Do English people hate talking about money so much that someone is REFUSING TO PAY ME??

I woke up today to a ridiculous email from a friend (a friend!) I’ve been collaborating with.  I don’t mention it often, but I’m a musician and I do a lot of remote recording work.  My friend (FRIEND!?) and I just finished working on a ten track album on which I worked on 9 out of the ten songs.

I do this kind of thing all the time and usually with people I’ve never met.  So what I USUALLY do (very sensibly) is arrange a contract first and everyone signs it before I record a note.  But THIS time it was for an English friend so I thought we could just talk money once I’d finished.  What. A. FOOL.

When we came to talk percentages / royalties ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE and now I can’t see past my fury enough to figure out if he’s:

a) Over-reacting

b) A d-bag

or c) Rendered useless by money-talk because of his Britishness

Here’s what happened:

He emailed me to ask about contracts / percentages, etc.  I emailed back suggesting slightly high figures so he could barter me down to what I actually wanted.  Based on my past 10 years of experience – this is how it’s always done.  But here’s his response:

I think I wasn’t expecting any of this and in reality this album wont me making you or I any money.

Really?  Nobody every told me…

I won’t be making any formal agreement with percentages or sales in regards to the songs.

OH, GOOD.  I thought you were going to make this difficult.

I think you will have to accept the original terms – you did this because you wanted to play these songs, not for any financial reward.

What??   I  mean yes, I love music and yes, I like his songs – but I can’t pay my bills with the Sound of Music (unless the hills come alive and pay my mortgage)

You cannot now be asking for percentages and so forth when it was clear from the start I would not be paying you for your contribution to the album.

Um… yes I can.  Because no it wasn’t.

This is the same as a dentist doing a filling and his patient telling him he should accept payment as HIS LOVE OF TEETH.

So cast your votes, expats!  Is he a) over-reacting, b) d-bagging or c) paralysed by the fear of talking about moolah.

The WORST fake English accents: Why don’t they just hire British actors to play British characters??

I’m at the stage at my stay here in the UK that I don’t really hear the British accent anymore.  Unless it’s a strong local-y sounding one (Yorkshire, Bristol, Scouse, Geordie), it washes right over me.

But when they hire an American, an Irish person or an Australian to play a Brit – OH! – Mine ears, they do tremble.  Why don’t they just hire Brits??  Especially since they’re cheap labour

I’ve been doing some Googling to find some evidence, and I’ve come up with the following 3 heinous examples:

Anne Hathaway in One Day

Bless her heart, I love Anne Hathaway in almost everything she ever touches (yes, this includes the Princess Diaries 2).  But how can I keep track of what’s going on in a film with this strange Ameri-cockney-yorkshire accent beast staring me down?

Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta

I’m also a huge lover of Natalie Portman – she’s a freaking genius and most things she touches turn to golden box office successes.  But her ACCENT!  Ohmygee, her accent.  That’ll be ten Pledge of Allegiances and a whole cheese pizza as penance, Nat-Port.

Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins

No list of crappest-Brit-accents would be complete without Dickie-boo!

I love this movie.  MY GOD, I love this movie.   I live in eternal hope that one day I’ll find a handbag big enough to keep a floor lamp in.  But Dick Van Dyke really set the bar in terms of heinous accents.  It doesn’t ruin the over all movie for me, though – probably because it’s all so cartoony and his accent is, too.


Part of me gets it.  Directors have a specific actor in mind and they bring them in regardless of their stubborn American twang.  It’s distracting, though – there’s nowt to be done about it!

I know it isn’t a one-way train.  There are plenty of Brits doing heinous American accents out there (except for Hugh Laurie, of course.  He sounds more American than I do), but for some reason I don’t tend to find bad American accents as distracting.  Now that I mention it, I should give a shout out Gweneth Paltrow who throws a seriously excellent English accent in my opinion.

