How to tell you’re a middle-class lefty

There’s a park I know that is the regular hang-out of hippies and young families. Walking through it today, I tut-tutted at the beer bottles and rubbish left behind after what was clearly a booze-up last night. Whoever it was should have taken the bottles home for the recycling bin, said ‘no’ to plastic bags and put the food scraps in their worm farm or compost bin. Then I laughed at myself for being such a wanker.

So, here’s how you can tell you’re a middle-class lefty:

* You tut-tut at people who don’t take their own bags to the supermarket;

* Speaking of supermarkets, you ony go to them for things like toothpaste and toilet paper. For meat you go to the butcher, fish from the fishmonger and fruit and veg from the grocer;

* You’ve cut something from your diet because it makes you bloaty;

* You laugh at those celebrity gossip mags and find it very hard to believe that Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie give two hoots about each other after all these years;

* You talk about how much alcohol young people these days drink, over dinner with seven bottles of wine. Between four people. And afterwards, go for a ‘cleansing ale’;

* On the rare occasion that you’re in the Cross, taxis pick you up;

* You dream of growing enough tomatoes to have a real Italian-style passata day, but the three potted plants in your courtyard only give you a few cherry tomatoes a week;

* You use a keepcup;

* When you get a $30 mani-pedi, you feel guilty about having an Asian woman kneeling at your feet;

* You go to three different places to get the nuts, grains and dried fruit to make your own muesli – but there’s no wheat in it because wheat makes you bloaty;

* You’re baffled and disgusted by the comments left on news websites – how are people so ignorant and mean?;

* You use twitter to have pithy political discussions with people you don’t know;

* You make your own sausages, using intestines and not synthetic skins;

* You think it’s hilarious that some women spraypaint themselves orange, but secretly use a moisturiser that adds colour gradually – which, really, is always too yellow.

Ok gang, your turn…

79 responses to “How to tell you’re a middle-class lefty


    * You endlessly talk about your pet causes on Twitter, but never attend rallies, meetings or any other physical manifestation of support.

    • Yes! Hi Mike Stuchbery, welcome to the News with Nipples.

      And you justify not going to meetings and rallies with ‘oh, I’m too busy’ but really you were at a bbq with other middle-class lefties.

      • I actually started dabbling in going to local meetings of my party of choice…but they scared me. The anti-opposition rhetoric was horrible. I KNOW the opposition do it right back but I sat there all night listening to people more bitch about What Politician Said than actually frame Something That Can Be Done, thinking “I didn’t come here for a bitch session”

    • What if there aren’t rallies for your pet cause? What if public visibility causes hurt and harm for activists? What if rallies and meetings and physical manifestations exclude people for access and disability considerations? This kind of mentality is really fucking narrow minded and works against the diverse forms of activism that actually exist and work on a day to day basis.

      So here’s my addition:
      You might be a middle class leftie if you think that everyone else is a middle aged, middle class, able bodied, cisgendered and heterosexual male and if they can’t do the things you do it’s because they aren’t trying hard enough.

      • Hi Natalie, that last bit sounds like a middle class rightie to me. Those big-L Liberal voters who think poor people don’t have money because they don’t work hard enough, and homelessness is a lifestyle choice (I’m looking at you, Tony Abbott).

  2. – You complain that your favourite plus size and/or reasonably expensive ladies clothing store is having a sale a few days before Xmas, and you can’t afford to go shopping (I caught myself doing this last night).

    – You have two cars – a town and a touring car – and complain about the price of petrol and consider getting a hybrid (again, a conversation I had last night)

    – You complain that there aren’t enough “good” (organic/healthy/fresh) food outlets to buy lunch near your workplace (again, ditto, conversation …)

    • Yes to all. Except the car – we only have ManFriend’s work car and it comes with a fuel card. In true middle-class lefty style, he chose the smallest, most fuel-efficient car in the fleet.

      Speaking of hybrids, a friend has one and we all coo over it.

  3. Oh. Thank. God. Based on this I am not a middle-class lefty. Must be of the lower class variety.

  4. – You spent more money getting your pet groomed than a present for your parents birthday.

