“Don’t reserve your best behavior for special occasions. You can’t have two sets of manners, two social codes- one for those you admire and want to impress, another for those whom you consider unimportant. You must be the same to all people.”
Lillian Eichler Watson
Class is a thing that can be displayed in a number of ways. An impressively dressed person can be said to have a fashion class. A well mannered person can be said to have class and the uniqueness of a skill can be referred to as classy.
However class as a central topic is an all encompassing quality that includes elementarily elegance, grace, poise and dignity. A sound exhibition of this is a classy act. Let’s see what class is by seeing what it’s not.
- Swagger and class are two parallel qualities which may explain why they are so used interchangeably. Swagger is more like teenage pride characterized by arching a brow, flaunting a dimple, adding a spring to one’s step (as in guys), cat walking provocatively (as in girls), sagging of trousers, leaving the label of a newly acquired item hanging out (so everyone can see it’s designers) and other such superficial acts (you know what I’m talking about). Swagger basically emphasizes on showing off and it revels in attention-anything that makes a splash. These have nothing to do with class. Make no mistakes about it however- not all adults have outgrown these infantile inclinations. As a result, age is a rather weak criterion in distinguishing swagger and class. Class is a function of maturity- not of age but of mentality. It takes a mature mind to see that class is not so much in vanity as it is in values.
- It is a blessing to be good looking but looks aren’t enough to win you class. Class happens to be an active quality, not an inactive effortless endowment. Being appealing is one thing but being classingly appealing? Now that’s a different kettle of fish! Look around you; this is the dispensation of the beautiful ones! Beauty is a feature more common than should be prided on. Come on, substantiate your claim!
- Beauty is skin deep, gadgets are cash deep. Materialism is never as shallow as when compared to class. Listen up, class is a living thing! Inanimate gadgets don’t speak class, they can’t demonstrate it. That duty is reserved for living, intelligent humans like you and me. I don’t seem to get tired of preaching this gospel- what you have cannot make up for what you’re not! Claiming class based on expensive gadgets is like dousing one’s dirty body with a fancy fragrance in the hope to exude a nice scent. Eventually, what’s lacking will show through. So if you own all the possible “I” gadgets, good for you. You know what’s better? i-class! Save the gadgets for their specific uses and you do the classing. Showing off expensive gadgets can only fetch you cheap class, if it does at all.
- Class is not about faking it. The very idea of faking has not the essence of class. ‘Fake it till you make it’ applies to many things but class is not one of them. Why fake it when you can be it? We’ve probably come across faked class one time or the other. When we were much younger in school for instance, we had this school mate who would continually remind us that his father owned the National Museum or the National Theatre when we go on excursions, seeing the awe the edifices commanded from us. In his own way, he was just trying to secure class from our impressionable minds. Another experience I recall is that with a family friend we once knew long ago. We nicknamed her ‘sincerely’ due to her regular use of the word to state something that was almost always insincere. She would state for instance that she sincerely doesn’t eat fried beef, describing it with such irritation one may almost feel terrible for eating it. It’s quite natural to have food allergies, diet situations and such but declaring this as a statement of class is pointless. A food type is not exclusive to a peculiar social class. Imagine our surprise when we saw our family friend eating fried beef and other things she condescendingly denied eating in the bid to come across as classy.
- All said, if or when you have class, display it gracefully but remember that class and arrogance do not mix. Being classy and class conscious are not one and the same. Discrimination against those who aren’t as classy as one is sheer superciliousness and not class so put the attitude aside. A key characteristic of class is tolerance and respect for others in spite of their social bearing. Class is chic. Class is charming. Class is down-to-earth. One with class is all that.