Flowers and Salinger


She first walked into the manor, in her denim skirt and old leather, sucking on a cigarette, carrying a painting, a nude no less…a distinctly unladylike pose…she’d clearly been the model, but who was the artist? That’s the question they all want answered.

She doesn’t go into raptures at the sight of all that money, doesn’t listen to them when they try to tell her what’s proper. She’s got all those books piled up everywhere, she goes to the theatre for the sole purpose of watching the play!! Not to be seen, or so she can casually mention it in conversation later. She actually eats food, eats like she enjoys it, like food isn’t the enemy. They couldn’t believe this impossible fact at first and concluded it must all come back up at some point later. They’ve even tried to catch her at it, but so far with no luck.

She smokes, she drinks (not in the privacy of her own quarters but in company!) although perversely they don’t actually mind it, since her accent consequently becomes more pronounced and they can shake their heads in confusion and pretend not to understand her. There is no end to the pettiness of women when they feel threatened.

That accent is positively whorish, quite apt since French women learn all the tricks of the trade practically from birth, it’s a known fact. It’s in her showy eyes, the movement of her hips when she throws herself on the couch, that raucous laugh. It doesn’t occur to any of them that calling her a slut might be considered ironic since they spent years using daddy’s credit cards while actively looking to marry into even more money — irony is lost on them. What they understand is shopping, designers, gyms and mingling. She refuses to play the game, doesn’t mingle, eschews small talk and walks in the woods rather than get a personal trainer. Their frozen faces would look offended if they could — you know, if frowning wasn’t an impossibility.

There she is again, talking about…Salinger? They’re not sure, but think it’s a dirty word. She doesn’t come from good stock, swears like a shock, horror, sailor. What is she saying now? Urgh! Meritocracy, now that, they know is a dirty, ugly word because they’ve heard her elaborate on it before – it’s one of her ludicrous pet ideas.

Why did he have to leave the circle and, of all people, choose her? He looks at her like she’s a rare flower. It’s sickening, disgusting, if flower she is, she obviously grew on the compost heap.

She’s looking at them now, like she knows exactly what they’re thinking, and she smiles…the bitch smiles at them, so they smile back…only not with their eyes, their eyes are full of rancour. They know better than to voice their real feelings. The first time they tried, she replied with far too much candour. She’s not well bred, she clearly hasn’t been taught that women should hide barbs under a semblance of niceties. He thinks it’s charming, loves her honesty, but they know she’s just really helplessly vulgar, even if he can’t see it. So now they content themselves with nasty talk when she’s not around, a thousand knives stabbing her in the back, but to their infuriation and their frustration, she walks among them and their barely veiled hostility with a calm face and a confident pace.

What really gets to them is the knowledge that she might judge them, as much as they judge her. And of course they’re right, she does judge them. She wonders at a world of inherited privileges, cannot comprehend how, with the means to live such an interesting life, they barely scratch the surface and never explore anything deeper than the superficial. They’re all raging anorexic, they live for the gym, shopping, parties, status and money…They lead utterly vapid, boring lives. The thought that she could ever have been one of them is suffocating, she’d rather die than live like they do. She knows they dislike her with the natural visceral instinct of their particular class, yet she mostly pities them.

So they stand outside the manor, in the fragrant beautiful garden on a glorious British summer day, ravaged by hunger, embittered by anger, while the fucking working-class foreigner (never mind that she’s just from across the channel) laughs and smiles, daring to look happy, looking like she thinks she belongs, when the sad reality is that she’s invaded their world while refusing to be made to feel inferior.

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44 thoughts on “Flowers and Salinger

      1. Grazie a te per l’amicizia sul blog ti auguro un buon resto di giornata
        non so dove ti trovi se in Europa o altro Continente…ciao.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I think that we’re heading towards that class system in the US. It’s about everyone keeping theirs, and suppressing those who wish to ascend. So very sad!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It *is* sad Rob, but I think it’s more or less always been like that? There’s always been an elite, there will always be an elite and the elite will fight to the death to protect their privileges 🙄

