Minor British Institutions: Net curtains
Saturday 19 March 2011
You will not be surprised to learn that the net curtain is a British, or, specifically, English device, as it allows examination of the outside world without permitting introspection.
The net spread with the rising urban middle classes, who began to worry that their betters might sneer at their interiors and their inferiors might steal from them.
Originally made of lace, the introduction of light polyester nets increased opportunities for hidden observing, and the net assumed its role as a cipher for suburbia and its supposed narrowness and nosiness. Now it is rarely met without its default adjective, "twitching", emphasising that it's seen mostly as a means of prying rather than protecting.
Its more organised consequence, Neighbourhood Watch, hasn't attracted the same opprobrium. The upper classes prefer shutters. Continentals, who largely operate an open-curtain policy, are puzzled by all this obscurantism. But then they, palpably, are not British.
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
Oscar Pistorius trial: Neighbour feared athlete would use gun that killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp to shoot himself
Top 10 most expensive cities in the world: Singapore named costliest place to live – but what about London?
Oscar Pistorius trial: Athlete 'cheated on me' with Reeva Steenkamp, former girlfriend Samantha Taylor tells Pretoria court
Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 The future of sex: The first female condoms were derided, mistrusted and shunned - but will their modern counterparts catch on?
- 2 South African rhino finally put down after roaming Kruger park for days with horn hacked off and bullet in brain
- 3 Italian pensioner hires an escort who turns out to be his son's girlfriend
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Channel 4 announces two-hour TV show to be broadcast 'Live from Space' later this month
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...