Why the Upper Middle Class has it Worst During these Trying Times (and almost any other situation)
Updated: May 7
So, riddle me this; it’s one in the morning after a Wednesday night and you’re nearly an entire bottle of white wine deep having just had an absolute whale of a time reliving your days at private school and laughing about the fact that you’ve all only just discovered that what you did to those weird kids who sat in the corner of the sixth form lobby from ages 14-18 was in fact bullying rather than just a bit of fun and then the dreaded seven-word clause emanates from the sober friend’s mouth ‘I think I might go to sleep’ and suddenly the innate subconscious desire to fit in which has been drilled into you throughout your social media-dominated childhood overwhelms you and takes complete control of everyone’s following actions and instead of admitting that you’d rather stay on the chat for a bit longer if other people would like to you instinctively agree with the party pooper accompanying your admission with a fake-yawn before leaving the call at the speed of Sonic The Hedgehog on one of his good days because what could possibly be more humiliating than being the last man standing in a Zoom call between you and your best friends who have known each other for longer than five years and obviously pass no judgement at each other’s actions.
And then you sit, faced with your empty computer screen, still with a few more sips of wine left, suffering from a slight case of the spins, head lolling around as you gaze upon the contents of your desk, before deciding to roll a cigarette to combat the extremely sudden drunken loneliness and to put off the existential nightmare that is being drunk on your own in your million-or-so pound house in West London with no seeming escape from this torturous reality and a serious craving for a nice cuddle from a girl who is just as mentally unstable as you.
Your lungs subsequently guzzle up the tar in a surprisingly short number of drags and then you stub it out on your golden-encrusted ash-tray given to you as a Christmas present by one of your ex-girlfriends because no loving relationship is complete without one of the parties encouraging the other to get juvenile lung cancer. And she also had a country house in the Lake District which you still miss being able to visit every holiday despite the fact that the last time you went there you destroyed the ‘guest’s crockery’ by accident when you were aggressively gesturing to her during an argument that was started because you passed judgement on her family for using I can’t believe it’s not butter! Butter rather than the more traditional and expensive Lurpak.
You swallow the remnants of your wine and seek solace in the fact that, because of the amount of alcohol you’ve ingested, your drowsiness will conquer you fairly quickly and you will be able to sleep soundly whilst ignoring your thoughts regarding the meaningless of our current existence and your lack of enjoyment for any indoor activity. You then kick yourself for reading that book by Albert Camus which you only read so that you could flex the fact that you know about philosophy, because all that resulted from it is your intellectually superior coursemates turning you into a laughing stock for reading continental philosophy rather than analytical philosophy and made you terrifyingly aware of the absurdity of your human condition. And then you kick yourself even harder as you undress for bed because you forgot that you have to brush your teeth and your toothbrush doesn’t reside in your ensuite bathroom anymore because you ran out of toothpaste and it never occurs to you to ask mother dearest if there is any to spare and taking a fresh tube up to your room in what would probably be a quick simple one-minute solution; the toothbrush now sadly resides in your sister’s bathroom one floor below and you haven’t really accustomed yourself to spending your last minutes of non-sleep there because it’s quite different to your bathroom and the bath is on a platform and there’s loads of weird facial scrubs next to the sink which make you question the fact that you’ve never followed a skincare routine before and probably should judging by the amount of PARTAYING you got up to in first year.
In an act of hopelessness you take a peek into your ensuite just to check for the 300th time this lockdown that there is no toothbrush and/or paste in complete vain; however, you quickly notice your electric razor sitting solitary next to the soap and suddenly feel the need to distract yourself from your drunken sadness by shaving incorrectly. After you finish, you fail to moisturise or clean your sink, and stumble back into your room melodically without brushing your teeth and flopping onto your bed, shattered, being overcome by blissful slumber within minutes. You awaken hours later in a daze with a nagging headache and t-posing in your king size bed which always made you a bit sad whenever you slept in it alone because it’s so big that it’s just a constant reminder that you’re single which makes you feel extremely depressed when you’re alone because you can no longer employ your beloved coping mechanism of telling people that you don’t like relationships anymore and would rather be single for the foreseeable future to ‘work on yourself’ even though you can’t really see any way that you’ve changed mentally in the last 3 years. You check your phone to see what time it is and it’s on two percent because you forgot to charge it last night, so you plug it in, take a fat swig of water, and turn back over to sleep off the parasitic hangover that you know will make your early afternoon highly unenjoyable. However, you suddenly feel a burning passion for Tinder and excitedly grab your phone again to receive some of that much-needed external validation and to send your matches ironic postmodern messages which satirise your own class and gender in a hope that one of them might suddenly think that you’re the one. You swipe for about fifteen minutes until you run out of swipes and have to wait twelve hours again to do so and laugh off the idea of getting Hinge to distract yourself even further because using dating apps for their actual purpose is so 2019 and for people who are socially awkward, instead of embracing the fact that if you use it seriously it might do you a world of good as you actually fit into the socially awkward category surprisingly well.
