I’ll start this post out with a quick disclaimer – it’s meant all in good humor and may offend some. But if you understand the humor behind our previous post – The Top 15 Ways to Spot an Idiot American – then you’ll love this post.
Every country in the world has a set of stereotypes associated with it that outsiders generally believe on face value. Britain has quite a few – so in order to better Anglo-American relations, here’s a friendly guide for our fellow countrymen on some of the myths about Britain that aren’t true.
They All Speak with a Cockney Accent
Britain is a land of linguistic variation and if you’re only exposure to British English is Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Mary Poppins, you’ll be quite surprised when you arrive and encounter and huge array in British accents, especially in London. Britain may be a small country, but their regions have history going back many centuries before we were a glimmer in Columbus’s eye, so their regional accents reflect this. You’d be amazed at how much an accent can shift from village to village!
They All Live in London
Britain is a HUGE place and London is only a small part of it. There are many Brits who’ve never actually been to London at all. And many Brits have a love/hate relationship with their beloved capital. That being said, Britain has many large cities – all as cool, if not cooler, than London. You should check them out.
They’re Sore about the Revolutionary War
It really doesn’t bother them. It may have 225 years ago. But it doesn’t anymore. They’re quite OK with America having gone off and been all American about things. On this similar subject, they are still coping with their loss of empire and still look back on the imperial days with pride – despite the historically recognized atrocities.
They’re Reserved and Unfriendly
Couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re about as reserved and unfriendly as the average stranger in the USA. It’s been our experience that our British friends have been very warm and welcoming to us.
They All Know the Queen
I can assure you they don’t. But it’s not uncommon to meet someone who has met the Queen – she’s known for her yearly large garden parties and being invited is considered a great honor. The Royal Family is as remote as you would expect it to be.
The Food Sucks
This is a long held misconceptions about Britain. The food, in general, does not suck. But then again it all depends on where you eat. You can’t expect much from a takeaway or a small deli – but Britain has most of the fast food places that America has as well as their own chain restaurants that serve decent food. Not to mention many world class chefs that are based in London and throughout the UK.
There’s No Ice Anywhere
On my first trip to England, I was quite surprised to get a drink with no ice in it. Honestly, that was the last time it happened to me. It was 10 years ago. It hasn’t been a problem since. You can expect to get ice in most drinks now.
It Rains All The Time
It rains about as much as it rains anywhere else. However, it COULD rain at any time. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be walking down the street in London, it’d start raining for a few minutes and then the sun would be shining in no time. Britain has a wet, maritime climate, but it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone thinks.
They All Have Bad Teeth
This may be the case with older generations in the UK – but generally British people have decent teeth. American style orthodontia is now in style in the UK. But really, what does it matter if they have bad teeth? That doesn’t indicate whether they’re good or bad people. It’s not an indicator of how civilized a person are if they all have straight teeth. Don’t judge someone if they’re teeth aren’t perfect.
They Hate Europe and are Xenophobic
They’re quite fond of Europe, especially Southern France and Spain. However, they have a very, shall we say, antagonistic view of mainland Europe, often rooted in stereotypes and good humor. Look, they’ve had a longer relationship with Europeans than we have – so they’re entitled to feel how they do. But there’s very little hate. Except maybe for the Germans.
They’re Happy to Fight in Our Wars
No, they’re not. In fact their participating in America’s last two pointless wars was VERY unpopular, but they participated anyway. They won’t make that mistake again.
They Love Tony Blair
Their relationship with Tony Blair can be compared to a relationship with a beautiful woman that has a honeymoon period for a few years, then turns to pot and you eventually have to kick her out, even though she doesn’t want to go. I would not recommend talking about British politics with a Brit unless you are actually British, I can assure you, you really don’t understand it.
They Hate Americans but Love Our Money
Hate is a strong word. They certainly don’t hate us – they just don’t agree with some of the decisions we’ve made as a grown-up nation. However, they do love our money. But the pound is now worth more, so who’s laughing now?
They Hate All Immigrants
No, they hate ILLEGAL immigrants. There’s a huge distinction there. You’d be surprised how open Britain is to integrating foreigners into British society.
They’re All Manchester United Fans
While Manchester United is one of the most popular football clubs in the world, all Brits don’t have a love for it. However, it is popular but keep in mind, choosing one’s football team loyalties is a major life decision and they don’t take it lightly. You’re not really qualified to even talk about it until you’ve lived there for a few years and have chosen your team. So, put down that cheap Manchester United shirt in the market, you won’t impress anyone by wearing it.
We Saved Their Asses in World War II
We most certainly did not. Britain was bravely fighting off the Nazi’s for 3 years before we got around to joining the fight. They’re quite proud of their wartime history so generally it’s never a good idea to talk about it as if we did them a favor. As Basil Fawtly famously said: “Whatever you do, don’t mention the war.”
Do any of our British readers have any myths they’d like to dispel about their country? Please let us know in the comments!