Home / Living / How lower middle class are YOU? Etiquette expert reveals the 7 things – from coasters to air fresheners – that act as telltale signs

How lower middle class are YOU? Etiquette expert reveals the 7 things – from coasters to air fresheners – that act as telltale signs

ARE you lower middle class? A snooty etiquette expert has revealed seven everyday items many of us own – which he reckons are telltale signs.

If William Hanson was poking around your house, these are the objects which would expose you as ‘lower middle class’ in his mind – and the list includes everything from coasters to air fresheners.

 Etiquette expert William Hanson has revealed 7 everyday items which he thinks expose you as 'lower middle class' Etiquette expert William Hanson has revealed 7 everyday items which he thinks expose you as ‘lower middle class’

William’s comments come as the Queen was labelled “distinctly lower middle class” by author Zadie Smith last week.

She said Her Majesty’s habits of reading the Racing Post and eating cereal out of a Tupperware box act as class markers.

Now William’s waded into the debate with a few of his own, and you won’t believe what’s on his list…

1. Mug trees

“Owners of this piece of far from kitsch kitchen clutter clearly did not pay attention at school during Biology. Fruit grows on trees. Mugs do not.

 Mugs don't grow on trees, so William says to ditch the mug rackAlamy Mugs don’t grow on trees, so William says to ditch the mug rack

“For a start, you should not have that many mugs in your house that you need a mini-hatstand for them.

“Tea and coffee should be drunk from fine bone china cups and saucers, not something thick, clunky and mass produced you were given by the local commercial radio station. (Trust me here, tea and coffee taste so much better in a more delicate vessel.)

“Time to get rid of the mug tree – and the mugs, while you’re at it. Put them in a cupboard instead, if you must have a few.”

2. Coasters

 Forget the coasters, tea cups and saucers do the job just fine, he addsGetty – Contributor Forget the coasters, tea cups and saucers do the job just fine, he adds

“The British lower middle class are known for their over-prissiness and nothing embodies this character trait so well as the coaster.

“Entering a sitting room – or, as the LMC would call it ‘a lounge’ – and seeing neat little matching discs purposefully placed at regular intervals, territorially marking out where each guest is supposed to sit is the Antichrist of social class.

“Teacups (not mugs) have a built in ‘coaster’ of sorts; you can pop them down anywhere and not worry about marking your ‘precious’ furniture. (You bought that black fibreboard coffee table for £37 in Ikea: it’s hardly an antique in need of careful preservation. Don’t kid yourself.)”

3. Air fresheners

 Similarly, air fresheners should never be left out for your guest's 'post-poo pleasure'Getty – Contributor Similarly, air fresheners should never be left out for your guest’s ‘post-poo pleasure’

“The best scent any house can have is fresh air, not something that plugs-in and promises to fill your ‘front room’ with ‘vanilla dreams’.

“Similarly, cans of air freshening spray positioned in clear view of your loo’s guests for their post-poo pleasure aren’t doing much for your social cachet, so put them away.

“If you really must have an artificial scent (perhaps for that bathroom with no windows) then a reed diffuser is now more or less acceptable, but other than that it’s a no-go when it comes to fake fragrance.”

4. Loo mats

 Your loo mats have all sorts of germs in them and should be chucked away immediately, according to WilliamGetty – Contributor Your loo mats have all sorts of germs in them and should be chucked away immediately, according to William

“While we’re talking toilets (or, as upper middle class folk will correctly call them ‘lavatories’), a word on loo mats.

“Lower middles are usually so fussy when it comes to dirt and germs, which is why it’s so surprising that many of them (usually older, admittedly) have matts hugging the bottom of the cistern.

“Think of what’s tinkled on to that! Even for hardier, less twitchy folk this is where the line is drawn.

“Whip it away, wash it, and then chuck it out. Even your bin men will blanch.”

5. Matching chairs

 William says three piece suites should be avoided at all costsGetty – Contributor William says three piece suites should be avoided at all costs

“Anything that is termed a ‘suite’ in the shop should be avoided.

“If you are terribly taken with the fabric or colour of one of the items then ask – no, beg – the shop to let you have just one of the parts of this ‘suite’.

“Do not return home with something termed a ‘three piece suite’.

“Your furnishings should not match – although invariably do in LCM ‘homes’.”

6. Napkin rings

 Napkin rings show you're reusing them, and should be avoided at all costs, according to WilliamGetty – Contributor Napkin rings show you’re reusing them, and should be avoided at all costs, according to William

“The thought of re-using a napkin for a second meal is beyond reproach.

“Although the British aristocracy do like being as thrifty as they can, there are limits.

“Endlessly washing napkins so you and your guests always have fresh ones is entry-level when it comes to social climbing.

“Napkin rings, where people mark out whose is whose so they know whose to reuse, are not needed in quality houses.”

7. Square plates

 Chelsea's Sloane Square is posh, but square plates aren't, according to WilliamAlamy Chelsea’s Sloane Square is posh, but square plates aren’t, according to William

“A square of chocolate. A square root. Sloane Square.

“We have plenty of perfectly lovely, quality squares already, so who on earth decided that we needed square plates?

“Lower middles do like to over-gild the lily and think that a square plate is the height of sophistication and turns their nice Surbiton semi into some Soho brasserie. It does not.

“Round plates are the past, present and future of correct dining.”

In related news, one mum recently said she can “tell if you’re poor” if you own THIS kitchen gadget – but we bet everyone does.

While William also named the six things you have in your bedroom which mean you’re “common”, and you won’t believe what’s on the list.

Lady C’s guide to insults and etiquette

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