Wednesday, 22 February 2012

In which I discover I am Not Quite The Thing

So, had to share this one with you, especially after my previous post. As you know, I’m experimenting with different crafts/ arts and seeing where it takes me, and I was at my art class earlier (next week we’re doing reflections and I’ve got to take a reflective object. If anyone can think of anything interesting that I can get in my bag and which will save me taking in a spoon, I’m all ears).
(Middle one mine) - this is an appropriate pursuit for the middle classes (although I suspect mine was a bit bright)
I was chatting to a couple of other women in the class at break time. Now. Cambridge, as a place, is in many many ways very lovely: I meet lots of really nice, interesting people, there’s always lots to do, and it’s somehow a place that’s very open to new experiences and new ideas. And then, very occasionally, I meet people who are snobs *cough* Partner's ex-girlfriend *cough*. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen sometimes that it is made very clear to me that I am Not Quite The Thing. Since I am by now fairly sure that whatever The Thing is I am probably having more fun not being it, it just makes me laugh a bit but yes, had one this morning, whoosh.
Knitting this would not be an appropriate pursuit for the middle classes. I might just as well start watching The Only Way Is Essex, wait, oops
So, we were chatting about how long we had been painting, and I said, cheerfully, that I had only just started, but that I did some other creative stuff and it was quite a different experience; to which they said, what, and I started off on my litany of all the mad things I do. ‘I knit…’ And readers, I got no further. One of the women said ‘Knit?’ in a tone just like Lady Bracknell and the handbag (really, she did), and looked at me just as if I had marched in and announced a liking for polyamory and then mooned at her. ‘That’s right’ I said, cheerfully, because I am quite hard, also if anyone ever tries to outsnob me I have the killer blow: because, I can always say ‘and my partner is a medieval latinist of international repute’ and that is the kind of thing that works in Cambridge. ‘I knit’.

The woman visibly quailed, because clearly this is not something you should mention in the hallowed presence of Oils. I warmed to my subject, because, I do not take offence at people unless they actually insult me deliberately, as sometimes people are just a bit gauche. I didn’t have long to wait, though. ‘Yes’ I said, with a smile. ‘I knit very intricate lace designs [look. People. Allow me some poetic license, also, never put yourself down in front of people who are waiting to do it for you] and fairisle. It’s very interesting and creative’. ‘Well’ the woman said with a small horrified laugh. ‘Knitting is not something I would ever do’. ‘Really?’ I said, politely. ‘Normally people tell me about the lovely things their grandmothers used to knit’ (they do normally tell me that). ‘Well’ she said, as if I'd actually dissed her family. ‘Knitting isn’t something I or anyone I know would ever do’. ‘What a shame’ I said, politely. ‘Because knitting is so incredibly fashionable these days’ at which another woman backed me up that actually everyone these days was knitting. ‘Well’ the first woman said. ‘I don’t know about that. I wouldn’t care about… [tinkling laugh] fashion. I shall go and continue with my painting’.
O the silkiness of Natural Dye Studio Precious! But, this would be anathema to the Serious Artist. Having this yarn is worse than watching TOWIE. It is actually as bad as getting Vajazzled. It is directly morally equivalent
Readers, I am polluting that class with my shallow knowledge of craft (and fashion), and all I can say is, it is a good job I did not announce my intention of tie-dyeing a quilt panel this Friday, because, it may well have knocked that woman out, and who wants the moral dilemma of whether or not to have a go at CPR in a draughty church hall? I’m afraid I am going to continue with my class, though, because it’s a lovely atmosphere (no, it is), and the teacher’s great.

But, next week, I may be wearing my Jaali.

15 comments:

Alittlebitsheepish said...

Do it! Wear the shawl of much beautifulness and report back if she asks where you got it.

Susie said...

I think I will wear it. I don't think she'll be able to ask me about it as that would be caring about FASHION, but I could always strangle her with it in the break room.

Rachel said...

I am so impressed by your ability to deal with the snob. I had a similar conversation last autumn and utterly failed to stand up to the woman. Mind you, I don't knit intricate lace ;-)

I just re-read Peter Pan (it's not at all how I remember it) and Hook is plagued by fears that he is Not Quite The Thing (or not Good Form, which is much the same, isn't it?) so there you have it - being The Thing is an aspiration for fictional pirates!

Vivianne said...

LOL Vajazzling could be Performance Art ....if you do it right ;-)

Lynne said...

Good for you!!! That snobby so-and-so can stick her paint brushes where they fit!! Please please wear your gorgeous shawl, just to see if she dares say anything.

Grateful4Crochet said...

You had a very impressive response, although the polyamory and mooning would have also been super!!

I also really liked your question number 6 on your last post, which was really interesting.

Nana Go-Go said...

Clearly New Money, with issues....Old Money would never behave in such a rude and impolite fashion. I've heard of Balamory but never polyamory....what is it, if I may ask such a 'Not Quite the Thing' question?

Tink Edwards said...

Oh good lord I just laughed so hard at the vajazzling comment. I actually had to pause the TV and read your post to my boyfriend :)

It amazes me how rude people can be sometimes. Good for you for standing up for yourself!

Susie said...

Polyamory (I may not be spelling that right) is when you have relationships with more than one person, sadly I don't have the energy (or the emotional literacy I have to say). I might still moon at her next week, though ;-).

Thank you everyone for nice comments, she did take me back a bit! ;-). (Vivianne. Don't tempt me).

The Foggy Knitter said...

Dare you to knit in the break of your next class! Thank you for writing excellent posts that make me laugh when I need a laugh :)

Ness said...

Good for you telling her off! You just wear your gorgeous knits to class and swirl that pretty shawl in her face a couple times!

And if I do say so myself, as a Classicist, Latin and knitting go very well together. :)

henny designs said...

LOVE this blog post .... go you!!
Love Henny x

kristieinbc said...

It's good you don't spin (at least I don't ever remember you mentioning you do!). That probably would have put that woman right over the edge. You handled it perfectly.

Alison said...

I came across your blog (I also live in Cambridge) and this made me laugh very hard. I used to think I was vaguely middle class before I moved to Cambridge, but then I soon realised that (metaphorically speaking) I scraped my knuckles along the pavement with every step. This is partly because I am Scottish (= hard, uncouth, scary, Not Quite One of Us). In scotland of course I am from that nice suburb outside Glasgow (= soft, nancy, fake, etc). You can't win.

Anonymous said...

What an oafy oiky sounding women. Where are her middle class manners? No one needs to justify any arts or craft or anything in between to anyone else. Just do it because you like it. I wish I could say that about my partner (but I don't even have one). Do wear your shawl and take in some fair isle and knit with two hands (if you do it that way). That will show them. Art can be decorative, useful or both. Knitting is both.

Anyway take no notice of the silly old bat. You can paint AND knit. What can she do?