How the other half lives, what and when you learned

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tomorrowalready Fri 23-Jul-21 19:36:36

Reflecting from another thread made me realise it was not until my 20s I found out some people expected to have a private bathroom. I went to university then and shared with another mature student who had been married, divorced and said she found having to share a bathroom with unrelated people unpleasant. I had always taken it for granted as had live in jobs and rented bedsits before. She was a lovely person and also the first person I knew who had a glass of wine every evening and she introduced me to many new things - cooking with garlic, sherry, owning and using a car for shopping for example.

So what did you take for granted that surprised other people you met?

OP’s posts: |
EspressoDoubleShot Fri 23-Jul-21 20:31:15

Interesting question
Ok, here goes
I took for granted that everyone drank tea, amazed to met folk who disliked tea.I mean wtf how the hell you tell your mammy that

I took for granted that everyone struggled financially, and amazed to met properly well to do people who had no notion of being skint

I didn’t know there were different types of spoons.Growing up we had sooon , teaspoon. I didn’t know there were types of spoons eg soup,dessert

I met fellow students who’d never met someone from a council estate
They were agog, what was it really like? was it rough?

alexdgr8 Fri 23-Jul-21 20:46:56

when i was about 8 i went to a birthday party in posh houe.
only i didnt know about posh then.
i never thought about the fact the house was so big for the same family size as mine.
but i remember commenting on the metal bowls in which ice-cream was served.
we just had ceramic bowls, used for everything, cereal, soup, afters.
i'd never seen metal bowls and was intrigued.
wonder what they posh family thought of me !
but they were nice people.
also took me a while to realise that other people had cold drink eg milk, water in glasses rather than cups as we did.
we did have glasses, but they were for visiting grown=ups, which was rare, for beer. beer was always poured out, nothing was ever sipped straight from the bottle or tin.
later on, calling on middle class older lady when i was about 20, i was perturbed to have my coat taken off me, so i had to sit without it, not even on the back of the chair.
that would be unthinkable in my background, would have been hostile.
different if somebody wanted to take it off and put it somewhere.
but to take it away from them, it was part of my identity, things in my pockets, felt naked, at a disadvantage.
in my background if someone wanted to take their coat off they would, and put it over the back of their chair, or next to them.
nobody snatched it off them and put it out of their sight and reach.
i miss the old days. family home. what we took for granted. family.

hugoagogo Fri 23-Jul-21 20:53:34

The things that stick with me are a school friend having chocolate spread on toast, which I hadn't even heard of!
Then a housemate buying a whole tub of ice cream and eating it straight from the tub, it just seemed so wildly decadent and it wasn't Ben and Jerry or anything, just sainsburys own. I grew up with the cardboard packets cut into 5.

Michellexxx Fri 23-Jul-21 20:58:41

I was early teens and went to someone’s house whose mum made us ice cream sundaes with everything in! We used to fight over the peach Melba asda price yoghurt!

I also never knew that people didn’t count pennies at the end of the week, or filled up their cars to the max with petrol rather than £10 etc.

I also didn’t know marks and Spencer’s existed until I went to university!

EspressoDoubleShot Fri 23-Jul-21 21:03:57

I didn’t know what supper was til,I went to Uni.To me there is breakfast, dinner, tea as your meals

BlackLambAndGreyFalcon Fri 23-Jul-21 21:05:53

Possibly outing, but I didn't realise until my mid-20s that most people have Yorkshire pudding as a side with their Sunday Roasts rather than served on its own as a starter as it was in my house!


tomorrowalready Fri 23-Jul-21 21:44:22

I grew up in the 1970s, a time of high inflation. I remember a news report saying things were getting so bad some families would not be able to afford a Sunday roast as in beef or chicken. I genuinely didnt realise that other people had them as a matter of course, we had chicken at Christmas and lamb at Easter, the rest of the time we had stewing steak boiled the night before. It was horrible but we did have plenty of vegetables from the garden. I also found the tase of real butter and cream too strong when I first had them as a teenager.

