Rant mode time…

I think this rant applies more to you middle-class parents out there, who are aspirational by proxy and projection and insecure, stuck between:

  • The proletariat, the oiks who know their place
  • and the upper class who have already got their through luck of birth and can trace their family trees back 23 generations, back to William the Conqueror

Why, oh why, oh why, do you insist on bringing your female offspring to family meals in:

  • cafes
  • restaurants
  • dining pubs

and then let your Princess “hold court”?  Why?  Why?

I have to say, and I apologise if this is based on sexist, misogynistic prejudice, I’ve so far not seen any family prince hold court in Tandoori Indian restaurant, Düsseldorf, or the cafe by Clemensplatz in Kaiserswerth.  It’s seems to be some competitive parenting “thang” these days to:

  • Take said Princess Daughter out to family meals
  • Make her the centre of attention – and also of your universe
  • Let her rattle on to all seated at her table (and anyone within a 20-mile radius of table) about:
    • all her recent sporting achievements – Olympic dressage team, according to her sports teacher
    • all her travel plans – “Pitcairn Island is sooooo different, yet sooooo British at this time of the year”
    • praise from the school head teacher, who happens to know all the Oxford admission tutors personally
    • the BBC’s plans to serialise her blog as a Downton Abbey style costume drama
    • all her petty gripes about her vindaloo being too spicy (hey, it’s a f*ckin’ vindaloo – it’s meant to be spicy)
    • ad beeping nauseum

So far this year, I’ve had a Friday evening meal  with Schatz down my one-time favourite Indian restaurant ruined (well, maybe not ruined, but marred) by the incessant drivel of a British princess telling her intended audience (mummy and daddy) as well as “innocent bystanders” (should that be “bysitters”?) about all the above.  Princess was driving Schatz up the wall, and Schatz is not even a native speaker of Post-Norman Demotic Anglo-Saxon.  It was even worse for me.  I had to listen to the words and music.

Last week in Kaiswerswerth, Prinzessin Wundertochter was holding court, seated in the middle of table, surrounded by family, verbal diarrhoea in full flow, again with heroine-worshipping parents beside her.  This time, I was wanting to stick mp3 player earphones into my ears to block out her drivel, while Schatz got the words and the music, being a native-speaker.

Self-praise is no recommendation.  It’s also abundantly tedious to the people sitting near you, especially when it comes from petulant, self-absorbed teenagers.

Have an over-achieving day, won’t you!


2 thoughts on “Princess

  1. I did wonder if this was a case of “Boarding School Guilt”. When I lived in Hong Kong, each end of term the most horrendous brats would turn up and run riot anywhere public, telling anyone within ear shot just how wonderful and talented they were. It was a case of the children almost showing themselves off to their parents, maybe to try and get some form of recognition from their parents. In most children it’s a case of take any type of attention you can from your parents. In the parent’s case it seemed to be guilt. There was the obvious competition with “well my child is head of the Latin debate society”, but also a lot of guilt that the children were being sent away from them. The schooling system in Hong Kong was excellent, with both US and British schools alongside the local ones.

    My parents came to visit during summer break and my Mum was instantly transported back to my childhood as a Navy Brat. The navy schooled children until the age of 10. After that it was boarding school and trips to meet your parents 3 times a year. These boarding school children were exactly the same. My Mum said it was almost like the parents daren’t tell their children off or make them feel inferior in anyway way because they hardly saw them.

    I wondered if your English speaking Princesses were schooled in the UK for some reason, but that doesn’t explain the German speaking Princess. Maybe it’s the next step in the evolution of teenagers where parents are so worried that trying to discipline them, or teach them how to behave in public, will start a full blown Teenage Strop.

    The UK is definitely showing a trend of parents who seem to fear disciplining children for one reason or another. Welcome to the next stage in human evolution. The Rein of the Princess!

    • Mhairi, I think you have hit the nail on the head. “Latin debating society,” captain the the first netball team, built a village single-handedly in the third world country, etc, etc.

      I think modern parenting (who am I to comment as a single man, with no offspring of my own) has turned from the old attitude of children being “seen but not heard” to a “two sheds” syndrome.

      “You’ve got one garden shed? Well, we have two.”
      Your daughter’s doing 4 A-levels? Ours is doing 5, and is taking extra Oxbridge papers and is already planning her PhD thesis.

      Parents, especially those from the bourgeoisie, are desperate to give their offspring the perfect lifestlye, including:

      – Attending church for x number of weeks so they can get Miranda into the right, faith school (and then ceasing to attend once the school places have been allocated)

      – Moving house into the right area to get into the school catchment area

      – Demanding to observe Princess’ teachers’ lessons because “we want the best for our child”

      – Paying for pony/singing/drama lessons for Mirandaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, because she’s the next Olympic dressage champion/Kate Winslett/whoever (in your dreams – my pet dog has more talent, probably, and he’s been dead nearly 20 years)

      Probably it’s also parents with insufficient time due to working hours to spend quality time, so they replace love and affection with material wealth and inflated perceived abilities of their Princess.

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