Because you made the executive decision to stare at a screen whilst hungover and dehydrated your headache is now too disgusting for you to go back to sleep and your breath feels absolutely horrifying on the inside of your mouth due to the fact that you chose unnecessary shaving over dental hygiene. You then travel to your sister’s bathroom at eight-in-the-morning to finally brush your teeth and by god it hurts because you have so many better things to do than to brush your teeth for a whole two minutes so have spent your entire teenage life merely tracing the bristles over them for about thirty seconds before spitting and walking away. You don’t think twice at the blood which you spit out and quickly rinse it away with the tap so that its image can exit your short-term memory as quick as it entered it. You wash your face before suddenly realising that your shaving job was awful. You then get filled with dread as you remember why you were growing out your facial hair a bit: because it hid the fact that you don’t have a good enough jawline and made you look slimmer to yourself. You bemoan the prospect of having to look at yourself every time you make the long journey of four flights of stairs up and down from your room to the kitchen throughout the day because your house has a shit ton of mirrors purely to make it look a bit more upper class and modern and they definitely do much more harm than good since you’re perpetually insecure about your appearance and your’e pretty sure your younger sister was bulimic for most of her early-teenage years.
You spend an hour in your room walking up and down and conjuring up hypothetical social situations where you say a really funny thing or you impress everyone or you make yourself look really clever. You go back and check your fourth iPhone 8 of the year because you keep losing them on nights out and that one cunt of your mate’s who’s writing a book is talking about writing again in the group chat which really grinds your gears because you’re not writing a book or doing anything as productive and his writing is really bad as well he keeps missing out commas and stuff but because not many people our age do that everyone’s really interested in it and it’s just shit, and nobody cares about the fact that it’s literally all he talks about anymore either the arrogant prick. And you haven’t even released your first quarantine mix yet. You can’t help but study your appearance in your huge mirror in the hallway and get angry about the fact that you shaved - you were just starting to feel more comfortable with your appearance again and you just stripped it all away for no reason whatsoever. Your german shepherd excitedly barks and bounds up to you in the kitchen and you scruffle its head before telling it to fuck off because you’re really not in the mood for its shit today. Instead of making eggs on toast you decide to just make plain toast so that you slim down a bit more, and promise that you’ll change your diet a bit so that your face becomes a bit slimmer. After you finish the toast you then proceed to eat 2 packets of salt and vinegar crisps and a chocolate bar, and you get extremely irate with yourself for doing so, leaving you in a state of bubbling rage. Your sixteen-year-old younger sister looks up from her Nintendo Switch that was bought by mother dearest purely for the sake of quarantine that no doubt will not be touched once this all blows over. She chuckles slightly, for no apparent reason, but she knows how to push your buttons when you’re angry. You tell her you’re going for a walk to clear your head and she asks you to take the dog but every time you take him he does a massive shit and despite owning him for seven years you haven’t mustered up the cojones to pick it up. As you swing the door shut your beloved dog whimpers whilst sitting a few yards away, dejected at this neglect.
As you take out your packet of extra slim filters, you gaze across the park opposite you at the council estate and you’re filled with a burning emotion of deep regret and guilt. You realise how privileged you are and admonish yourself for being so depressed and unproductive in these times, as you could probably fit around fifteen of their flats within your house. They have it so much more difficult than you in any scenario, yet all you can do with yourself is feel sorry for yourself and blame your most recent ex-girlfriend for your deteriorating mental state. You sit on the bench in the park, tearing off that tape they put over it to stop you from sitting there because rules don’t apply to you as you have a double-barrelled name, and flick through Instagram. You are then filled with a deep sitting feeling of absolute loathing as you see that fucking dickhead pseudo-writer post a story of himself playing Chopin’s raindrop prelude on the piano, you know he’s just looking for people to reply to his story and make him feel better about the fact that he’s got the personality of a table. Your entire day is encased in feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, sadness, loneliness, annoyance ... nothing will cease them. You ask your various group chats if they’d like to call again, but nobody is free. You have another random argument with your mother about how she treated you as an eleven-year-old after dinner and slouch off to your bedroom. You look at your decks, thinking about whether or not you’ll polish off your drum and bass quarantine mix that you know all of your friends are ever-so-excited to hear because it’s such a sensical music genre that you can totally enjoy when you’re sitting alone in your room in quarantine. You decide against it, instead turning on your computer and watching videos analysing horror movies that you’re too scared to watch and telling yourself to stop thinking about the fact that so many people in the world don’t even have the privilege of owning a MacBook Pro.
You don’t deserve sympathy for your intense suffering, and you know this. You still aren’t top of the grade and still have to work somewhat to be successful, unlike people with multi-millionaire parents. You’re just stuck in the middle, with no social role, enshrouded in feelings of worthlessness and anomie.
And that is why being a member of the upper-middle class is so gosh darn difficult in these trying times.