OP’s posts: |
rubbletrouble Fri 23-Jul-21 22:02:56

I was shocked a few years back at the true struggle of some people. I have always "known" about poverty and had times as a child where we struggled, so not silver spoon upbringing.

But I was surprised A new mother had no flooring just concrete, no method of warning anything up and had no means of help, no family the council weren't helping, it was heartbreaking. I now know that sadly this is not uncommon. I have been educated and learnt not to pre judge masses.

Bibbetybobbity Fri 23-Jul-21 22:07:15

I didn’t realise that takeaways were real- and actually happened in the Uk-until I went to uni. I thought it was just in America and specifically on Friends because we never ever had one.

Titsywoo Fri 23-Jul-21 22:13:28


I was shocked a few years back at the true struggle of some people. I have always "known" about poverty and had times as a child where we struggled, so not silver spoon upbringing.

But I was surprised A new mother had no flooring just concrete, no method of warning anything up and had no means of help, no family the council weren't helping, it was heartbreaking. I now know that sadly this is not uncommon. I have been educated and learnt not to pre judge masses.

Same. I had a pretty privileged upbringing - nice house in a nice area, private school, holidays, 5 star hotels which my Dad worked in so we spent a lot of time in expensive hotel apartments in London having posh food etc. Being at a private school my friends are pretty much the same.

Although DH and I are comfortably off we can't afford private school for our kids (£15k each a year around here) and I've been surprised by how so many of their friends live (large family in a small flat, parent in prison, very little money to go out shopping etc).

Echobelly Fri 23-Jul-21 22:18:29

A lot of people say 'Ah, you think the house you grow up in is so big but when you get older it seems tiny', but I've had the opposite. As I got older and met people from more backgrounds, I appreciated more and more that I was exceptionally privileged to live in a large, detached house with a big garden.

Also when I met people who had grown up less privileged on the outskirts of London but had hardly ever visited central London - doing so was like a massive event for them, that might happen a handful of times each year.

We did grow up with a family friend who often looked after us and live in a high rise council flat on a rough estate and we'd stay with her sometimes, so that did give me some early insight into life outside our bubble as well. I'm not sure I realised until later quite how many people lived that way.

Sarahlou63 Fri 23-Jul-21 22:19:12

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User135792468 Fri 23-Jul-21 22:30:18

I remember being about 10 and playing out and I fancied an ice cream sundae from McDonald’s so I said, let’s just go home and ask for money. My friend looked a bit uncomfortable but went along with it. We went to mine and I got £5 (the ice cream was 89p I still remember). We got to my friends and her mum just looked embarrassed and said sorry, she didn’t have the money for it. It’s a moment I have never forgotten. My parents did of course say no to me but it was never because of money. I didn’t realise people couldn’t afford such small things.

ZenNudist Fri 23-Jul-21 22:38:37

I went to Sandringham this week and it makes you think how rich the royal family are to have all that land, and that's just one of their homes, they don't even live in it most of the time. Plus it's beautiful and they are so incredibly privileged.

Zelvinka Fri 23-Jul-21 22:43:00

@Sarahlou63 reminds me of an Arabic doctor who I dated - when we walked through the gardens in the local town centre he remarked 'these are like the gardens in my father's Summer Palace'....

(He was just separated from his wife & sadly they got back together or I too could've enjoyed the Summer Palace!!)

Neondisco Fri 23-Jul-21 22:51:11

@Sarahlou63 sorry just FYI. It's not really thought of as acceptable to say a person is oriental.

StrongLegs Fri 23-Jul-21 22:53:01

I was brought up extremely middle class and was academically successful until I left home.

I then realised quite suddenly that the career I was in didn't pay enough for me to live and that my eyes didn't work properly. That was a bit of a shock.

