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Not better - just different, and proud to be so.


EVEN without a passion for chintz and bone china, a downtrodden but pleasant husband and a wardrobe of floral-print parachutes parading as dresses, it appears we all have a bit of Hyacinth Bucket in us.

That's "Bouquet" remember, from the oftrepeated BBC series Keeping Up Appearances, and whether you are Smith or Smythe there's no escaping it - you were born a snob.

All human beings were, according to scientists, who have found a part of the brain that "lights up" when we think about issues of class.

These little grey cells burst into life when we consider another person's social status or meet someone higher up the ladder than ourselves.

In some ways, this information comes as a relief, because I have been worrying for a while that I may be a closet snob and it's nice to discover I am not alone.

My concerns began when I started decorating my house, after moving in last July, and I realised I was no longer satisfied to be surrounded by magnolia painted walls and Ikea furniture.

Nine months later, and I have not yet managed to surround myself with Chippendale antiques, although I did go for Farrow and Ball in the living room.

But, while the transformation of our home has been a slow process - I am still blaming the dust on sanding the skirting boards - my worries about my potential character flaw have multiplied.

Why am I not satisfied with hall carpet, why must I insist on tiles? Why am I prepared to live with overgrown flower borders rather than cover the garden with B&Q decking?

One of my friends, who everyone assumes shops in Prada when a lot of her wardrobe is from Primark, insists I am being too hard on myself.

You can't be a snob if you eat fish fingers, goes her argument, based, it would appear, on the theory that the universe always balances itself out.

If you have organic veg delivered from a local farm shop, but don't mind tucking into chicken burger after a night in Heebie Jeebies, then the two things cancel each other out.

The same goes for Parma ham and crumpets, York stone patios and disposable barbecues, Agas and microwaves, expensive haircuts and do-it-yourself hair dye, Mulberry handbags and George at Asda jewellery, art-house films and romcoms, Shakespeare and chick-lit, Faberge eggs and Cadbury's Creme Eggs, a Picasso painting and an Athena print, a weekend in Paris and a trip to Blackpool Lights . . . and I have at some point in my life had (or wanted to have) all of those.

Besides, having taste doesn't making you a snob, my friend insists.

Although, I do suspect that thinking you have taste does.

Anyway, I have realised that social status-identifying grey matter or not, while I like my home to be the way I like it, I do not expect other people to feel the same way and nor do I judge them for their own choices.

I am only snobby about magnolia paint when it is my magnolia paint. Or at least I hope I am. And it's a funny kind of snobbery anyway, because I'm choosy about things that other people would turn their noses up at, and then (hopefully) trip over the next paving stone.

And, as my friend points out, I don't really envy other people their lot. I don't covet their possessions, whether they shop at Balenciaga or Bhs.

It's not that I am desperate to keep up with the Joneses, more that I want to be different to them, unless I am not, which is OK, too.

Perhaps it's easier to be an out-and-out Hyacinth Bucket than just a bit of one, although at least it's a burden I share with the rest of the human race.

One thing's for certain. While I may spend this evening perusing Farrow and Ball colour charts, I will not any time soon be announcing a name change - to Laura Davisse.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 30, 2008
Previous Article:I was bored but the grass definitely isn't greener.

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