    – Your upset at the noise the neighbors are making re-tiling their bathroom but think nothing of moving out while your house gets renovated.

    – The best organic food and growers market is 2 hours drive away in the southern highlands but turn your nose up at the locals driving their range rovers.

    – A whole weekend is dedicated to growing a herb garden, but you still buy your herbs because it would ruin the look of the garden if you hacked the basil for a pesto.

    – You prefer to make your own tomato sauce.

    – you find a fantastic matching cup and saucer at the second hand market then go to David Jones and purchase the rest of the set.

  5. * You observe that your local area is “losing its soul” but am also rather chuffed that you can buy a decent cafe latte within 500m in any direction of your front door

    * You catch yourself saying that the 3 bedroom terrace down the road that sold for $785K was a “bargain”

    * Your two year old can accurately order your coffee for you in your local cafe – including the size, coffee type and variety of milk (note: my son did this to me yesterday)

    * You venture out for breakfast somewhere out of town and ask what kind of bread is available with the big breakfast .. and are a little shocked when the answer is “brown or white”.

    * You know who Bill, Nigella and Jamie are

    * You were scandalised that Tet’s lost a hat this year

    * You regularly spend more than $15 on a bottle of wine

  6. * You clean the house before the cleaner arrives because you don’t want them to think you’re a grot.

  7. I don’t go to butchers or fruit&veg shops because I can never seem to find one that takes EFTPOS. I’m not sure where that leaves me; middle-class lefty nerd?

    • Hi Peter, welcome to the News with Nipples. I’m not sure if it makes you a nerd, or just a little bit disorganised. Perhaps you forgot to get some money out because you were too busy thinking about your pet political causes (see Mike Stuchbery’s comment above).

  8. – You get your pet food delivered in bulk from the supplier because the amount of packaging that your cats cause make you feel so guilty about the environment that you’re contemplating if you should keep them.

    – You have three re-usable coffee cups, depending on what size coffee you need to get.

    – You only buy the Penguin Books coffee mugs of books that you have actually read as otherwise it’s cheating.

    • Aboveandbeyondgender, welcome to the News with Nipples. Not only do you have several re-usable coffee cups, but you’ve saved one of those little cardboard trays to take with you.

      • Speaking of packaging, you know you’re a middle-class lefty when you smugly wonder how your neighbours can generate so much rubbish each week, as you put your one small plastic bag in the bin.

        • My answer to that is that I’m a DINK. And most of my rubbish is in recyclables (hermmmm, wine bottles *cough*) and compost (for my box garden of course).

          • And if you bought a house with a lawn, you’d create a no-dig garden on top using recycled railway sleepers and roof tiles.

            You also know you’re a middle-class lefty when you get excited over the renovation your neighbours are planning because it involves a roof-top vegetable garden.

        • Meanwhile your neighbours with the 3 kids and the very full bin sneak out at 1am and fill your bin up with the stuff they couldn’t fit in their own. Especially around Christmas. And despite their vigorous use of composting and recycling 😦 Multiple kids really cramp the middle-class lefty style.

  9. You have a cleaner 🙂

  10. * You shell out over $30 for a t-shirt bearing an anti-establishment slogan for your toddler (who will be too big for it in 6 months).

    • And you and your friends start having babies in your mid-to-late 30s.

      • Guilty again and I’m now already having discussions about ‘decent’ schools in the area (child not yet born) and would I consider public (assuming private seems a given) yet I rail about the importance of public funded education.

        • Oh cripes, I caught myself doing that only last week!!! I used to be a teacher, and always used to bang on about the importance of public education, only to dismiss our local high school with a sniff (to be fair, it is Canterbury Boys High – so can you see my dilemma) and started comparing the nearby private schools (Trinity! Newington!). Ah … what to do?

  11. * When someone offers you a joint at a party, you’re excited that the circles you move in haven’t become completely corporate 9-to-5ers, but turn it down because you don’t want to be grumpy all week at work.

  12. My goodness – I thought I was a middle class lefty! Mani-pedi? I didn’t even get one for my wedding (at home – with a free celebrant!)

