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The Book

Out now at Amazon | Waterstones

Middle Class Handbook on Twitter
Chattering Class

Prince Harry

Even republicans approve, surely?

Microwaving tea

Recommended by scientists, apparently. Disgusting

No televised election debates

Disappointing; we were rather looking forward to May vs The Sturge

Broadchurch

Olivia Coleman = nailed-on Future National Treasure

Spring Bank holidays

Too close together! Very bad!

Bin-mageddon

“I queued for THREE BLOODY HOURS at B&Q for a new recycling bin! The entire town’s in CHAOS”

S-Town

To be listened to whole on a long journey for maximum effect

Using a proper paper map

Strangely satisfying

The “Flash” Flash ad

It’s back! Possibly the best ever singing dog in an advert ever

Crap tacos

Reheated, with too much chilli: middle-class kebabs, basically

Latest Comments
The Periodic Table of the Middle Class
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    Wednesday
    Nov252015

    Is it ever really OK to lick a yoghurt lid?

    It's a question most likely to strike you mid-lick. With a quick glance around you, you carry on, the pleasure of not wasting any of the yoghurt outweighing the shame and uncertainty, the question lingering as you tongue the last bit stuck to the lid: is it really OK that I'm doing this?

    The Naomi Campbell ads for Müller a few years ago went a long way to making the lid-lick more acceptable. However, there are limits and nuances. When eating a Fruit Corner-style yoghurt, for example, it’s OK to lick the yoghurt itself, but not so OK to slurp up the syrupy fruit bit. And in no circumstance must you ever take a taste from the replaceable lid of a large, sharing pot – even if you’re the only one eating from it.

    And with any yoghurt, you don’t want to be taking more than two licks if you're in public – one is ideal, two looks acceptably indulgent, three is gluttonous and infantile, frankly. Even if you don’t manage to get all of the pleasantly concentrated goo from around the edges, never ever go beyond that second lick.

    With any luck, the lid-licking dilemma will soon be a thing of the past, if news of technological advances in this area is to be believed. But where technology marches forward, nostalgia is hot on its heels. All while marvelling at liquid-repelling lids and how far yoghurt has come, MCs will surely complain that the yoghurt-eating experience is just not the same without the treat of licking the lid – and the accompanying dollop of shame.

    Saturday
    Nov212015

    How to stop pickled onions rolling off your plate

     

    It is very unfortunate that so many small, round hard things are so very tasty. Spherical treats such as pickled onions, radishes, cherry tomatoes and various nuts are all, of course, delicious accompaniments to savoury foods, but can be devilishly difficult to eat. One bit of pressure from a knife and fork and zip – off they shoot, leaving the plate and whizzing across the table. This then creates a double dilemma of how to retrieve them – there is just no easy way – and then what to do with them once retrieved? Side plate? Side of the plate? Dog?

    Careful cutting is one solution, but it can go wrong. Sitting the thing in a little bit of mayo may also work, but who wants mayo on a pickled onion? We hear that those in the know keep a bit of side salad to hand to place over the item. That way, you cut into lettuce first, which will absorb much of the impact before you pierce the food underneath. Any other solutions – as well as round-food-based horror stories and embarrassments – very welcome.

    Friday
    Nov202015

    Chattering Class: Cheers and Jeers

    Waitrose Christmas ad

    No use pretending this isn't exactly what we want Christmas to look like

    Tinder CEO's misuse of 'sodomy'

    Highly embarrassing

    Takeaway spending went up during Rugby World Cup

    And we're struggling to get back to home cooking, tbh

    'White' cappuccino

    The cool way to request a capu without chocolate

    Campylobacter in supermarket chickens

    It's hard to keep up with the advice on how concerned to be

    McDonald's secret 'Monster Mac'

    Will always be too ashamed to order it

    Fargo

    Just so good

    Having to order twice in a café, first with a barista, then at the till

    Really awkward and annoying

    Tuesday
    Nov172015

    HOW TO BE MC AT THE TILL: 'JUST THIS, PLEASE'

    There’s always a slightly awkward moment for MCs when we need to pay for a single item or something small in a shop or café. There's an absence of script here, but we can’t just hand over our Kit-Kat to the newsagent or our panini to the Pret barista in an embarrassed silence. If the barista attempts to upsell or we're asked if we want anything else, “No, thank you” seems, oddly, too blunt. 

    The solution we’ve arrived at is to say: “Just this, please”. Saying “just” at this juncture adds a suitably middle-class hint of apology and self-effacement – “I’m so sorry to be making such a measly purchase” or “I do hope you don’t mind me taking up your time by buying something from you”. 

    Another interpretation is that it’s an assertion of virtuous self-restraint: “I’m not really a greedy self-indulgent so-and-so. I’m having just this.”

    This expression has become such a staple element in till-side transactions that it can even, quite ridiculously, accompany fairly lavish purchases. A “just this, please” referring to anything from a triple-chocolate-chip muffin with fondant centre to a £400 Dyson in John Lewis is not unheard of.

    Self-indulgence and self-effacement are never too far apart in middle-class word and deed.

    Flickr: SuperlativeQuip

    Friday
    Nov132015

    DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: THE ART OF SNEAKING BACK ONLINE

    There are many awkward situations online, each requiring their own etiquette. Whether or not to tell someone there's a typo in their post, for example, and how to deal with the follower who tiresomely responds to literally everything you tweet – we will address these matters in due course. But first, how does a blogger or avid social media user return to writing fresh posts and/or tweets after a prolonged absence? What’s the correct form here?

    Always keen to put forward ideas in such debates, we here offer some options for sneaking back online. As for why we’re thinking of this right now – we really have no idea (see option 5 below). 

    1. Apologise with full excuse note

    A favourite of bloggers. “Sorry,” the post usually runs, “I haven’t posted for such a long time, I’ve been so busy moving house/having a baby/with life in general, etc etc.” Nice and honest, but can seem unnecessarily fussy. “It happens to us all,” the reader may want to say, “get over yourself.” 

    2. Pick up where you left off

    Make no reference to the fact that you appear to have spent the last six months in outer space. This is the easiest option – but it's a bit creepy, frankly. Your reader is likely to be left feeling suspicious about you and everything you subsequently post. 

    3. Redesign your site and announce a 'relaunch'

    The idea is to look as though you’ve been busy on an overhaul, and now are back with renewed purpose. This is OK, we suppose, but do make it a proper redesign and not just a change in the colour scheme of your Wordpress template. 

    4. Be jolly

    “Hello, remember me?” you might want to ask, hoping for a warm welcome. Be careful with this one; bear in mind a possible answer could be: “No, who on earth are you, get out of my timeline”.

    5. Be meta and anthropological
    Write a piece about the awkwardness of coming back to post on a blog after not posting on a blog, in order to divert attention from the fact that you are one of the returning non-posters. Ridiculous! Seriously, what sort of chancers would try that?

    Flickr: TheTruthAbout

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