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Originally made of lace, the introduction of light polyester nets increased opportunities for hidden observing, and the net assumed its role as a cipher for suburbia and its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.
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 The jihadi girls who went to Syria weren't just radicalised by Isis — they were groomed
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Someone has actually got a tattoo of that dress
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...