    But here’s some for the STINGY middle-class lefty – at least the ones that refer to me are for the stingy middle class lefty.

    *You repost good articles on FB thinking that you will convince your friends – and the only ones that read it are the ones that already agree with you.

    *You buy second-hand 20s to 70s furniture because it is well made AND makes your house look bohemian chic AND maintains low-embodied-energy footprint. And because it is often cheaper than IKEA if you know the right sort of general auctions.

    *Your friends buy plywood Christmas trees from reverse garbage to put up in their IKEA-full houses.

    *Your next-door neighbour’s 3 year-old son play shops and asks his mum, ‘What would you like to buy?
    ‘An apple please!’
    ‘Yes thanks.”
    “Here you go, that will be $5!”

    *It makes you uncomfortable when David Marr shows his prejudice too much.

    You hang around with pagans, Wiccans, re-enactors, folkies, Unionists, homeopaths and nerds in general and feel uncomfortable when some of them AREN’T middle-class lefties.

    My husband used to be a suit managing a state division of Coles-Myer but downsized before I met him and is now a welder with a aeroplane fixation – but he still collects books on art-deco, on 1930s aeronautical engineering, on ancient history and is a total food, coffee and wine snob – and you KNOW he is a middle-class lefty because from the lofty heights of being a middle-class lefty-tradie who wears hi-V shirts, he looks down on his oldest friend who is very senior at Deutsche Bank for being too hung up on money and status…

    *You can’t bring yourself to go to the cafes in your tree-change area and so have a second-hand commercial espresso machine actually plumbed into the mains in your kitchen…

    *Your parents letter-box for the Greens

    *You drive a Mercedes because they last longer and therefore reduce your embodied energy footprint – NOT (of COURSE!) because you like hearing your five-year-old telling people, ‘Our car is a MERCEDES!”

  13. *You hide your Jilly Coopers behind your Robertson Davies’ so that your friends don’t find out about your trash addiction.

    • I hide my True Blood books behind my massive Noam Chomsky book which I haven’t read. Because Noam Chomsky is fucking boring. I have a secret bookcase in my closet that’s full of trash – all my “smart” books are in the lounge.

      “*You repost good articles on FB thinking that you will convince your friends – and the only ones that read it are the ones that already agree with you.” So damn true for me!

      • That’s hilarious. My mum has a range of posh coffee table books she has never read and regards them as legitimate ornaments. Mind you my parents my be muddle class but are defo not lefties, they are out n proud Tories.

        Actually, theres another one. You are the private school educated, pony riding daughter of Tory parents who has 2 degrees in politics, works in social policy and berates her parents for their right wing views on Muslims and the homeless. I’m a living cliche

  14. Yes!…..You got me……..Keep up the good work!

  15. Dear Lord! I am a middle-class lefty!
    I was hoping to find one that i didn’t agree with… i couldn’t
    for shame

  16. I think your work here is done. I can’t add a single thing. And I’m blushing at my reflection in the mirror.

  17. ooops, guilty as charged!!!

  18. You move to a remote desert community that has no waste management services and consider doing a monthly drive to the closest town that recycles – 10 hours away.

  19. How to tell if youz a middle class lefty? You know exactly the type of joke to make on a thread about middle class lefties. Hehehe…

  20. (Actually ever since I had kids I tend to look longingly at specials boards outside beauticians – but it’s that or secondhand books and so no contest really. Single welder’s income doesn’t go particularly far when you have to squeeze solar installations out of it…oooops showing my middle-class-lefty roots again!)
    I also loved the organic apple thing – I laughed a lot at my neighbour and told her it was going on FB.

  21. You buy a hybrid because you genuinely believe it is actually enviromentally friendly

    • Hi Neil, welcome to the News with Nipples. And not only do you genuinely believe that driving a hybrid is better than using public transport, but you complain that the cost of the car means you can’t afford your regular skiing/snowboarding trip to Japan this year, so you fly to NZ to ski instead.

