Shelley Bridgeman 's Opinion

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman: Classy v trashy, expensive v cheap

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The Queen is the epitome of both classiness and expensiveness according to  Tatler .
Photo / File
The Queen is the epitome of both classiness and expensiveness according to Tatler . Photo / File

I do love a good Tatler and the February issue with the Duchess of Cambridge on the cover was a no-brainer. It was in the supermarket trolley before you can say irrelevant, irreverent, superficial and thoroughly unconnected with life in Aotearoa - unless you count that photograph of Sean Fitzpatrick at an Olympic event on page 159 which actually kind of spoiled it for me since it's the sheer other-worldiness that's so captivating.

It looks like Fitzpatrick attended the worthiest, most sensible, event in London that month. The social pages also covered no-expense-spared glittering parties - attended by counts, countesses, lords, princesses and women called Tallulah, Cosima and Daisy -in places such as Chelsea, Mayfair and Bond Street.

Tatler magazine, part of the glamorous Condé Nast stable, has been dispensing high society gossip and satire in one form or another since 1709. One editor described it as an "upper class comic". The UK-based magazine documents the foibles and excesses of the moneyed set while unapologetically poking the borax at them.

Is it A: the ultimate guide to being posh? Or B: are they just having a laugh? The answer is C: Both of the above.

There are articles called 'DO PUT A SOCK IN IT!': How to muzzle beauty therapists who blither on and SEA FEVER! Booze, bonking and beautiful girls and boys ahoy! Must be the Yacht Week. But the most fascinating one has to be TO PEE OR NOT TO PEE? Why nothing says posh more than piddling in public.

Tatler has long been the ultimate guide to etiquette but bothers with nothing as dull as writing thank you notes or what to wear to a wedding. In the February issue you'll discover that "nothing shows power like weeing outside" and why Labradors are for toffs even though they sniff "at stationary crotches" and regard "the human leg a sex aid".

In an extended piece on country houses we learn that Cherie Blair "ascribed her final pregnancy to the fact that unpacking still occurs at Balmoral - she felt too embarrassed to include her Dutch cap in the prime ministerial luggage, knowing staff would see it."

But the magazine out-Tatler-ed itself with a matrix which slots people, activities and possessions along two spectrums: classy versus trashy and expensive versus cheap. The Queen - the epitome of both classiness and expensiveness - is at the top left of the matrix while dogging (British slang for an activity unrelated to Labradors) is in the lower right of the matrix where all things cheap and trashy belong.

Now I'd always thought that using the word "classy" instantly rendered the person uttering it the opposite of classy. But, then again, that snobbish little rule was probably invented by Tatler in the first place so I guess they're allowed to reclaim it for themselves just as the LGBT community reclaimed "queer".

So with apologies to Tatler, I've taken inspiration from their classy-versus-trashy-and-expensive-versus-cheap matrix and given it a local twist.

CLASSY & EXPENSIVE
Horse of the Year Show
Large donations to the Starship Foundation
Profoundly deaf MPs
Blonde highlights from Bettjemans

CLASSY & CHEAP
Driving along The Terrace wearing Ben 10 pyjamas
Cactus Kate's blog
Adopting an animal from the SPCA
The Hunger Games young adult novels

TRASHY & EXPENSIVE
Personalised number plates
Heli-skiing
Chrisco hampers
Botox

TRASHY & CHEAP
Saying "Nek Minnit"
Leaving your children in a casino car-park
Spray tans
Twitter

That was fun. Why don't you try it at home? Play nicely please.

Shelley Bridgeman

Dwelling on injustices, bad behaviour and modern day dilemmas.

Shelley Bridgeman is a truck-driving, supermarket-going, horse-riding mother-of-one who is still married to her first husband. As a Herald online blogger, she specialises in First World Problems and delves fearlessly into the minutiae of daily life. Twice a week, she shares her perspective on a pressing current issue and invites readers to add their ten cents’ worth to the debate.

Read more by Shelley Bridgeman

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