The following advice really offended me, and yet I can see some of the practical sides of it: Never date outside your social class. The business man who dates a career waitress, or the lawyer who dates a handyman: Your new significant other will feel left out, will not feel as if he fits in. They acknowledge that sometimes these things work, but say that it is rare. It actually made me angry (at least angry enough to post here.) And yet..female lawyer friend is married to a man who worked at a grocery store.He (actually the book alternates he and she throughout the book, but I find it annoying and will spare you) will start to resent your friends and then start to resent you. He has privately told me that he feels left out in our groups. My husband and I are from different social classes, mine wealthy, his pretty much white trash (his words).Their ages ranged from early 20s to mid-60s, and couples had been living together anywhere from a year and a half to 43 years. Now that we aren’t generally born into our roles as scullery maids or earls, a wider range of factors contributes to class identity.When Mc Dowell’s team asked their participants to define “class,” they came up with pretty similar answers: “I think social class is a status you have throughout your life based on how educated you are, what you do in society, how much you earn,” said one, while another said, “It is how much education you have, how rich you are, how many people you know, and who you know.” Social scientists generally identify class as a product of “the combination of educational level, income, money, type of job, social and occupational prestige, and political power.” And, as Mc Dowell et al.
In fact, it’s usually not until meeting their in-laws that the couples themselves tend to become aware of their differences: more privileged partners spoke of the shock of walking into a house with hundreds of crystal figurines or trying to eat spam with a smile.Often, these strategies are variations of going with the flow and taking things as they come. Isabelle, for example, is the daughter of a farmer and a bartender.(All the survey participants have been given pseudonyms.) Her family did not know how much money each year’s crops or tips would bring in. From fairy tales to adult films, we are exposed to a repeated idea: that love, or at least lust, crosses class lines.In fiction, cross-class relationships either end in marriage and happily-ever-after, or else in dissolution and even death. Last year, I set out to answer this question by interviewing college-educated men and women who had married partners from different class backgrounds, for my book Most of the time, couples’ recognition of their different pasts was acknowledged in little more than a comment about their father’s job or a lavish family vacation.