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Yankeebean’s American-ness vs. English Chick’s English-ness

Posted on February 27, 2009 by yankeebean

yankeebeanAaaaaaaaand – Yankeebean wins!!!

But before I revel in my creepy success (yes, it’s creepy, I’m not proud of my ‘us vs. them attitude), there are some facts that are important to this story:

Fact 1 – I am a musician and being a musician means meeting and getting to know as many other musicians as humanly possible.

Fact 2 – I am a very smiley person, this (I feel) is often confused with flirtation. But it isn’t, Mr Nice Guy is all the English man I need ;)

Fact 3 – I don’t have a great track record with English women. They don’t warm to me… The don’t even luke-warm to me… Maybe it’s the accent, maybe it’s the hair, who knows (who cares?)

SO, now for the tale of my creepy triumph…

I went to a gig in York recently and was introduced to a Recording Engineer and his girlfriend. So I did the ‘networking’ thing – y’know – ‘so tell me more about what you do’, ‘what does that involve?’, ‘are you ever looking for a piano/synth player’, yada yada yada… (It’s the broken record of networking)

And WHAT is his girlfriend doing during all this? STARING AT ME LIKE I HAVE 3 HEADS! And not just 3 heads – 3 EVIL HEADS!!

I mean, for God’s sake, WHAT??? Something in my nose?? Eye lash in my third-eye?? Tail showing from under skirt???

What is it about me that makes me get that look? Sometimes I think it’s the faux-flirtation thing – they think I’m husband hunting? Sometimes I wonder if they think I’m stupid because I smile so much (I get patronized a lot – but just for the record, ‘happy’ and ‘na├»ve’ are not the same thing.) Or then again, they could just have a problem wit my 3 evil heads…

But this time I took it as a personal challenge. THIS TIME I decided to just keep going – see what would happen.

Snarky comment? Cat fight? Spontaneous combustion? If it doesn’t kill me, I’ll be stronger, right? So on I went, chirpy as anything, and trying to involve the English chick at every opportunity. Determined not to be derailed by her raised eyebrows and unimpressed, un-blinking stare.

At first she tried (well struggled) to smile back at me each time I smiled at her. Then, after awhile, she started whispering into her boyfriend’s ear while we were chatting. Then, eventually, he whispered back to her and she stropped off and LEFT!

That’s right, she left! I was SO chirpy and friendly that she actually fled the scene. I guess it’s that ‘fight or flight’ instinct, and I think she made the right call…

So in Yankeebean vs. the English Chick – *dingdingding* – Yankeebean wins!!

And the crowd goes wild! :)

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What Others Are Saying

  1. Michelle March 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Yes! I can relate to your story. If the female half of a British couple is being weird like that about me, but I am only having a perfectly reasonable public conversation with the couple, I do what I can to include her, and I just barrel on through too. It really makes me feel a lot better to hear that this happens to other American women.

  2. Susan March 31, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    This comment is very much after the fact -sorry – but I think it’s just certain Brit women who see American women as adversarial when it is them, not us. I used to work for an entertainment company based in the US which has it’s international HQ in London. Some of the Brit women never warmed to any of us in the US. I was reprimanded for being snotty/smug when I was just being a normal American – smiling was a big no no apparently. As was being friendly and talking to people. It is their problem, I wish I knew what was at the bottom of it. I (and others) wound up quitting. It just wasn’t worth the many meetings about “our attitudes” when all we were doing was being friendly (and working tons of unpaid overtime whilst doing it!)

    And whomevers mum – besides being rude and throwing the typical “American imperialism” conversational hand grenade into the conversation….learn your history dear. The Brits were the ones who initially made a mess of Iraq (look up 1920 – sadly we didn’t learn from your mistakes) and you are bizzarly overlooking the French’s history of the subjugation of Vietnam for 100 years which created the problem? With the track record of the British Empire you should be a bit quieter. Crack a history book why dontcha?

  3. Pingback: Controversy in Yorkshire « She’s not from Yorkshire…

  4. yankeebean March 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Stroppy Rachel – I can’t believe she said that to you! Actually, knowing it happens to everyone does make me feel a lot better. I’m gonna work on not taking it so personally and continue to kill them with kindness :)

  5. Stroppy Rachel March 1, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I feel I must apologise, on behalf of all right-thinking Englishwomen, for your encounter with the bitch. If it is any consolation, they are rude to their fellow Englishwomen also. On a works night out I greeted the wife of a colleague by saying “How nice to meet you at last! Chris talks about you all the time.” To which the saddo snapped: “Funny, he’s never told me anything about you.”

