I was in a Costa coffee shop today and over heard two students arguing over which one of them looked ‘classy’. The two looked the same in pressed white shirts, black trousers, shiny Oxfords, with lots of product in their hair making any argument moot from the starting line. They appeared and sounded like, from my chair in the corner, the same way perhaps, they appeared and sounded like to everyone else: incredible twats. On the positive, what I came to see as what could be a rejected sitcom bit, made me think.
Whatever happened to the idea of class and what it is to be classy?
The definition seems to be lost totally on the modern world being reduced to what the host of some remedial bullshit talent competition show on prime-time television is wearing. ‘Oh, that’s a nice suit, you should get one’, hypothetically says X to her equally visually depressing husband Y – or wife Y, let’s not be exclusive to hetero relationships. Naturally Y would grunt nonchalantly and continue to pick his or her nose before flicking the discovery onto the laminate wood floor. ‘It’s classy – ooh he even did a twirl,’ X would continue referencing to the overpaid smarmy idiot on the television before he would ceremonially introduce the judges of the pre-packaged mass produced corporate talent show.
It’s not even a suit or look that can merit someone the title of classy. This evolving thought in my head seems to irritate me more and more as even the typical idea of classy or someone who is classy at times can conjure images of James Bond – ignoring all of the gratuitous misogyny, cliché plots and obviously, wanton murder. Those images in some sense have over taken the idea of classiness and captured the imaginations of the new post-modern fedora wearing sub-culture that has allowed Japanese hentai to become a lucrative industry in the West. Typically found lurking in the fringes of society in a student union’s live action role-playing society, these fedora wearing, neck bearded creatures call for more ‘men’s rights’ whatever the fuck they are and look down their upturned noses at anyone who doesn’t see the merit of masturbating over animated magical ponies.
Like anything, it’s clearly a spectrum, like sexuality only people don’t have tuxedo and gin parades down high streets filled with red faced middle aged homophobes or to extend the analogy, those who would not be considered classy on any level or are in denial about where they fall on the spectrum. While admittedly the comparison is shaky, there’s merit in it. For example, those who appear on aesthetically tacky holiday dating shows would consider themselves classy for the product in their hair and the designer diamond studs in their over-tanned ears. Those designer brands themselves have become a joke, whether or not it’s found amusing is dependent on where the audience member falls on the class spectrum – a term I have hereby coined. In cases of those who adorn themselves with an excessive amount of makeup and white gold jewellery from mid-range high street shops are considered ‘basic’ by those who would perhaps identify themselves as part of the hipster sub-culture, which time has not been kind to.
Perhaps the conclusion to take away from it is that classiness is in the eye of the beholder like beauty or what is the acceptable amount of money to spend on supermarket wine. From the varying taste of the pony loving masturbators to stagnated coach potatoes absorbing (not-so) reality shows; it can be concluded that either it doesn’t exist entirely or that classiness has far too much of a broad definition that people use and abuse as a religious text. While arguably the concept of classy is a mentality or state of being like an uppity Los Angeles yoga programme, I believe it to be a construct created by society – words I hate myself thinking about – like the idea of male and female job roles, extenuated by the dreaded media machine.