What about you guys?  Can you stand it?  Have I missed any obvious ‘worst English accent ever’ candidates?  Or what about bad American accents?  I can’t think of any off the top of my head…

 

Oh no… here come more broad sweeping generalisation from people who I thought were my friends…

Every time America is in the news, I find myself unfriending someone else from  Facebook.  I’m starting to see a pattern here…

As we all now know, Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan – it’s big big big news.  Some people are celebrating, some are anxious about the possible retaliation that we have to prepare for and pretty much everyone I know is talking about it on Facebook.

Comments on my Facebook page are all fairly similar.  People are talking about Obama’s speech and several people have mentioned that they think this will cinch his re-election.  Anyway, it’s obvious that Bin Laden won’t be missed…

But there was also this:

Alright – place your bets. Who’s going to be the next bete noire for the USA? There must always be a figurehead to strike fear into the witless populace and make them willingly give up their freedom.

WHY do people think it’s ok to make broad sweeping generalisations about Americans??  If something like this was said about someone’s race, gender or sexuality it would be completely unacceptable.  But not the Americans… we’re open game to anyone with a chip on their shoulder.

The truth is, I expect to hear stupid comments like this sometimes – it’s all part of the joys of being an expat no matter where you live or where you’re from. The thing that throws me is when someone that I like(d) says crap like this…

Sigh…

British people are fascinated by American high school cliques – “What group would I have been in?”

yankeebean

Ok, it’s happened enough times now that it warrants a blog post.  I was a choir practice at my church the other day, sitting next to a girl who’s in her final year of GCSE’s (the equivalent of being a sophomore in high school).  During the break she came up and said,

“Y’know high school?  Do people really separate into groups like in the movies?”  She said this with a giddy excitement, clearly dying for me to say ‘yes’.

Well she was in luck, cos I did say ‘yes’, and she got really excited (well, as excited as a 16 year old girls lets herself get).  I also told her that the best description of the different cliques I’d seen was in the movie Mean Girls – it was the only movie that went into such specific detail about how niche they can be.  It’s by no means a complete list, but it hints at it…

I said all this while she smiled and flapped quietly and 16-excitedly.  And then she dropped the bomb…

“What group do you think I would have been in?”

CRAP, I knew this was going to happen… do any of you lovely American expats get this?  It’s like being instantly transported back to high school for a moment.  You have to remember all the secret rules and socialla warefare involved in just surviving.  And then you have to judge a person by those bollock-y rules that don’t matter (at least as much) any more.  Tttthhhbpbpbpbpttttt…

But let’s face it.  There can only be one answer to this question when you’re talking to a 16 year girl who’s nice and sits next to you in choir.

I told her she’d probably be a popular kid because she was cute and friendly (and English, can’t get enough of that accent over there).  She was very very very happy…

So I guess it ended well, but this is the third time someone has asked me about the cliques in high school and then asked what they would’ve been.  I’m starting to wonder if I need a standard answer that I can whip out without having to think or have high school flashbacks.  Something witty and ironic… the Brits would like that : ).  Any ideas?

**PS**

I was telling Mr Nice Guy about this and he said, “I know exactly what I would’ve been.  I would’ve been a Scrabble Jock.”  :D  I said he would’ve been the only one, but that I would’ve fancied him for it…

‘It should be remembered that American women are, from the European view, men’ and other great one liners to cherish.

‘American Women Are Rude’, ‘Visiting Englishmen Are No Roses’

By MALCOLM BRADBURY and GLORIA STEINEM
This article is  from ‘The New York times on The Web’ and can be seen by clicking here

Herewith an English novelist and recent visitor to the United States, Malcolm Bradbury, offers his opinion of American women. It is followed by a riposte from an American woman who has lived in England, Gloria Steinem, freelance and editor of “The Beach Book.”

March 29, 1964

American Women Are Rude by Malcolm Bradbury

One of the deepest traumas experienced by every Englishman who comes to America-and, these days, that’s almost every Englishman-is that of encountering, for the first time, in quantity and in her own native habitat, the American woman. Blind terror, a desire to learn judo, and a willingness to marry any girl who’ll sit at home of nights and sew are some of the symptoms usually associated with this confrontation.

