Cultural Commentary

Earlier, I whined that no one took us seriously [HHPR#2]. One reason is a clash of cultures. Hubby and I grew from an amalgam of New England and Mid-Atlantic influences. New Englanders are know for being thrifty. Part of this is practical. If you live in a cold place where the roads get salted, why spend money on a car when the undercarriage will only get eaten to pieces? Part of the New England thriftiness is an existential hangover from the Puritans.

Just as rich Americans from old-money families in New England frown on ostentation – they might invest in land, furniture, and boats, for instance, but drive run-down old cars and wear ancient khakis and holey sweaters – so do many old-money Britons recoil from lavish displays.

The Anglo Files: A Field Guide To The British by Sarah Lyall [Norton 2008]

Add to that the concept of inverse snobbery. The idea that I am so cool I don’t have to prove to you how cool I am. The story goes that when my father was an up-and-coming yuppie in the big city, his co-workers established enormous ego-walls with framed diplomas from fancy schools. My father’s response was to hang a certificate of literacy he earned from the state DMV when he had to replace an expired license. When he could not prove he had graduated from high school, they made him take the test. Dunno if the tale is true, but it could be. My father was black belt at this maneuver. What you learn young stays with you.

Stir in a strain of outright cheapness (partly genetic on Hubby’s side) and add a dash of slovenliness. You get an outward appearance that is short on flash. I once wore a pair of barn boots so far into the ground that when I bought a replacement pair, the store owner (& friend) insisted I throw out my old pair then & there. I believe in getting my money’s worth.

When I try a horse, I’m neat, in good britches, with clean boots. However, I show up in a truck that is older than most of their horses. This does not promote confidence in sellers. The same ratty truck pulled Previous Horse to all of his shows down here. A dilapidated ride does not sit well with the high-tech rednecks in their pimped-out pickups. My turn-out in the ring is beyond reproach. Outside of the ring; less so. Over the years, this left a certain impression among the area trainers. When I started shopping for Rodney and said, “Okay, I’m ready to fork over big bucks for a deluxe model.”, no one believed me.

Thrift. Cheapness. Inverse snobbery. Call it what you will. The South does not grok it.

Are you flashy or frugal?


Finally, something good on TV.

4 thoughts on “Cultural Commentary

  1. I’m your typical New Englander and proud of it: I can squeeze a nickle ’til the Indian rides the buffalo. This spring when our E-fence did it’s annual failure to confine the dogs, my fence repair person oh so delicately made the comment that our land IS (cough, cough) just a hair “wild.” That’s putting it mildly. Three decades ago we were foolish enough to get two goats, but I soon discovered they’d rather chill with me and eat my garden than the abundant sundry of invasive species that flourish on our land. I’ve had multiple pets all my life, which means I can live with a certain level of chaos and mess. Two winters ago when we got the Big Snow we had some ice damage on our roof that left some minor ceiling stains in my newly refurbished kitchen. They’re still there. I figure they’ll provide a good story if anyone ever looks up!

    Adorable kitties!

  2. never flashy. frugal but need to be more so. you are cool – and thanks for all the help over the years

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