Related Posts with Thumbnails
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
This form does not yet contain any fields.

    WHITE VAIN MAN AND NO-SUGAR BABE: JAMIE & LOUISE

     

    In their early thirties, Jamie and Louise (“J” and “Lou”) remain just as interested in shopping, fashion and looking good as they were in their twenties. In fact, despite their increasing age and the economic recession, they are if anything younger-looking and higher-spending than they were five years ago – a fact which owes something to the power of denial, and something else to Louise’s new business interest – more of which later.

     Sunbeds are essential

    They have one son (Louise only wanted one), Rio, who is at a good state primary – they made sure the new house they moved to in 2007 (they made A MINT on their old three-bed semi, though the mortgage on the four-bed detached new build is a bit of a squeeze) was close enough to guarantee him a place. They were going to go private but decided against it – Louise didn’t fancy competing with the stuck-up mothers, though they cut no ice with her. As she says, you don’t get intimidated when you’ve booked them in for a wax, babes.

    Jamie works with his dad, Trevor, in their commercial air-con business. It was booming until a year or so ago – now they’re just about scraping by, to be honest. Louise, meanwhile, is doing very well, making more than Jamie. A smart cookie with a beautician and nail bar in town, in 2006 she got someone to come in and do Botox. It went mad, and she launched her Bo-to Babes party service on the back of it. To cut a long story short, she now has new premises and offers a full range of surgical enhancements. Everyone says her people get a really natural effect. She’s even done Jamie, though he doesn’t tell anyone. Jamie’s mum was very sceptical, but now she comes as well!

    Louise and her friends have changed in the past five years, but it’s not just having more money that has done it. Around the time Sex in the City was achieving critical mass on TV and Grazia was launching, the girls like Lou, who wore Von Dutch caps and sexy slogan T-shirts, began to split into two camps. One group – many of whom became The Chaveau Riches (Page 121) – essentially took Jordan as a role model. The other – which included Lou – went upmarket following Victoria Beckham
    (a woman for whom Lou has profound respect).

    The Beckham group abandoned hair extensions, and swapped designers such as Versace or D&G for Chanel and Mulberry. They cooled on the gym and took up Pilates, wearing Stella McCartney for Adidas gear. They took down their boob implants from an E to a C cup and covered their midriffs, but took to dressing up to the nines for even the most everyday occasions. (“Jeez babe, you’re only going to Sainsbury’s!” says J, but Lou is no fool. She loves Jamie and she knows he loves her and Rio, but men stray; look at her dad. You gotta keep ’em interested.) The Beckhamites can’t quite renounce fake tan and sunbeds yet though. The true fashionista will have pale skin, but try as she might, Louise just can’t give up the St Tropez.

    In short, Louise, a turbo-charged consumer of the Noughties boom, is still shopping for England, but in a more consciously sophisticated way that allows her to look down on the more “obvious”. (Cheryl Cole, by the way, spans both camps; she is pretty and nice enough for Louise, but Louise, with her new sophistication, knows Cheryl gives herself away a bit by still wearing hair extensions.)

    Jamie and Louise’s friends at The Queens (an old pub just outside the city centre, refitted in a minimalist style but still classically English and doing fantastic barbecues and mojitos in the summer) still say they’re like the local Posh and Becks, though Jamie thinks Lou looks more like Cheryl Cole. He wouldn’t fancy Victoria at all – far too skinny. Mentioning this at a certain point in the evening in The Queens can often lead to long discussions of everyone’s sex lives; Jamie and Lou and their mates still consider it highly important to keep things interesting in the bedroom, and treat sex much like previous generations treated hobbies.

    Jamie’s fashion sense has gone in the opposite direction to Lou’s in some ways. He’s begun to follow younger men’s lead in embracing the High Street and its disposable fashion (Topman, UNIQLO, H&M and, most of all, COS), which means he changes his look more often; sticking with Stan Smiths, dark jeans and Lacoste shirts is for his older brother, Adam. More important than the clothes, though, is his body; a devoted reader of Men’s Health, Jamie takes diet and supplements seriously, and really enjoys going to his private gym (he knows the owner – him and his dad did the air con, so he’s always sure of an extra-fluffy white towel, as he jokes).

    Clothes and bod aside, of course, his pride and joy is still his car, these days a TVR Tuscan S. He’s actually itching to change the TVR (Jamie hates having cars for more than three years; he just thinks the shape starts to look old), and would quite fancy an Audi R8, though money’s likely to be a bit too tight for that in the foreseeable. Lou, meanwhile, has swapped her Mini for a Discovery 4 – she doesn’t do anything by halves. They thought about a Range Rover Sport, but decided they were becoming “a bit chavvy”. It’s important to be able to spot these things coming.

    How to recognise White Vain Man

    At work: nondescript single-breasted suit by Boss, Oliver Sweeney slip-on shoes with steel snaffle, tone on tone silver-grey shirt’n’tie combo, incorporating Gianfranco Zola-style fat tie knot.