“American women are generally rude,” said one visiting Englishman, still shaking from a recent encounter in a New York drugstore in which he had been hoicked off his stool by one of the breed. Another found American women fickle (“You don’t really know how well you’re doing,” he said).

Others are likely to brood over an age-old mystery that Europeans have never really been able to solve. They will observe that, though they are, properly enough, fascinated by the American girl, they are disturbed to discover that she grows up into the American woman. On the one hand, you have the young American girl, trim, smart, apparently just unwrapped from Cellophane packing, looking as fresh as a Daisy Miller. And on the other, you have the middle-aged American woman, with her shrieking voice and parchment skin, growing money-trees, doing plant-prayer, gossiping about her neighbors and scouring through genealogies for a regal connection.

All these comments are, of course, classical symptoms of the cultural divide that still separates the two English-speaking peoples, and I propose to take this occasion, on the authority of several years’ research, to try to clear up some of the confusions associated with the Anglo-American male-female relationship:

(1) It should be remembered that American women are, from the European view, men. A European visitor is likely, in the early days of his visit, to forget this. Yet, of course, years of emancipation have given American womenfolk personalities, opinions, leisure, money, careers and all the other characteristics of male power. At the same time, male authority has been diminished, male spending power has been reduced, and all fathers have been symbolically slaughtered. Thus the female has a rare charismatic power.

I remember once taking a frightened, hasty walk through the New York offices of Vogue, a central shrine of American womanhood. All over the building, career girls sat at their desks, typing and correcting proofs, smart, svelte, each one wearing a hat. I realized afterward that the hats were like those skulls medieval philosophers kept in their studies; they were momento mori to remind them what they really were.

(2) It should also be remembered that American girls are the product of enormous capital investment. Every country has something that it particularly likes to spend money on. Thus, in Germany it is veal; in England it is dogs; in the United States it is the young American girl. Such girls are a form of conspicuous consumption, like Christmas trees outside office buildings.

Because they are the products of such attention, young American girls can be very selective indeed about their standards, their clothese and their boy friends. In the Middle West, this selectivity is ritualized into something called rating dating; this means that a girl dates with men who bring her more and more prestige until finally, as with a thermometer, the mercury settles and she knows who she really is. This is a form of arranged marriage, in fact, in which the girl herself does the arranging; it would be considered old-fashioned in Europe, where marriage is supposedly for love. This period of choosing is the most important period in any girl’s life, and marriage is a necessary comedown.

Thus all those middle-aged ladies who, fresh from scavenging through Europe, sit in the bars on ocean liners, tipping waiters and apparently grinding their diamonds between their teeth, are really looking sadly into their drinks and wishing they were girls again. And thus it is that whenever you speak to some women’s club-the Daughters of Benedict Arnold, or whatever it may be-on “Africa-Wither?” Madam Chairman will rise, put on her diamond-encrusted glasses and say, “Hi, gals.” To any European woman in the audience, coming from a location where it is more prestigious to be old than to be young, this would be rude. It is, of course, simply politeness.

(3) It should further be remembered that American women have little sense of difficulty. “Very demanding” is what American women are often said to be. But as an English friend of mine, with an American wife, put it to me behind some vine plants at a party, “The thing about American women is they don’t understand what’s meant by ‘difficult.’ For instance, my wife keeps having these ideas. She’ll get up in the morning and say, ‘I’ve had this great idea; I’m going to have my legs plated with gold.’ That kind of thing. I tell her I can’t afford it; it’s too difficult, and she says, ‘But money is a means and not an end.’ I keep saying to her, ‘Do you realize our relationship is an ulcer-syndrome?”

The high expectations of the American women devolve particularly upon her menfolk, of whom the greatest courtesy is expected. A man shows his interest in a girl by performing innumerable ritual politeness-opening car doors for her, carrying such small packages as she has about her, presenting her regularly with gifts, and the like.

