7 December 2018
“We’re so ‘U’,” I tell my housemate, Peter, 66, over Fortnum and Mason breakfast tea this week.
“You know I don’t understand youth speak,” he says, taking a bite of artisanal Italian toast.
The day before I’d told him using the word “sick” was cooler than saying “cool” because he’s dating and trying to rejuvenate his language and he’d replied: “As in the Latin?”
I’m 28 – hence the misunderstandings – but our age difference is also the fact we’re so “U”, according to Tatler’s new rules. The fact “U” stands for “upper class” in our case is probably helped by the fact that Peter’s an antique silver dealer and hashtags George IV stirrup cups (circa 1829) on Instagram. If he was a roofer, I’m not sure it’d have the same effect.
I met Peter through his son Hugo, a university friend, and we instantly clicked over books. His house is my heaven: a library to which I don’t need a card. When Hugo moved out of their South London home last year, to New York, I moved in. I needed somewhere to go and Peter wanted the company. “Look after my dad,” Hugo said, and I like to think I did – and do.
At first most of my friends thought it was “well weird” to move in with someone my dad’s age (older men and younger women are still deemed suspicious companions) but now they ask: “How’s Peter?” One of them went looking for him at Portobello Market in Notting Hill last week where he has a silver stall every Saturday, and my new netball team want him to become our cheerleader.
We might be unconventional friends but we’re great ones and if someone doesn’t get the older friend thing, I know why. They’re so non-U.