Saturday 18 June 2011

How to Be Engaged


According to Emily Post: The fiancĂ©e of a young man who is “saving in order to marry,” would be lacking in taste as well as good sense were she to encourage or allow him extravagantly to send her flowers and other charming, but wasteful, presents. But on the other hand, if the bridegroom-elect has plenty of means, she may not only accept flowers but anything he chooses to select, except wearing apparel or a motor car or a house and furniture—anything that can be classified as “maintenance.”

It is perfectly suitable for her to drive his car, or ride his horse, and she may select furniture for their house, which he may buy or have built. But, if she would keep her self-respect, the car must not become hers nor must she live in the house or use its furniture until she is given his name. He may give her all the jewels he can afford, he may give her a fur scarf, but not a fur coat. The scarf is an ornament, the coat is wearing apparel. If she is very poor, she may have to be married in cheese-cloth, or even in the dress she wears usually, but her wedding dress and the clothes she wears away, must not be supplied by the groom or his family. There is one exception: if his mother, for instance, has some very wonderful family lace, or has kept her own wedding dress and has no daughter herself, and it would please her to have her son’s wife wear her lace or dress, it is proper for the bride to consent. But it would be starting life on a false basis, and putting herself in a category with women of another class, to be clothed by any man, whether he is soon to be her husband or not. 50 If the engagement should be so unfortunate as to be broken off, the engagement ring and all other gifts of value must be returned.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Holiday Time

On holiday, Samantha Upward loves buying anything artisanal that’s been made by peasants who have the good taste to employ local, fresh ingredients and natural materials. Chavs, being alienated from the means of production (as Karl Marx so cleverly pointed out), make nothing – all they do is consume. Mainly tasteless plastic tat. (Marx also said that they'd been tricked into being passive consumers - so I don't see why we should despise them for it.) Sam’s children insist on buying deep-fried doughnuts and plastic blow-up alligators. It keeps them happy, but what’s she going to say when she meets anyone she knows?

Upwards used to despise package holidays (because originally they flew chavs to Marbella), but now you can get a tailor-made walking holiday in Murmansk (or a cheap deal on the Italian Riviera) they take advantage. Stow-Crats use very upmarket travel firms run by the children of their friends, who learned about Okavango/Nova Sofala/Wasgamuwa on an expensive Gap year.

On camping holidays Upwards stay in yurts, tepees, tree-houses and roulottes – French gypsy caravans. It’s called “glamping”. They may even stay at a “gastro-glamping” site. They bring a copy of Annie Bell’s The Camping Cookbook – it tells you how to cook fish in grass, though it doesn’t tell you how to stop your children whining for baked beans. Weybridges and Teales stay at sites that are identical but have wooden chalets. Definitelies stay in park homes (static caravans) on a site with a paddling pool, shop and bar with entertainment in the evening.

Weybridges have picnics seated on foldaway chairs at a foldaway table. They sometimes do this in laybys to the scorn of passing Upwards who are looking for that elusive perfect picnic place and reducing each other to tears of hunger, boredom and weariness. They eventually find a lovely field by a stream and sit in a cowpat and get bitten by horseflies.

More here, here, here and here.