Tuesday, 16 October 2012

You've either got or haven't got... class

A word that came up in three conversations over the past two days made me stop and think. The word was klasa – class – as in a personal characteristic (be it a colleague, a politician or a celebrity).

It's a near synonym for the English word 'class', but doesn't carry with it any baggage connoting social hierarchy. Klasa does not come from breeding, but does come from the home; it is not the product of wealth, but it's not associated with squalor. It doesn't necessarily go together with sophistication, but it certainly isn't primitive. Klasa is a seemingly effortless self-discipline; it's about being well-turned out, immaculately clean, well-dressed without conspicuous display. People with klasa avoid vulgar language, are polite to one and all, cheerful yet respectful. People with klasa are never impatient, yet do not hang about – they're not lazy either.

A person with klasa doesn't give in to anger but can talk with precision about their* feelings. Klasa in the home is visible. Tidiness, cleanliness, fresh flowers. Plenty of books. Signs in the kitchen of healthy eating – fresh fruit, cookbooks hinting of imaginative cuisine. And whatever car a person with klasa drives – one part of it that's never used is the klaxon.

Politicians with klasa are more convinced about their convictions rather than with using political power to gain advantage for themselves or their coterie. I will not name names here, but it's worth looking at some of our elected officials through this prism. People with klasa age gracefully, neither trying to artificially maintain an illusory youthfulness in increasingly comical ways, nor slumping into the abnegactwo (self-neglect) of terminal decline.

Below: enjoy Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin convincing Bing Crosby that you've either got or you haven't got style - or indeed class. Or charm!

* I have given into the recent shift in English usage to replace the singular possessive pronouns 'his and her' when used together with the plural possessive pronoun 'their', even when it doesn't confirm with a singular noun. The BBC has taken to doing this; it is less clumsy and – more importantly – politically correct. 

This time last year: 
First frost 

This time five years ago:
First frost 

[this year's one should be coming up soon... first snow 29 November?]

No comments: