So I realized I needed to form some stereotypes in order to better represent myself at the bar. And defend England. In a way.
Next time an Englishman asks his English question: “Why would you come here from America? I’d rather be in California! ” I will be able to respond , “Well, yes, but at least you don’t have to show your IDs to cops and it’s acceptable to hang out in the pub all day!.”
Here ya go: An 100% accurate sociological descriptions of life in Northern England as observed by an American gal working in a local pub and shopping at Tesco four times a week. Ta!
England vs America
In England, alcoholism doesn’t really exist.
I mean, there’s plenty of people who drink. But are you really going to call your hardworking uncle Steve an alcoholic just because he’s spending every evening from 5 – 7 at the pub? How could you when you’re always there to greet him – that’s just after tea revelry. Still think there’s a problem? Then bring the family down on Sundays, little Lucy and Dave can have juice and crisps and try their luck at the slot machines while uncle Steve and uncle Joe yell at Steve Moyes.
When greeted with the question ‘How are you,’ Americans will over-exaggerate their accomplishments, while the English can be downers.
The Northern greeting: “Hiya, are you okay?” or sometimes just, “you OK?” serves as a rhetorical question to engage friends, family and acquaintances, but you don’t really want to hear the answer. The acceptable answer is something like: “just getting by,” or, “I’m still alive,” and sometimes even, “Having a shit week.” Your friends will nod and understand and buy you a round of drinks.
Don’t say ‘happy,’ ‘excellent,’ or ‘great,’ the Northern Brits will look at you like you’ve just ingested too many cheap drugs from Amsterdam. Or they’ll just think you’re “slow.”
As we all know, this differs from American culture. If your friend says, ‘just getting by,’ you steer clear of that depressed loser.
and who knows what happens when a Northerner greats a Southerner
In America, the customer is always right. In England, the customer is a nob-head who needs to be put in his place.
Want to send back your food? Are you SURE there’s a problem. That looks fine to me, you fucking trouble-making wanker.
Want to return an item? Are you SURE you didn’t use it? That looks like a scratch to me, you careless scam artist.
Sometimes I miss –>walmart<–
English cops are friendly.
Lost your way? No problem, the cop is the civil servant of your dreams, eager to point you in the right direction lest you accidentally create crime by walking the wrong way. English cops also engage in the community with suicide prevention, taxi services for solo women, hitchhiker relocation, amputated penis hunting, and humour therapy.
You can politely decline to show your ID and all the police can do is berate you: “You mean to tell me two American tourists with large backpacks don’t have their passports on them?” “No, sir. That would be dangerous. One doesn’t want to get robbed, does she?” “Right-o! Quite true. One must be safe.” “It’s ok, officer, let me just write down my full name and address…”
On the more dangerous side, they don’t carry guns.
All workers that come anywhere close to the road wear vests in England. So do bicyclists and bus drivers, construction workers, postal guys and kids on field trips. Not just vests, ugly, over-sized fluorescent colored vests that identify exactly who they are and what is there business. When I first arrived in England I feared all vested humans, assuming they were some kind of police, security or swat team. Now I understand that they’re just poor lost socialist souls stuck in a state-sponsored job.
Haha, you silly American. It’s safety! You’re too much of a gun-toting barbarian to understand all these safety precautions!
Don’t think it prevents anyone from thieving, but you can’t escape the watchful eye. You are being watched at the grocery store, you are being watched outside your home, you are being watched while you drive, you are being watched as you hit on that cute librarian girl, you are being watched in the porta potty…Big Brother is everywhere!
But then again, he wears a bright orange vest and doesn’t have a gun. So is he really something to fear?