You and me meet at a party. After an awkward pause, I say,
“So what class ARE you?”
Sound familiar? No. But being in love with a working class boy’s made me think about the whole class thing – is there such a thing, how do you define it, does it matter any more?
Lots of people will say no, it’s irrelevant these days. After all, who the hell thought up the term ‘working class’? Doesn’t everybody work? Nowadays it’s more about what you work AT – ‘Oh, I’m a stockbroker’, ‘I own BHP’, ‘I drive a roller on the road to Wagga’. Then there’s those people who don’t work ‘I’m an actor’, ‘I sell dope’, ‘I get the dole’.
Or maybe about when you finished school. My baby’s got a diploma, my best friend’s got a PhD. She reads Proust (mostly so she can say she has), he reads James Patterson.
My sweetie has some of the stereotypical traits of the working class boy. He works hard and can do just about anything blue-collar – drive a forklift, flip a burger, dig a trench. He doesn’t like bludgers. He’s loyal, deeply romantic and family-minded and has a firm idea of what being ‘a man’ entails. He likes being the possessor of muscles. He doesn’t care about politics and doesn’t like discussing abstruse subjects.
On the other hand, he likes foreign films, grows his hair long (and plaits it), wears tie-dye shirts, doesn’t have a trace of sexism or racism, and is very far from stupid. Still there’s a bit of a disconnect between us (not that it matters). I’ve dated Africans and Asians and Philippinos and Colombians and really it’s all the same – it’s not a class difference, it’s a culture thing. Our lot sit around having intellectual arguments for the fun of it, his lot couldn’t think of anything much less fun. Our lot like classical music, his lot like rock. Our lot feel sorry for those less fortunate, his lot think those less fortunate are usually lazy good-for-nothings. Our lot eat garlic and know what quinoa is, his lot think they’re going out on a limb with spinach and fetta rolls.
I do love my working class boy!