    Off duty: Polo Ralph Lauren; Lacoste; Paul Smith jeans; Stone Island; Adidas trainers; Gap hoodie for round the house.

    Accessories:

    Tag watch (21st birthday gift from parents), might trade up to a Rolex soon; Native American tattoo on shoulder, only visible in summer or at the gym when WVM always wears a wife-beater to show off his biceps.

    Hair:

    Style usually has a name – fin, ironic mullet, Britpop mop, crop - trademarked (and quickly discarded) seven years ago in an East London style bar, subsequently popularised by Premiership footballers and one-hit wonder boybanders, before filtering down to WVM.

    Skin:

    Tanned by Thailand, moisturised by Clinique, shorn by Gillette, deodorised by Lynx, fragranced by Aqua di Gio.

    He couldn't live without:

    • Sony Ericsson T610
    • Sky Sports
    • Stella Artois
    • PlayStation II
    • Pornographic emails
    • Chicken bhuna
    • Jack and Coke
    • Red Bull
    • FHM
    • Top Gear
    • MUTV
    • Domino’s Pizza
    • Flatscreen technology
    • D’Angelo
    • Louise
    • His mum
    • His mates

    Heroes

    1. David Beckham
      Seriously, if that Rebecca Loos was trying it on, what man could say no?
    2. Robbie Williams
      Just bought the Knebworth gig on DVD
    3. Jay Kay
      Really knows his cars. Used to shag Denise Van Outen
    4. Al Pacino
      Wicked in Scarface (“Say hello to my leetle friend”)
    5. Johnny Vaughan
      Met him once at the Spurs. Really nice bloke

    Pin-ups

    1. Rachel Stevens
      I mean, you would, wouldn’t you?
    2. Louise Redknapp
      Seems really down to earth
    3. Jennifer Ellison
      Looks dirty
    4. Kelly Brook
      What’s she doing these days?
    5. Mariah Carey
      Great set of lungs on it

    How to recognise No-Sugar Babe

    • Jeans from Seven or Miss Sixty
    • Handkerchief tops by Moto
    • Strappy heels
    • Top Shop slogan T-shirts (“Porn Star”, “Tart”, “Bitch”)
    • Long, straight hair (possibly extensions)
    • Mac cosmetics
    • Spray-on tan by St Tropez
    • Rimmel
    • Juicy tracksuit
    • Karen Millen dress for weddings
    • Von Dutch Baseball cap
    • Tattoo of her name – in Mandarin - on the small of her back
    • Good teeth (she wore braces until she was 16)
    • Puma gym bag
    • Exposed midriff, even in midwinter
    • Louis Vuitton handbag
    • Gucci purse
    • Pelmet skirt from New Look
    • Toe-ring
    • YSL sunglasses
    • Tiffany wedding ring
    • Brazilian

    No Sugar Girl can't live without

    • Reality TV (BB, The Games, I’m a Celebrity)
    • Soaps (EastEnders, Hollyoaks, Footballer’s Wives)
    • Heat magazine
    • Blockbuster nights (The Fast and the Furious for him, Legally Blonde for her)
    • Spring onion Pringles
    • Smirnoff Ice
    • Leg waxing once a week
    • Mini eggs
    • Scented candles

    No-Sugar Babe's heroes

    • Her mum - she’s just such a strong woman
    • Princess Diana - she really cared about people
    • Posh Spice - for services to fashion
    • Cat Deeley - seems so positive
    • Rachel Stevens - done really well for herself

    Hearthrobs

    1. 1 David Beckham
      She doesn’t believe he slept with that tart Rebecca Loos
    2. 2 Gary Lucy
      Phwoar!
    3. 3 Simon from Blue
      Amazing eyes
    4. 4 Justin Timberlake 
      Any man who can dance like that…
    5. 5 Jude Law 
      He’s gorgeous! 

    Music 

    WVM: 50 Cent, Robbie 

    GG: Kylie, Dido 

    Books

    Him: Roy Keane’s autobiography

    Her: Harry Potter

    Cinema

    Lord of the Rings (amazing!)

    Holidays

    Ibiza, Florida, Thailand

    Other Brand Affiliations

    • Thomas Cook
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • Sainsbury’s (love those Jamie Oliver ads)
    • Vodafone (Man Utd sponsors!)
    • Hotmail
    • Ikea
    • McDonald’s
    • Evian (one of Jamie’s workmates has a daughter called Evian)
    • Alpine car stereos
    • Disney
    • The News of the World
    • ITV1

    At Home With Jamie and Louise

    Jamie and Louise live in a three-bedroom, semi-detached house in a cul de sac. The interior appears to have been modelled on one of the houses showcased on MTV Cribs. It is remorselessly clean and tidy and startlingly anonymous, apart from the extraordinary number of family photographs and the bank manager-scaringly ostentatious amount of kids toys littered around (despite the fact that Rio is only two and a half)