Foreign languages terrify us. The concept of ‘conjugation’ is bewildering and upsetting. We have a ridiculous expectation that the rest of the world should speak perfect English, and if they don’t we will just speak SLOWLY and LOUDLY until they give us what we want. Those adventurous devils amongst us that do give foreign languages a go are generally considered to be exhibitionists, and are usually getting it horribly wrong.
A peculiar initiation right for any Brit going on holiday between the ages of 16-24 is an 8am beer at whatever given airport that they may find themselves in. It is the alcoholic manifestation of “letting our hair down” for the proceeding holiday. The alcohol consumption will just escalate throughout the trip. And, that will continue into our later years, but we’ll just be slightly more classy and discreet about it; like taking a flask full of Gordan’s Gin to Angkor Wat, or something similarly sophisticated.
Don’t get me wrong, we are prepared for rain at all times, but when we’re faced with a lick of sunlight, we’re getting naked. We need all the vitamin D that we can get, so when the sun’s out, our clothes are off. Of course, as soon as the temperature breaches 28 degrees we’re complaining, because how can one be expected to function in such uncompromising heat?!
We love the sun; we long for its magnificent rays. We’ll do anything for its warm, delicate embrace, but it’s a one-way relationship; the sun is not our friend. Don’t worry, though, that red-bubbling skin is normal for us, so you don’t need to show such concern. Pale-red to hot pink is the only color chart our ‘tanning’ skin knows, so we’re going to make the most of it.
Talking about your feelings is best left to the hysterical, the passionate, the spontaneous. We’ve learned how to keep a stiff upper lip, how to resist any outward displays of emotion. We prefer to leave emotions to the rest of the world, while we slowly die inside, where nobody can see.
Example: They say, “Are you not irritated that your girlfriend is kissing that sexy Italian over there?” We lie and say, “No, it’s fine, I’ve heard Italian’s are very caring lovers.”
Our flag is somewhat more flamboyant than the average Brit’s demeanor, thus we tend to be extremely proud of it. Unfortunately, this pride sometimes manifests itself in crimes against fashion and, in certain instances, humanity. So do not be surprised to see that iconic red, white, and blue in all manner of human crevice while strolling along an otherwise elegant beach somewhere in the South Pacific.
We’re a simple people; we have simple pleasures. We have taken a “like what we know, and know what we like” approach to food for many centuries now. After a drawn out struggle, we eventually gave in and accepted curry, but anything similarly extravagant will baffle and irritate us. While abroad, we will be looking to maintain this monotonous diet, so please don’t confuse us further with things such as cassava, bamboo shoots, and plantains.
I’m the first to admit British cuisine is woeful, but one thing that we do well is milk. And I’m not talking about that bagged, long-life, nuclear-apocalypse-proof shit. I’m talking fresh, pasteurized, homogenized milk, which doesn’t taste chemically enhanced over a bowl of Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut. We may be found wandering the streets in any given city, desperately searching for its creamy goodness during teatime.
Beware the British ‘traveler.’ The exoticism of foreign lands can sometimes have a curious affect on us Brits, making us believe that we are the first intrepid explorers to make it past Scunthorpe, and then sniffing our own farts as a result of this belief. These characters are easy to spot; they’ll probably be wearing a trilby hat and a fabric necklace, they’ll probably have an acoustic guitar with stickers of flags on it, and they won’t be visiting places, they’ll be ‘doing’ them, which in no dialect of the English language is in any way acceptable.
Sarcasm is a safety net for us Brits. It helps us to avoid showing any genuine emotion, or giving anybody our actual opinions. Amongst fellow Brits there is an unwritten code where anything said slightly left field shall be taken as a cynical attempt at humor. Unfortunately, we forget that the rest of the world doesn’t live within this code, resulting in a consistent sequence of awkward silences and apologies.
Some part of every Brit still believes that they have that cockney swagger, that eye for a bargain, and that knack to barter. We can probably blame it on too much Only Fools and Horses, and Eastenders. The result of this erroneous assumption is always the same: we get ripped off. We hear a price — a hugely inflated price — we give ’em a wink, they give us a tiny discount, we buy the ‘Egyptian Rug’ for double its value, and everyone goes home happy.
It is quite remarkable the lengths that we will sometimes go to watch 22 grossly overpaid athletes kick a small ball around a field. No matter where in the world we may be, whether it be the foothills of Ethiopia or the back streets of Bangalore, we will find the game, we will watch it, and we will shout obscenities at a screen for 90 minutes.
Too many Brits act as if people don’t really live abroad; they are just there to make our holiday easier, more special and convenient. Whether it be demanding help and advice, vomiting on front doors, or using the entire population as our personal photographers, we can often be found guilty of ignoring the day-to-day lives of the people who inhabit our holiday destinations. Please just ignore us and continue to mock us in the languages that we can’t even begin to understand.