The Chavtastic Snob

‘I can’t come in with you, I know I’ll do inappropriate laughing. I’ll wait here.’

Husband went off to see if there was a room available.

‘Yup. £40. I didn’t see the room, but I saw the hall, bar and breakfast room.’

‘And?’ I asked hesitantly.

‘Well, it’s pretty chintzy, but it’s cleanish,’ Husband replied.

‘Okay babe. Hey, it’s only one night.’

And all the other B&Bs we’d seen had their no vacancies’ signs in the windows.

I walked into the room and there it was – all that inappropriate laughter spewed out. The 1970s formica furniture and faded net curtains laughed right back at me.

There was a door that could lead to an en-suite. I opened it optimistically – it was just a toilet and a sink. I assessed the cleanliness status. I was reminded of the many times on our motorhome adventure when I would go armed into campsite bathrooms with my cleaner. I continued my assessment and picked up the towels.

‘Look at these,’ I shouted out to Husband.

I had never seen towels this thin – easily thinner than your average tea towel – and they were definitely missing the freshly laundered smell. I wandered upstairs to check out the shared bathroom; I knew that would be my only visit.

We quickly unpacked and went out to explore Mablethorpe (which is just up the coast from Skegness). I was relieved Husband had advised me to wear trainers, although even in my casual attire I felt self-conscious. We walked up the high street with neon lights flashing, the brash sounds of amusement arcades blasting out, shops selling rock in the shape of full English breakfasts, and takeaways offering fresh fish and chips. It had everything you picture when you think of a British seaside resort.

I want that one…

We decided on Dave’s ‘award winning’ Restaurant for dinner (very curious about what awards he had won). It was heaving with families. I decided to be brave and order a glass of wine (yes, I am back on the vino). I was glad I had set my expectations to low. But I was fascinated by this place; we never go anywhere that caters for families. I was also mesmerised by Dave working the room. He charmed little girls with extra strawberry sauce for their ice-creams, encouraged Mums to treat themselves to a banana split and made sure Dads’ beer glasses were never empty.

But it wasn’t just the family nature of the restaurant that was unusual for us, it was also the type of people. And even with our dressed down look we still stood out: we just looked so, well, middle class. And as we chatted and giggled at our Mablethorpe experience, tempted to throw the chav label around, we were forced to face our class prejudices.

I resisted Dave’s attempts to lead me astray with the pudding menu, and we headed back to our room. I found myself lifting the duvet and checking the bed (I’m not sure what I was going to do if I didn’t like what I saw), the sheets looked and smelt washed, and were certainly not in the same sorry state as the towels. We got into bed with our books (I know) just as the sound of Dancing Queen came blaring out of one of the rooms.

The next day we walked into the breakfast room, and again we stood out. We nodded and said hello to our fellow breakfast companions, and I had some entertaining banter with the man on the next table, struggling to not notice the missing teeth and thick gold chain round his neck. Again, I caught myself with uncomfortable thoughts.

Our impromptu trip to Mablethorpe was a lot of fun. It’s not our kind of place, but it’s our nearest seaside and we wanted to see the sea! We enjoyed walking along the seafront, admiring the views at Gibraltar Point, playing games in the arcades, visiting the Seal Sanctuary, and eating cockles on the pier. And the dreadful B&B just added to our amusement (although I’m sure there are plenty of lovely – and clean – B&Bs in Mablethorpe). But it also turned into something more.

Hello!

I am middle class. This is not good or bad – it just is. And like most of us, I generally spend my time with people who are from a similar background to me. I am also guilty of watching middle class dramas and comedies which have preyed on the chav stereotype. But where’s the line? Laughing at the TV is one thing, but laughing at people in real life is something else.

Husband and I probably live very different lives to most of the people we saw in Skegness and Mablethorpe this weekend, but different isn’t better – it’s just different.

As a society, it feels like we have become sensitive towards sexism, racism, and ageism, but what about classism? It seems socially acceptable to make comments about people’s class: chav bashing is commonplace, as is making fun of upper class people, for being posh.

I don’t know where the line is between humour and offensive – but I do know my trip to Mablethorpe has made me reflect on my own prejudices.