  6. peacefulyorkshire February 28, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Dear “Murtonmum”,
    Many thanks for reading “Shes Not from Yorkshire”! We highly value visitors like yourself to keep us entertained for many chats that we have eating our Betty’s scones. Certain English women like yourself are exactly the reason we write feel the need to write posts like the ones above. Thanks for your continued inspiration which we continue to draw from in the future– in fact, a post based on your comment will most likely be in the making. Well done!

    Yours Sincerely,
    PeacefulYorkshire

  7. pacificyorkshirebird February 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Your smileyness is fabulous and if people misinterpret it as anything other than being a smiley person then that is completely their loss.

    I bet you don’t get stopped by lonely people trying to strike up a conversation by saying “Cheer up, its not so bad!” or “Lift your cheeks love!” My neutral face gets misinterpreted for frowning now and again. I hope to be more smiley like you because it is welcoming and lovely to be around smiley people!

    Dingdingding – Yankeebean is a winner every time!

  8. yankeebean February 28, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Right, I’ve added you to the list of people not to invite round for tea (but wish you all the best) :) . Are you Paul Merton’s Mum? He’s hilarious…

  9. mertonmum February 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Well, I dont warm to you either! Could it be that the carping, point-scoring tone of your article also comes across in person? People dont have to like you and they dont have to like Americans in general, so why dont stop trying to beat them into submission – this isnt Iraq or Vietnam after all!

  10. notfromaroundhere February 27, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    That is totally the epitome of rudeness, but good for you for holding out! I’ve heard this too, that I’m seen as flirtatious (I work with all men save one female who doesn’t acknowledge me when we’re in the lift at the same time) and well I’m midwestern so I smile and chat and well, smile a lot. Pleasantries somehow equate to flirting here in some equation I don’t get. But I agree, focus on the lovely women of any nationality.

  11. yankeebean February 27, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Cinda – I really don’t want to scare you! I do know some really lovely English women (some who read this blog, too!). They’re not all this way, these instances just really stick out in my mind because they occure steadily and I still A) feel like it’s my fault and B) don’t know how to make it stop happening. But I’ve given up on trying, to be honest. My advice is to ignore the tetchy ones and focus on the fun and friendly and ones! :)

    Iota – I’m always tinged with guilt after I make blanket statements like in this blog. I really appreciate your understanding! It’s funny to think I may come across as so confident, it’s a big sham! :) I guess the only answer is to ‘keep on keeping on’ and hope for the best. And focus on the lovely English women I know :)

  12. Iota February 27, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    I can’t believe she would start whispering into her boyfriend’s ear mid-conversation – how rude!

    I am trying to think of some word of wisdom from an English woman’s perspective, but failing…

    Perhaps part of it is that Americans always seem super-confident. Most of us are unconfident in some degree and at some level, and the confidence of other people can be threatening. I know a friend of mine once affected the Americanism of saying “sure” instead of “ok’ or “yes”. Someone then told her that it made her sound very confident, and intimidating. Did you notice that? Intimidating. Somehow, we find it hard to separate out confident from intimidating.

    But I don’t know what the answer is, because you don’t want to deliberately play being unconfident – that’s a silly game.

    Or of course it could be that third head of yours.

  13. Cinda February 27, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    ok…now you have me scared…I am going over on Monday to yorkshire, I am told that the english women that my b-friend knows are excited to meet me…hmmmmm….maybe they are only excited because they work for him….which is really kind of weird because all the english I know here are very friendly…

    must be they in some way feel threatened by you…seems a big fascination with american women by the men there, maybe they think american women are wild and carefree and loads of crazy fun…at least that’s the vibe I am getting…well 3 days and I will find out….

    I will be fresh off the plane if any of you want to meet up…there for 3 weeks….coming from Florida.

    My daughter is coming too and we have to come up with some educational activities so she can get class credit for our trip…any ideas….places to go etc… we will be in a town called Farsley, somewhere near Leeds and York.

    Sorry I got off track…

    back to you…I think that you must be stunningly full of life and excitement and intellectually they feel threatened because you have more in common with their boyfriend then them, you intimidate the english women you have run across there!

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