All the many struggles of being a middle class northerner
I am a constant disappointment
When people think of northerners they imagine a certain type of person, someone who bleeds Yorkshire tea, sinks pints for breakfast and lives for pie, mash and gravy. I might be from Leeds but unfortunately, I am definitely not that stereotype.
I mean, I'm not posh-posh, I went to a pretty average state school and I was brought up in a rather dull suburb on the outskirts of town. But my accent is like overly diluted Ribena, you can tell I'm northern but it takes a while for people to pick up on it.
Then there is my upbringing, my parents redecorate the kitchen practically every month, the whole house is painted duck egg blue, family holidays were never to Benidorm, but to bougie hotels with exposed brick work. I grew up eating Tabbouleh and watching Period dramas after dinner. Yes, I'm sorry to admit I am middle class.
This means I am a constant disappointment, firstly to northerners who think I am Kiera Knightly incarnate, and secondly to southerners who are perpetually shocked to find I don’t say, “ey up”.
I just don't fulfil the rosy stereotype of a Yorkshire woman, I often prefer to bring coats out with me, I don’t walk around chomping through Greggs' sausage and bean melts, in fact I fucking love avocados.
Yes, Yorkshire breeds middle class people and it is very, very shaming to be one. Here's everything you will understand if, like me, you were born in 'tut North but are more likely to be cast on Made in Chelsea than Geordie Shore.
Throughout school you were mercilessly mocked for your accent
It doesn't matter that you emphasise every word word with "proper", "dead" and "well", or totally miss out words from sentences: "shall we go pub" because your peers will still detect in your softly spoken voice the throbbing hum of privilege. All that smoked salmon, Cath Kidston decor and Guardian subscriptions. Everything I said would be repeated back to me in the voice of Kate Middleton along with an "ooooh".
Growing up all other northerners think you are dead weird
At school when everyone got let out at lunchtime, all the other kids would be eating strawberry laces and Lucozade or fish and chips with curry sauce and scraps. But my Dad would make me a chorizo sandwich with homemade spicy chilli chutney using tomatoes he grew on his allotment. It was the days before hummus was a widely accepted cultural phenomenon. I would whack out the sandwich and everyone would laugh and say it smelt proper nasty.
When you meet people from the South they constantly say 'you don't sound like you're from the North'
But not everyone from Leeds says shit like: "You alreet chuck?" The North is not some sort of sitcom where fat dinner ladies bathe in Yorkshire puddings. We don't all know how to make dry stone walls, rant about the consistency of gravy and how shit Maggie Thatcher was. There are transport systems, Wagamama's, you can actually buy quinoa and most of all, some of us pronounce things clearly.
No matter how posh you are, Yorkshire gals always wear nothing on nights out, meaning southerners will always judge you
On the first night of freshers, I wore my usual tight body-con dress, hair extensions clipped in, I contoured my boobs, fake tanned until my skin was a strange tone of green/brown, thick fake eyelashes loping off at an angle.
When I walked out into pre-drinks everyone looked at me like they needed to sit me down and ask about my childhood. All of them in their Air Maxes, thick olive green parkas and glossy makeupless skin.
People just assume you know all places because you are northern
"Have you ever been to the working men's club in Barnsley? My Aunty Susan is always there, she says everyone goes". Nope, I certainly have not. That's the sort of place I would be heckled out of for ordering a single G&T: "We don't do none of that here me love".
But when you go to university some slightly more gullible southerners will think you're rough as nails
On the first week of uni, someone heard my voice and asked: "Do you know what parma ham is?"
I absolutely loved it, people actually thought I was northern. I even liked it when they repeatedly asked me to pronounce "bath".
I begun to play up to it, when everyone asked whether northern girls are better in bed I gave them a suggestive smile, I told people that my Mum calls me "our Annie", I complained about drink prices even if I thought they were perfectly reasonable: "Three quid for a beer? My nan would turn 'int grave." I started saying "reyt" out of nowhere and exaggerated how rough nights out in Leeds were when really all that happens is guys say "what you looking at?" to each other in Maccies.
But your home friends will always expose you
A northern friend comes up to visit you at uni and everyone comments on how different you are, the way she sounds, the way she drinks vodka like it's sparkling water, the way she has enough tit tape on to wrap a Christmas present.
She finds out everyone at university thinks you're rough, "eh but she's well posh? You know she has a river in her garden?"
Er guys it is a pond but ye cool.
You try desperately to prove you are northern by curbing to peer pressure
Southerners say stuff like "you must think we're right wet wipes ordering a half pint at a pub?"
Nope. I think that's totally acceptable, in fact I kind of regret buying this giant blue vodka fishbowl in an attempt to reinvent myself as the female Peter Kay.
I enjoy wanky cultural things southerners do but also hate myself for it
Yeah I am not saying I go to cereal cafes and spend £4 on bowls of pink sugary cheerios and I definitely would not attend a spoken word evening. But I do like pop-up street food stalls, I love a glass of prosecco at bottomless brunch and I frequently drink green juice with kale and cucumber.
Also who is to say that is bad? Northern people like culture????
But worst of all, people actually forget I am northern and it cuts so deep
One time I was at the pub with friends, "I wonder where Parmos are from is it Middlesbrough or Sheffield?" one asked.
"We should ask Matty, he'll know, he's from Hull" replied another.
I sat there, tears welling in my eyes, it was like being in a My Chemical Romance music video. Like looking out of a bus window into the pouring rain. Like watching the final scene of Titanic where Rose won't let Jack onto the raft even though there is definitely enough room. Feel like pure shit, just want them to know I am northern.