Back in the day – when the world was a simple place and Facebook groups stood for something you could believe in – there used to be one called ‘I’m from South East London, that means I’m better than you’. Before all the tedious people point it out, yes, I’m sure there were similar copy-cat groups for other places, but that doesn’t matter; they were wrong and the South East London one was correct. Being from South East London does, immediately, make you superior to all human beings who are not, in every way possible. Which isn’t to say that I don’t get along with people from all over the world. I’m not completely xenophobic – my own parents are from the tan-tastic county of Essex and I don’t hold that against them. They can’t help it (and I’ve given them a few amazing points because they had the wisdom to move away and to birth and raise their children in an area more conducive to greatness).
I know, it’s totally not fair that having the good fortune to hail from a few tiny square miles on the edge of a seething metropolis should afford one so many advantages in life, but what can I do? Not only are we hard (yes, harder than our cheeky cockney cousins having it up across the river – you would just so NOT see an SE Londoner make themselves a figure of ridicule by dressing in all that pearly queen gear), we’re also smart: witty, arrogant, cunning, straight talking (we call a cunt and cunt, lol*) and totally able to see through what my Dad’s mate Paul used to call ‘Billy bullshit’. Most importantly – at least in terms of the theme of this blog – we are well fucking gloriously sexy. There’s no point in hating. I don’t make the rules. I just observe them, and write them here for you to read about.
Now, since I’ve moved away from South East London (no, I’m not sure why I did it either, something about my career and a doctoral scholarship), the sexy thing’s been a bit of a problem. I’m going to be frank with you. I’ve only had, maybe, one sexual encounter, ever, with a man who wasn’t from within the few miles that I consider my homeground (alright, fine, two – but I’m not proud of it). Suprisingly, it wasn’t completely unsatisfactory and in fact for the novelty alone I’m going to say I would even recommend a bit of postcode variety to others. But still, something within me deeply mistrusts anyone who has never been on the 177 (which is, incidentally, my favourite bus route). This makes finding a partner in the north rather burdensome. Most Yorkshire men have never needed to get from Plumstead to Peckham** on £2.20.
What makes the task of finding a lover even more difficult is that being from South East London is a very specific thing. I’ve met a few kind of kinsfolk since I’ve been in this grimy northern city, but they aren’t totally part of the SE massive. It’s not enough, I’m afraid, to have moved there in adulthood or to be born there and then move somewhere else as a pre-teen. Mind you, you don’t have to be a British National to be SE either – we’re a culturally and ethnically diverse people (as you will know, if you ever attended the anti-racist festival on Plumsted Common, when it was good, between the years 1995 and 1999). I discussed all this at length with a friend and we decided that what fundamentally makes you proper SE London is going to a state school (posh people are immediately excluded on the grounds that fuck them, they don’t use buses) somewhere between the ages of 11 and 16, in one of the five boroughs (Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark). Although, obviously, if you lived or went to school in SE18, that gives you bonus street-cred.
Very few real SE Londoners live anywhere else – why would they want to? And that perhaps explains why I’ve struggled to meet anyone suitably amazing since I’ve moved away. Then again, I probably haven’t been trying hard enough – having taken the view that once you’ve had caviar cod roe just won’t do.
Recently, I’ve started to realise that this is all very snobbish; yes, I’m from the actual master-race, but this doesn’t mean I can’t at least try to appreciate the slightly diminished riches other human people might wish to offer me. If I stopped aiming so high, perchance I’d find contentment with a brooding, bearded stranger. But- nah, fuck that. My parents didn’t move all the way from Basildon to Woolwich so I could marry some northerner with membership to pigeon fanciers anonymous (just jokes, I know some of you prefer ferrets). Looks like my SE London heritage actually is another reason to be single. Well, it’s either that I’m just too amazing for love or it’s my post-modern semi-ironic conceit holding me back: apparently, people don’t really like it when you think you’re better than them. Who’d a thought it?
*I like how having a blog means I’m not subject to editorial censorship, but as I realise some of you might be offended by the ‘c’ word I put ‘lol’ after it to make it seem light-hearted. Didn’t work, did it?
** I do know that the 177 runs from Thamesmead to Peckham, but I’ve decided alliteration is well lol, and therefore made a (nonetheless accurate) alteration. I gotta take my pleasure where I find it.