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11 thoughts on “The Chavtastic Snob

  1. Hiya Kaz,
    Hope that’s not too working class? 😉
    Glad you “enjoyed” your English seaside experience & I agree I hate the bozo’s and all the trappings of them!…………..Oh hell, you might think I’m a chav, I don’t know where the borders are drawn. I’d class myself as a working class snob, you know sort of in the middle, can stand a bit of muck but hate a load in yer face! 🙂
    Class system, it’s a wonderful discussion point!. I think the higher you are up the class ladder the more you notice the class ladder!. For example, you know the TV programme “The Royal Family”? well it’s humour is directed straight a the chavvy couch potatoes. Also Harry Enfield’s “The Slobs”. Really slapstick obvious stuff!. Yet who laugh’s at it most?……you guessed it, those very people it’s taking a rise out of!. Now, BIG question is this:. Are they unaware they are like that? or just too thick to get the gag?.
    And the moral of this story is, if your middle clarse, always go to Monaco not Mablethorpe!.

    P.S. after a lay off just when you thought it was safe, I turn up again! Wiv me werkin class ackcent.
    Hope you doing ok?
    Rog xx

    • Hey Stranger, how are you? You still rocking? Hope so.

      I quite like being called Kaz actually. What does this mean?!

      Oh Rog, I always enjoy your comments. Yes, I think class is an interesting discussion – and such a British thing.

      ‘Hey, Husband. Rog says we should got to Monaco!’

      Xx

  2. My nearest seaside resort is Skegness too which was a shock after moving from York and the lovely North Yorkshire coastline. The first thing I asked my husband was ‘where are the cliffs?’ Just so used to cliffs and seagulls thought all seasides were the same but apparently not.

    After much exploring we found a lovely place on the coast called Sutton on Sea which is less commercialised as Skeggy and Mablethorep and also Anderby Creek which has the most fantastic beach and nothing else!

    We still dip into Skeggy now and again (I like people watching, but watch all classes) but I prefer Cleethorpes as there is a little street full of designer shops so you can have a bit of everything, balance is the key after all:)

    Great blog thanks for sharing

    SARAH
    x

    • Hi Sarah

      My, I bet that was quite the shock!

      Ah yes, we drove through Sutton on Sea and we walked along the promenade in Cleethorpes on the Sunday: it was definitely posher than Skeggy!

      Oh I love people watching too. And as you say, love watching all kinds: Where are they going? What are their lives like? Are they happy? What are they wearing?

      Always lovely to see you here. Hope things are cool with you…

      Xx

    • Hey…

      Yeah, hadn’t really thought of the web like that, but you’re right (of course!).

      As I was writing this I was thinking it’s a very British thing. I’ve never been to Australia (I have been as far as New Zealand) but it’s on ‘the’ list – the long list!

      Hope you okay…

      Xx

  3. One should enjoy one prejudices from time to time. I do. A laugh is ok when you feel almost compelled to hug the suckers. Tolerating and accepting are two different matters.

    • Hi Erik

      Ooh, are you setting up a new blog?

      Well, I laughed at how awful the wine was! 🙂 Yes, I’m sure most of what we laugh at has roots in prejudice and difference. And we’re not gonna stop the laughing are we…

      I guess it’s trying to stay on the right side of the line.

      Thank you for coming by…

      Xx

      • Did I tell you? About my blog?
        Well, I’ll try to write a blog about the important 20% of our lives (80/20 for personal use) AND the mechanisms of burn-out as many of us knows it, transforming a possible burn-out to something else entirely. I can do that, so I’ll try to be of some use. There will be as much salt and lemon as there will be sugar. That’s one, the technical one. I’ve got some 60 articles ready to roll out.
        Then there will be another, more for fun, like essays with a twist, not so much 7-steps-to-immidate-riches, but more something to read for amusement and when the laughter is done, you’ll be a little wiser and a little more gentle with yourself and others. I’ll do unspeakable thing to the English language.
        For my amusement mostly (entirely) both of them. You see, in Denmark, writers are very popular, but nobody cares much for books. So I thought I’d just leave that part out, and only write myself some pretty good book reviews to save everybody some time.

        • No, you didn’t tell me – I clicked on your name as it was a different address to last time (was basically being nosy!).

          Wow – 60 posts ready to go. You have been busy.

          Yes, I know a little about burnout 😉

          Well, good luck with both of your new ventures. How exciting.

  4. Pingback: Ain’t Love Grand | The Reinvention Tour

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