  22. I’m devasted by this post NWN – all this time I have carved out my slot in the social strata, felt absolutely comfortable with (nay, proud of!) being a genuine middle-class leftie – BUT I’M NOT! There is not a SINGLE thing on your list that I can tick. I’m sobbing as I write. I’ve never even heard of things like “keepcups” or “mani-pedis”. I thought I’d found one characteristic I could tick in having “pithy” political convos on Twitter but frankly, nothing I’ve said on Twitter could ever be described as such. Then I thought I knew the chef’s first names, and I do know two of them, but who the hell is Bill? So now I must accept that I can no longer think of myself as a middle-class leftie, which leaves me with only one question ……………. WTF AM I?????

    • Oh Marion, don’t cry. Twitter by its very nature is pithy. And since you talk politics on twitter, you can tick that box. But if you know Tet but not Bill, maybe you’re upper-class?

      And ta da! The keepcup: Allowing middle-class lefties to believe that buying a barista-friendly plastic mug is better for the environment than using disposable takeaway cups since 2010.

  23. Wow, that shows me up as not just a middle-class lefty but a really really hippy one – I thought a keepcup was one of those soft plastic things that women who don’t use tampons or pads use to contain the menstrual blood until they can get rid of it discreetly. Eco-friendly! reusable! Non-toxic!
    I don’t use them! But know people that do!

  24. * Your car bears a ‘Your Rights at Work’ sticker yet you’ve never had to use Solvol soap in your life.
    * You are a member of one of those car share clubs.
    * You are or voted for Clover Moore.
    * You live in Surry Hills.
    * You make your own pasta and you are not Italian.
    *You host Media Watch but never give yourself a hiding when you fuck up.
    * You contribute to New Matilda.
    * You use soy milk even thogh you’re not lactose intollerent or gluten free bread even though you’re not a coeliac.
    * You are or ever have been a vegan.
    * You go to Byron for the ‘culture’ rather than the surfing.
    * You rate Eastern Suburbs beaches on their amenities and number of cafe’s as opposed to quality of waves.
    * Your name is Phillip Adams.

  25. You’ve been contemplating for the past two days if you should add another comment to this post and have decided that you have to.

    Mooncups/Menstrual Cups are AWESOME! They feel way more comfortable than ordinary tampons and once you get the knack of inserting them you totally don’t feel them at all. They last for years so can literally save you hundreds! No leakage at night. I swear by them.

  26. You know you’re a middle-class lefty when you pick up your much much younger brother-in-law from primary school and his mum has given him money to take you to his favourite French patisserie, and then afterwards you take him to the eco centre to learn about worm farms. (This actually happened.)

  27. Confession: I recently bought organic dog treats for my parent’s dog at Eveleigh Farmers’ Market and discussed at length with the market stall holder how the dog will be able to ‘tell the difference’. Patsy is a labrador who eats our rabbit’s poo from the lawn and has been known to eat her own vomit – I very much doubt she’ll be able to ‘tell the difference’.

  28. You spend as much on organic, boutique candles as the weekly mortgage on your ‘country house’.

    You compete with your friends about who went without a TV for the longest.

  29. *you have a cleaner*

    but only after a lengthy conversation with the proprietor about the environmental impact of the products (none, apparently) and the labour practices of the organisation (above award, permanent part-time staff). You are chuffed to tell people that your cleaning company is a “local social enterprise. They train up people with a disability to be cleaners…that’s why it costs more…”

  30. Oh my god I am SO white! I am like the whitest person ever!

  31. Apparently when you high 5 (which I hate cos I’m english and uptight about such garish American styled behavior) you should focus on the elbow or something, then you never miss.

    Remind me to tell you the captain America story some day. . . Which I did in a bet with K.

  32. Pingback: A Christmas message from News Nips | the news with nipples

  33. You know that in comparing the KeepCup to the MoonCup, other middle-class lefties *actually* mean The Keeper.

  34. * You tell all of your friends how much your $8000 solar install is saving you on electricity bills.
    * Your proudest moment is when someone from the ABC retweeted you, and your friends all noticed.
    * You complain about how you are forced to take your clients to the Formula One each year.
    * You take local craft beers with you to any BBQ, because you’re worried what people might think if they knew that you only drink German beer at home.

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