(4) It should be remembered, finally, that one nation’s rudeness is another nation’s manners. And so the foreigner is never quite sure whether Americans, generally, are being rude or not. I remember once a New York cabbie said to me, while I was waiting for him to open the taxi door and let me descend, “Whatsa matter, Mac, no legs?” It is quite possible, and even likely, that he was being, in his own way, perfectly amiable. As my English friend pointed out, “The thing about Americans is that they’re so nice. But sometimes it sounds so like other peoples’ being nasty that you have to be very careful indeed.”

Thus it is that the American woman who, at a party, analyzes your psychological make-up, questions all your standards, doubts your virility and accuses you of moral corruption-leaving you finally in a discarded heap by the wall-is not in any way trying to be rude. Quite the contrary: She is being very polite and social, because she is creating a relationship. As an American femme fatale once said to me, “I always think hostility is so much more friendly than total indifference.”

The curious mixture of toughness and hospitality that has the Englishman rocking on his feet is characteristic. My English friend summed it up by saying, “They want you to know they’re hospitable, but on the other hand, they don’t want you to think you can take them for a ride.”

Hence Americans have to be very rude before they are actually being rude. So often they are simply being nice. The interesting problem is that of discovering how to know when they are really, actually being rude, personally rude, to you. The trouble for an Englishman is that finding out means watching, questioning, prying-and that is, after all, very rude indeed.

Visiting Englishmen Are No Roses by Gloria Steinem

I have read Mr. Bradbury’s article with admiration and dismay. My first impulse was to put on something frilly, retire to the kitchen and stop all mental processes, in order to avoid those accusations of rudeness and regain, in his eyes, my femininity. But, on second thought, I cannot believe that a man, even an Englishman, really enjoys being admired by women with no taste. According to his witty novel “Eating People Is Wrong,” Mr. Bradbury doesn’t believe it either: One of his most sympathetic characters turns out to be a young girl with spirit, intelligence and a graduate degree.

So I have some hope Mr. Bradbury will understand that I am not trying to pay him back for 1776, or discourage English tourism, or upset the NATO alliance or, worst of all, be unfeminine when I say that visiting Englishmen are no roses either.

(1) Take their dress, for instance. It isn’t always easy to feel feminine and nonrude beside a man who wears slope-shouldered jackets nipped at the waist, speaks with an Oxonian lisp and says he’s “tiddly” when he means he’s drunk.

Of course, we realize that the fault is in the eye of the beholder, that some residue of our frontier tradition makes us feel the difference between men and women should be accentuated. Moreover, postwar Englishman are as tall and sturdy as their vitamin-fed American counterparts, and that’s a blessing. (It is difficult to feel feminine with a man who weighs less than you do and has smaller feet.) But visiting Englishmen-especially those from, or pretending to be from, the upper classes-might bear in mind that the effete English prototype causes just as incredulous a reaction here as does the loud, cigar-smoking American in London.

(2) A stout refusal to go native may have been invaluable to the British Empire, but times change. A British general once said that, had Americans been the colonial power in India, they would have intermarried and disappeared within 50 years. It’s probably true that our melting-pot culture has made us look upon adaptability as a virtue. That explains why, faced with a visitor who clings to his own customs with the same stubbornness that made him wear a dinner jacket in the jungle, we judge him rude. In fact, Englishmen seem to be constantly complaining (in a very genteel way) that no one here knows how to queue properly, or that drinks have ice in them, or that hotel managers just won’t lower room temperatures to a decent 60 degrees (how did they ever survive the tropics?), or that American girls look as if they interchangeable plastic parts (no wonder we’re so rude about their teeth).

Englishmen also tend to import their highly developed class sense intact without considering that, though we are full of status consciousness ourselves, we like to be less obvious (or more hypocritical) about it. We therefore resent the Englishman’s assumption that a working-class background (his or ours) is a disadvantage in “society,” that “no golf green is decent until it’s been rolled for 200 years,” and that it’s uproariously funny to call charwomen cleaning ladies.