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh I love this! Oh I love this! (Twice said, but may I say it again? LOL) I love this! And it not only applies to upper middle class British society; I LIVE in this type of world right here the the SE USA. Oh . . . and I would LOVE to scoop up that rose from the compost heap! (If she would have me! LOL) Excellent! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Thank you! I’ll say it again without waiting for permission, thank you! Lol
      Oh yes, I know there are plenty of places where those shallow pockets of society thrive and prosper…and dictate and judge and condemn…I wrote this from my own experiences but of course people can relate to it outside the UK.
      I’m sure the rose would have loved to have you scoop her up from the compost heap…if she hadn’t already been plucked from there 😉 lol
      Thank you again for your lovely kind words 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Well written but she needs to find a better class of people to hang out with 😉
    I think this is a fairly universal truth; regardless of geography there are people like this everywhere. The unseen, unspoken barrier: they’re polite and friendly and they’ll appear willing to let others in, but only so far. And if you forget ‘your place’ then out come those wonderful insincere smiles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Norm! I can admit that, obviously, this “working-class girl” , in an ideal world, would never have chosen to associate with the type of people described here…so I will bring this little theory forward…let’s say this girl had “married” into a family belonging to that particular class…think of the implications…think of how she consequently couldn’t help but be thrown with these people once in a while…as little as she could help it of course, but…she wouldn’t be able to avoid them entirely, would she? Wouldn’t you feel sorry for that girl? Forced to “hang out” with such narrow-minded people? Please tell me you would 😉
      And you’re right, as I said in some of my replies to others here, there are people like that everywhere, unfortunately.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nathalie, this is so good! I tremendously enjoyed how you captured the internal dialogue, thought process and the strength of “she”, not to mention the horrific “they”. Ill treatment is something that pedigree doesn’t often comprehend or recognize in itself. The sense of entitlement is disturbing and keenly described. What’s more amazing and difficult for me to understand, is that this lifestyle of privilege, just by its nature of luxury, should lend itself to free thinkers, tolerance and acceptance. Oh, quite the contrary as you have so eloquently addressed. Wonderful and powerful commentary, beautifully written! Always a pleasure to read your offerings! ~ Mia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Free thinkers, tolerance and acceptance”, that’s exactly what it should be! When you don’t have to worry at all about financial problems like the rest of the population, it frees so much time, it frees so much space in your mind! To have that time and space devoted to the superficial is bewildering to say the least. I will never understand it, but then again, maybe I’m not meant to.
      Anyway, thank you so much for reading and for your insightful commentary, *your* visit is always a pleasure – Nathalie

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well written. We have the entitled here in the US too. I find the best way to combat the hoity-toity elitism is not to gift two bits about their opinions, but to strive for a happy life, full of kindness and love. That can’t be bought. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a very good story that captures a transitory mood for all eternity. However, I must admit that it would have been nice if the protagonist had gotten into a fist-fight or perhaps even gotten some clear-cut working class revenge upon the cake-eating ba$tards. It’s quite a rush to see the fear in their eyes, at least until the sirens begin to approach from afar. Or so I’ve read, never having done that sort of thing myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. HOW did I read this and then not write a hundred OMG’s afterward? Yes you’re right (surprise) this IS exactly what we were talking about. Especially the pettiness of women who feel threatened. I never feel threatened by another woman. I see people as essentially equal at birth, if they want to laud something over someone else, then they are the unequal one. If a woman is thinner, prettier, younger, richer, more popular, bully for her, and if she’s nice, then I will raise her up. If she is a bitch then I will avoid her like the plague. I find women tear each other down more than build one another up and this is due to envy. If you do not envy someone and you like them for being more beautiful or more accomplished or you don’t really give a shit if they are, it seems you don’t enter that absurd race between women that often causes a toxic environment. I know women who simply cannot work with other women for this reason and I must admit I prefer working with men because of this on the whole. But if you meet a woman who is confident and okay with herself then she is a straight-shooter and she’s every bit as fun to work with or be friends with. But because women feel they need to compete with one another for men’s attention this rarely happen. I don’t feel that way. I don’t want men’s attention. If I did I would seek it but I would not stab other women on my way, there’s enough to go around! I don’t get that, I can only think it’s as absurd as men who want to fuck everything that moves and goes back to our neanderthal days. I know your brother lives in the US and I wonder if he feels it is less class-obsessed as Britain but I found it has been for the most part. That is a relief, not to be surrounded by trustafarians all the time. On the down side, they are every bit as obsessed with the gym/thin/perfect thing and this is just society en-mass. I suppose I don’t fit in. I don’t apologize for who I am, I was told once, you’re not popular if you have opinions, I think in my case this is true, and I hope when I make friends it’s because they can admire me as I admire them and nothing more heavy than that. Ultimately you put the case out here so well as you always do. Your prose has a wickedly sharp edge and your observations are absolutely sharp and piercing. I love it! But no surprise you fiendishly smart lady.


  8. WOW, this is really so wonderful, read it a couple of times, and I guess, all over the world, this happens…. people look down upon a woman who just wants to live life with simplicity and enjoy the things she wants to enjoy…..
    Lovely read, looking forward to more from you; and yes, would be honoured if I can reblog this and share it on my blog…..

    Liked by 1 person

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