I developed quite a lot of initiative quite quickly, I can tell you.

nildesparandum Fri 23-Jul-21 22:55:26

When I was doing midwifery training in London many many moons ago I worked on a private patients ward for two weeks.
There were some very wealthy and titled patients on the ward, and I thought it unbelievable when some of these women happily went home without taking their baby with them. That was the job of their nanny who would arrive a couple of hours later to collect the newly born son or daughter.
I was one of a large family and thought everyone shared a bedroom or even a bed with a sibling.I was surprised when some of my more well off friends had their own room.

DappledThings Fri 23-Jul-21 23:08:27

Church. I didn't realise till I was about 11 that not everyone goes every Sunday. Or more specifically that not everyone follows any religion. So I thought pretty much everyone went regularly to church or synagogue or mosque etc. I knew some people didn't but if you'd asked me at 11 to guess what percentage I'd have said less than 10% probably.

(I don't think we'd actually covered percentages by 11 but you know what I mean)

MrsPelligrinoPetrichor Fri 23-Jul-21 23:10:40

Possibly outing, but I didn't realise until my mid-20s that most people have Yorkshire pudding as a side with their Sunday Roasts rather than served on its own as a starter as it was in my house!

I went to a wedding and the starter was Yorkshire pudding and onion gravy, omg it was incredible!!

Paddling654 Fri 23-Jul-21 23:13:42

I grew up in a middle class family with a crippling mortgage and relatively little disposable income. Relatively.

I was surprised that a friend's mother bought cheese already grated. I was surprised that anyone bought a new car or flew in a plane every year.

But when I was dating, I was surprised that my boyfriend's mum had to buy the small pack of painkillers at the pharmacy even though it worked out much more expensive. I was surprised that she cooked buns for packed lunches because crisps were too expensive, and that she cried at night when she couldn't buy milk for the children's breakfast in the morning.

When I eventually married, I was amazed that my MIL just threw out a Zara blouse that had a little rip in it because they were so cheap, she could just buy a new one. It could easily have been darned. It was very surprising to find that £1000 wasn't a literal thing. It was a concept that never existed in reality unless you had a temporary cash flow problem. To me, £1000 had always been sitting in a bank account and it was a specific entity. I was amazed that my partner's family never had any intention of paying off their mortgages and didn't see it as a debt. The idea that you would give up that money when you could be investing it (and remortgaging your property endlessly) seemed strange because I had learned that paying off the mortgage was the ultimate financial goal.

Then, realising it was all relative, I looked back and wondered how often my ex boyfriend must have found me feckless and extravagant. He was gracious enough not to judge me openly.

FetchezLaVache Fri 23-Jul-21 23:16:31

I genuinely didn't realise until I went to secondary school that:

1) not every home has a piano;
2) there are people who have never ridden a horse;
3) some people live in flats.

Lemonmelonsun Fri 23-Jul-21 23:20:14

Boyfriends mum served salad separately in a little dish! Not sure if that's posh or something from abigails party?

Never appreciated a drive, a drive to easily park cars like we grew up with, nor a house surrounded by garden.
I was shocked at uni when a girl didn't know what brie was.

irresistibleoverwhelm Fri 23-Jul-21 23:27:50

Though my parents are very middle middle class, we didn’t have loads of money and my relatives were all working class; but also I read pretty widely, so I wasn’t surprised by much when I got to university. But one thing that I remember really amazing me was well-off people buying very expensive tickets for events, and then just deciding not to go at the last minute. It had genuinely never occurred to me that you might buy a £150 ticket for a fancy event and then on the day be “oh I feel a bit hungover and I just don’t fancy it” and not turn up.

Similarly, people who booked holidays and flights and then just missed them or went late on another flight! I couldn’t comprehend it. My parents would have flown to the moon rather than miss something expensive that they had already paid for. Missing a flight and having to get on the next one would have been the catastrophe of the decade. One of their friends once cut a holiday in France short and went home two days early and they quite literally talked about it in hushed tones for the next twenty years.

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