want them to grow up feeling completely divorced from their grandparents and their cousins. Although, of course, they're already divorced from my father's side. Previously, she was married to Simon, whom she met while he was serving nine years in prison for armed robbery.
It was just this terrible secret. I like people who work the land. It's just life on a more basic level. I think that, because of his working-class roots, when he went up for jobs, he didn't really believe he should get them. Probably what class gives you is a belief that you can achieve things. He was five and a half years younger. Most people were cool about it, and I kind of ignored the ones that weren't.
I don't know that there were that many differences. If Simon, my ex, ever tried to negotiate a fee for things like that, people were very dismissive and often rude to him — they'd quibble over 50 quid. It shows how ingrained it is, that if a person is of a higher class, they're worth more. Your life is too chaotic, it's too full on, there are too many people and I want a simple life.
We're a clash of personalities really. Alice is definitely a go-getter and I'm more laid-back. I was brought up by very working-class parents. During the s, growing up, there was work for everybody. My father, a maintenance fitter, always instilled in me not to be resentful of the upper classes, or the people bred into money, because they're the ones who create the work. Alice was born into wealth and power, but she'd never use it — she's absolutely down to earth. Although I do catch her up now and then on her accent.
I've looked through every dictionary I can find, and I just can't find any R that would explain her pronunciation of bath. Although Brian was six months younger than me, he seemed lifetimes older. I had just graduated from NYU and while I studied writing and history, Brian finished up vocational high school. Brian knew how to drive a car very fast, and he knew how to repair one if it broke down.
He knew how to kill someone, and did so to defend his life. He also knew how to kiss well. Which he did, the first time we met. He sidled up to me in a South Jersey bar and said hi. I felt instant attraction, and he had all the correct characteristics for me: The jungle of indistinguishable tattoos on his forearms? We talked the typical talk one does when being picked up in a bar, which led to making out against his beige pick-up truck.
Our kissing lacked the excess saliva and teeth-clicking that comes with kissing someone new, though. He pulled me closer by my long, beaded necklace. I enjoyed our outings. He was a good hugger and held me as long as I wanted.
Across the barricades: love over the class divide
The Truth About "Mixed-Collar" Dating — From the People Who Make These Relationships Work
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