(3) Americans don’t necessarily equate passivity with politeness. While I don’t go along with Mr. Bradbury’s American informant who found hostility charming, I do think that the Englishman’s horror of asking questions can make him seem uninterested to the point of rudeness. In 1955, when Americans stationed in England were still competing with Englishmen for the affections of local girls, a London tabloid ran an exposé called “Yank for a Day.” A masquerading reporter discovered that it was partly the Yank’s ready cash that made him attractive, and partly his un-English habit of treating girls “like real people” and acting “interested in us, not like our boys.”

It’s just possible that, had Mr. Bradbury’s bachelor friend asked his American girl a question now and then, she might not have married someone else.

(4) We know we’re difficult, but we love you. All right, so we have some tribal dating customs (every country has peasants; ours have money); and a talent for asking awkward questions (“Aren’t you glad you’re not a first-class power?”) and even, as we try to figure out how to be women and people at the same time, an alarming habit of overplaying our independence.

The thing is, we mean well, and if we react badly to criticism it is only because our basic Anglophilia makes us take English criticism more to heart than any other. But if our affection for the British has withstood the burning of the White House, the sale of buses to Cuba, Richard Burton, and the Beatles, it’s likely to withstand anything, including a fit of pique at being called rude.

Defending the English when you’re not English

yankeebean

I feel like Alice through the looking glass… I have encountered the assholiest American of all time and I am PISSED OFF.  This must be how British people feel when they meet people like this… I’ve gone down the rabbit hole.

I’ll start at the beginning, shall I?

I’m in the States right now visiting family, and we went to see a friend of mine who was singing at a local bar.  They were pretty good and it was fun… UNTIL the guitar player thought he’d improvise a song about how bad England is and how wonderful America is.

It was HORRIFYING… And it went on for a LONG time… And Mr Nice Guy (who, in keeping with his title, is a very nice guy) was FURIOUS.  And so was I.  In fact, I still am – to the point that I’m still having imaginary fights with yankee-arse-face in my head.

OH, how I wish that was the end of the story… but no… no it’s not.

We saw him again on Sunday morning and this is how the conversation went (imagine his parts spoken in a really snotty assholy way)

Me: Hey man, how you doing?

Him: So what’s with moving to England?  What’s so great about England?

Me: Are you serious?  Have you ever been to England?

Him: Is America not good enough for you?  You’re too good for America now?

Me: Have you ever been to England?

Him: No.  But my friend has…

Me: Why are we even having this conversation?

Me and Mr Nice Guy got outta there pretty quickly after that.  I was bright red with embarrassed rage and Mr Nice Guy was steadily swearing under his breath.  Mr NG is a peaceful man, but I do think that if we saw him again he’d actually result to violence.  I bet this is how the American Revolution started…

I don’t know if I want this A-hole to leave the country so he can get a friggin’ CLUE, or if he should be forbidden from leaving so he doesn’t act as an anti-ambassador.

Please, dear readers – share you’re tales of woe with me.  I can’t be the only one who’s tried to defend their secondary nation…

What a jag-hole…

De-mystifying the ‘British girl’s night out’, or ‘Why do some British women dress like hookers when Saturday night rolls around?’

peacefulyorkshire

peacefulyorkshire

Ok, so the blog title is a little unfair. When Saturday night comes rollin’ in some British women don’t always look like hookers.  No, sorry, my mistake—sometimes they could be classified as looking like strippers. I am still trying to decide which of the two is a better description for my Yorkshire city on a Saturday night. Stripper or hooker…wait, maybe stripper. Maybe a hooker slash stripper. Maybe a hooker with a dash and swoosh of stripper.  Maybe a hooker stroke wannabe stripper. Whateveh you want to call it, honey–after 5 years of living on this little island in the North Sea, I am still trying to figure out why some British women let themselves pour out of their clothes on a night out. Yes, pour out is the perfect sentiment.

I decided to ask Cat, an English female friend  ‘So, why do British women dress like hookers on Saturday night?’

