I’ve already shared the things that wind Britons up about Americans.
Eight years in the UK has given me a great appreciation for the British. It has revealed that they don’t actually all speak like Hugh Grant and shockingly, that they don’t all live in manor houses. It’s also given me plenty of insight into the culture and what they think about Americans. But my time here hasn’t gone without annoyances. Here are my 10 things that Britons do that drive Americans crazy.
1. Calling American football players wimps – They wear helmets that are more suitable for high-speed motorbike races than a pitch, they might not have cauliflower ear and they didn’t lose a tooth on that last play, but I wouldn’t call them wimps to their faces when they’re puking in that helmet because they’re on their third practice of the day in 100F weather….unless you’re a rugby player and your neck is bigger than their abdomen, then call them whatever you want.
2. Mocking who we voted for – Okay, so a former president once said “misunderestimated” and another boinked his intern, but casting a direct vote for your President (kind of – this is not the time or place to Electorally educate) is kind of like getting married. You are attracted to specific things, but tell him off for not cleaning up after the national deficit he spilt on the floor. But if you go after our guy, taking a swipe at him is like taking a swing at our spouse. We’re allowed to, but you’re not. Don’t misunderestimate us. We’ll swing back.
3. Assuming we are all cowboys and surfers – Howdy partner, like we are totally not all from an old western or Hollywood teen flick dude, so please stop talking to us like that in that weird American-ish accent.
4. Your lack of ice – Four cubes in a pint glass does not constitute a cold drink. It can only be cold when A) all of your ice doesn’t melt before your drink gets to the table and B) the ice to soda ratio is 60:40. Why do you think American restaurants offer free refills? You’ve only reached one whole British pint of Coke when you’ve drunk three inAmerica.
5. The geography thing – So you saw that YouTube video where Americans thought Australia was Iraq. Ahem…that was unfortunate. I know, let’s grab your neighbourhood idiot and ask him to point to the Sudan….uncomfortable, isn’t it?
6. The passport thing – You’ve heard 80% of Americans don’t have their passports. Only in the last 10 years have Americans had to have passports to visit Mexico, the Caribbean islands and those exotic Canadian shores. Even then leaving the good old US of A ain’t cheap. When you hop on your £60 return trip to visit countries that have different languages and lifestyles, remember that Americans pay around £400 and have to fly across a whole entire ocean. Now, when can I start planning my Australian Middle East trip?
7. Laughing at our names – Who says Pilot Inspektor isn’t the perfect name for a newborn? That Danger isn’t a hilarious middle name to give your child? Except that they grow up and work as an accountant and actually have to say, “Hi, My name is Pilot.” But you must get bored of Andys and Emmas? Oh and by the way, that time at the hospital, when I had that appointment to make sure my kidneys were functioning properly and you laughed down the phone to the receptionist because I’m called Brittney – I could hear you.
8. Your customer service – Yes, Billy the sales assistant from American Eagle did tell me about his heinous haemorrhoid operation when I simply asked him to switch out my size 10 jeans for a size 8, but in between the gory details, Billy was there and brought me everything I needed with a smile on his face. Flinging your finger in the air in a three story shop to point me in the direction of the vest tops is not customer service. You may as well be pointing with your middle finger.
9. Assuming Friends is a guidebook to America – But England is just like Downton Abbey, right? RIGHT!?
10. Manners don’t make you nice – Would I like a drink? Sure! ….Wait…what? Have I said something wrong? I haven’t said, “Yes, please”? I’m sorry. That was rude. It’s not that we don’t appreciate our drinks (even though there are only 4 ice cubes), we just sometimes substitute social niceties with warmth. A smile, a jovial pat on the arm, a compliment, making eye contact, acknowledging your existence – It’s the simple things. But really, we’ll try harder. Please. Thank you. Sorry.