Although the on-line dictionary will say something else, the way I hear chav used in the UK is like how an American might use WT. Now that we have learned ourselves something…
Yesterday I actually took Jonah to Selfridges so I could see Katie Price in the flesh during her book signing. This is a clear sign I should no longer be on maternity leave. For those unaware of Katie, she is “Jordan” (omg, she lowered the price on her official fan club membership because of the “current financial crisis”!!) and is inexplicably what is called in the UK a “glamour model”. Now I am on Team Pete after their nasty split (and holy, is he HOT), but for some reason I have a low-level obsession with this woman. The boobs, the fake tan, the three kids (one with severe disabilities), the candor, the fact that she rides horses (only in Britain such incongruity in a person!), the down-to-earth persona, the empire she has created from her “brand”, the velour tracksuits, the accent, the outfits… oh I could go on. She is my pop culture beacon in an otherwise wasteland of material (royals = boring; children of Bob Geldof = YAWN).
So in typical Jordan fashion, she arrived to her book signing late and in bizarre dress with an entourage of men dressed as women, including her current boyfriend who has admitted in the press he enjoys cross-dressing (and incidentally, he is a cagefighter). I felt sorry for Selfridges. I am pretty sure it has a higher class rep than that and I could almost hear the disdain in the voice of the girl on the PA: Attention shoppers, if you want to meet Katie Price, please head to the Lower Ground level. (And then shoot me.)
So it was me and a large gathering of maladjusted and sorry individuals. Definitely a fire code violation and definitely not a place for a baby. Oops. And of course I was too short to see anything.
When Katie had departed, I started flipping through her new book and found myself surprisingly sucked in. When a tourist next to me asked who Katie Price was, I gave her a mini-education on the UK’s finest. All the while an English girl was giving me the stink eye, as if to say “don’t you try and drop knowledge on our native daughter, you, American, you.” Look, I can’t help my hobby.
P.S. I looked up “chav” and it reminds me of something that always amuses me. In the UK, when the youth are up to no good like, um selling drugs or getting in pub brawls, it’s called “anti-social behaviour”. I love it. What Americans would use to refer to a quiet person at a cocktail party, the British apply to teenagers who push pregnant women onto train tracks. So antisocial!