Her response? Because they are desperate and on the pull. And they think it looks good. ‘

(Cat, a devoted Marks and Spencer clothing lovah  is not one of these Saturday night ladies, mind you.)

I asked Carlo,  a British football coach the same question ‘So, why do British women dress like hookers on Saturday night?’

His answer—–‘They do!?’ (I had some serious laughing at this point)

As an American living in Yorkshire, I think that I have started to figure out the ladies night out in Britain. It’s simple, my lovelies!!

  • Just wear as little as possible in material as tight as possible.  Got it, little and tight are your motto.
  • If you have lots of flesh, don’t fret. Make sure it hangs out in abundance. Bonus if you can show your cellulite and cleavage.
  • NEVER wear a coat, we want everyone to see your gorgeous Primark outfit– which shows off your white (or orange depending on your style!)  legs.
  • yes, let’s talk about legs. If your legs are ‘larger’ than most you will need to expose them as high up as you can show them…. like up to where your bum starts is fine, no worries!
  • By now you should know that if you are really serious about your weekend then flats are a no-no. If you wiggle and wobble and can not walk properly in your eight inchers then these are the ones to wear!
  • Oh and before I forget. Probably best to wear all the make-up you own at once.

And here you are complaining to your British man you have nothing to wear to your next Christmas office party?? Just look in your lingerie drawer!

When you feel embarrassed (and then guilty) about other fellow Americans in Britain

peacefulyorkshire

peacefulyorkshire

Dear Readers,

Do you ever have moments when as a Shamerican * you stumble across a fellow American in Britain that do things that are really embarrassing? Sometimes it happens when an American speaks really loudly with a very jarring American twang: “Hey Bob, look that stone bridge over there! It is from 1109, did you hear that Bob, the bridge is from 1109 –Mary would love that, bedder gedder a picture!!”

Or sometimes you get Americans in the UK that are more shocking in London, like on the tube, at 11am.  I knew she was American before she spoke. You can just tell. It was her overstuffed ‘Jansport’ backpack, a huge hoodie that that said ‘University of Texas Beta theta Phi Kappa Delta (or whateveh the hell those sororities are called ). But this isn’t about her wardrobe.

This American gal opened her bible up to the New Testament and attempted to read very loudly to other passengers around her on the carriage.   I know, brave!! But oh, lovely readers, the reaction was NOT PRETTY. One guy whispered to his girlfriend: Bloody Americans trying to push herself on us, what’s she on about? Got to give my fellow unabashed countrywoman credit. She just kept on reading and reading and reading— tube stop after tube stop….I did find myself very embarrassed for her.

Clearly she had no clue about how the British do things,  I mean she should really have a crash course in the ‘British way’ because let’s just say that preaching on a tube is not gonna win over any Jesus freaks, well, at least it’s not likely, anyhow.**

I can’t help it. Sometimes I see another American and feel embarrassed for them as they try to negotiate their way in this country. After all, I am American too, and have made a mess of it in the past, this blog will testify to that! The steps usually go like this when I see an embarrassing American.

1) Shame for finding a fellow American, a compatriot so embarrassing

2) Guilt because I really am finding them embarrassing,

3)  I tell myself to stop being so damn snobby and just laugh (the best step– but sadly it takes going through steps 1 and 2 to reach this point.)

4) Complex comes over me where I want to protect these lost souls from stepping into it even more.

5) I usually text fellow blogger Yankeebean an OMG story and we cringe

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* We have unofficially nominated Shamerican as our term to replace ‘expat’ on occasion. We do not however, have any affiliation with this very intriguing website !!!

** Still trying to figure out (while writing this post) what the best way to win ‘Jesus Freaks’ over would be in this country. After 5 years I still could not give that American gal suggestions.

