How to be middle class: half-heartedly trying to correct someone when they infer the wrong thing from something you’ve said
I sometimes have these awkward moments in conversation when the person I’m talking to takes something I’ve said, and infers something about me that is completely wrong. For example, I was recently telling an acquaintance about having eaten in an expensive restaurant. “Oh, I can’t afford places like that!” she said. The thing was, I had been taken there by my boss; I didn’t like this acquantaince thinking I was either showing off or rich enough to eat in the restaurant, so I tried to explain. This then ruined the flow of the conversation (“Well, my boss took me.” “Took you where?” “To the restaurant. I mean I didn’t pay.” “I’m sorry, I don’t follow you.” Etc etc). Later in the same conversation I was describing a friend who I think makes insensitive remarks, and the acquaintance said “Well, I’m not as thin-skinned as you.” I don’t think I am thin-skinned! And yet this time, to my annoyance, I let it go. I’m not sure what the right thing to do is, but I think that the stilted, half-hearted correction is without doubt the quintessential British middle-class response.
Flickr: Steve Unlikely