Feeling homesick? Why even the embarrassing American tourists might be your answer. Click here

When your American-self imagines breeding some British children

peacefulyorkshire

peacefulyorkshire

I am not  hoping to get knocked up my English boyfriend. But! I can vouch that when you are a lay-deh approaching the big 3-0- your mind just starts thinking about kids, biological clocks, your eggs disappearing….I know, I know before you think this post is ‘cliche-arama’,  hang on: It is different when the ‘eggs and time ticking’ happens when you are living as an American woman in England. Doesn’t the thought of having your own kids in a foreign country make you think about things differently?

For instance. Somehow in my ‘happy family fantasies’, my offspring all speak American(well, like me!): Hey therrrr Mom, can I have som’more them Nabisco Waaaaayferrrs? My good-natured-well-rounded-children would do happy things like celebrate the 4th of July while they squirt lines of E-Z cheese on their Oscar Mayer wiener*.

But if I imagine having kids here in the UK,  I start to feel uncomfortable at the thought. What would it be like to have kids that speak in a British Accent? (Oh Motha dear, could I trouble you foh some of that lurvely Ribeeena?). As if! In my fantasy they wouldn’t sound like that- I have them down sounding more like da Ali G.

The ‘what-ifs’ eat away at my brain. I freak out that they would have to grow up in a council estate because we couldn’t get on the UK property ladder anywhere else.There my British children would become little chavsters and enjoy burning out wheelie bins. I wouldn’t able to send them to a public school on my meagre income and all the good state schools would be oversubscribed so their brains might rot. I would worry they would have sex at age 11 and drink Thunderbird mixers in secret alley ways (you know, the ones with the orange lights!). My family in America couldn’t help raise them because they are too far away. Gollee, my unborn British children really freak me out right about now. Bring on that free NHS contraception.

Yankeebean’s post that midly freaked me out enough to inspired this one…. Click here

*that would be a hot dog and not the dodgy UK defintion of ‘wiener’ just to clear up any confusion as it would confuse the meaning of this post somewhat.

When random British people (that you’ve only just met) tell you what is wrong with America

yahooavatar15Imagine meeting a British person for the first time. Imagine introducing yourself, answering all the questions that you get asked as a foreigner– like having to tell your “America to England” story for the zillionth time. Now, imagine randomly saying to this British person that you have only just met that people in Britain have  bad teeth. Real, real, bad teeth.That you have never been to a country where people have such bad teeth. That you saw this one 15 year old kid on the train and you COULDN”T believe he had such BAD TEETH. Now I am sure you are horrified about doing that, right? No, that would be so rude!  Plus could you imagine the wrath? It is hard enough making female friends in Britain!

Well, for whatever reason, some British people love to point out America’s flaws to me during our first meeting. Like today–a 6o-ish woman from Harrogate decided to tell me that she had NEVER SEEN so much obesity in her life as when she went to America. That she was on this train where she saw this 15 year old kid and he was SO FAT! That she couldn’t believe how many obese people were in America. That she couldn’t imagine how unhealthy THOSE FAT PEOPLE OVER IN AMERICA are.

Running through my head as Mrs. Harrogate ranted at me: Hello? have you seen all the white muffin tops pouring out of jeans in Leeds City Centre  lately, honey? There are fat people here too, and it seems its getting worse according to obesity reports!”

I wish I were brave enough to say that!  But instead, while smiling politely I said “It is just a different lifestyle there, isn’t it? You must excuse me while I go get some milk for my tea…”

Now then, lovely readers! Why would someone decide to tell me this to me, an American? Am I responsible for America’s obesity? Do I even LIVE IN AMERICA anymore? How would I be an expert about America’s weight issues? (I have enough of my own!). Sometimes I think that I have to defend America all the time, and I am so tired of it. Please tell me that you have to take the ‘blame bullet’ too?

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P.S.  I don’t really think that all British people have bad teeth. That was used for example purposes only, and is used to represent a silly stereotype that people have of other countries.

P.S.S. I forgot to say that the afore mentioned lady from Harrogate had only visited Florida. And that was it!

P.S.S.S. On a ‘let’s blame America!’ related topic: Why are dinner parties with your British friends so much nicer now that Obama is in the White house? Click here