If you watch an episode of Family Guy, you will occasionally come across a lanky buck-toothed gentleman with a disgusting accent, supposedly representing someone British. To this day I have never met anyone that looks or sounds like this character, nor any of the American stereotypes, so I felt it was my duty to display everything that makes us oh so British.

    1. We love a good queue! Maybe this is where our general politeness comes in, but the idea of someone sneaking into a queue gets my blood boiling.

 

    1. Oh how we like moaning in a queue. We might enjoy the general respectful rule of first come first served, but damn we will moan while standing and waiting.

 

    1. A right stiff upper lip. Something negative happens, someone throws a cricket bat at us or lets our sheep off the farm, that upper lip won’t move. Utterly emotionless, we show restraint and bottle up those emotions, to save them for the proper place (a psychiatrist).

 

    1. Whether its Xfactor or Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, we love watching people dance and prance for our entertainment. Like gladiators in the arena, we are so entertained!

 

    1. There is nothing wrong with a cuppa! I have found across my journeys that neighbouring nations drink just as much tea as us. The difference was they often didn’t put milk in their tea, or they would try all different variants, from camomile to jasmine.  If you’re over here, go for a Yorkshire tea, nothing quite beats it!

 

    1. The sharing of emotions. We’re slowly breaking down this barrier, but we still get that awkward feeling when someone bursts into tears. back a month ago, someone cried in my office and the entire department stood there awkwardly looking at each other. I remember hugging my granddad when it was time to say goodbye and he just patted me on my head and walked away. The perfect epitome of this uncomfortable nature was exemplified by the Inbetweeners movie, when Simon bursts into tears after his girlfriend breaks up with him and his three friends stand there looking at each other, before trying to walk away.

 

    1. We don’t see much of the sun. Random Fact: the summer in Britain only lasts 4 hours…true story. At the merest sight of the sun, we will strip off to our swimming gear, regardless of whether we’re in a business meeting or in a shopping mall. We never know when we might see the sun again! Warning: if you are around a Brit and the sun is out, apply some sun tan lotion to their skin, they will be burnt within 16 minutes.

 

    1. The lack of sun gets us talking. Despite the fact the weather is pretty much the same for 8 months of the year, it always seems to be a great conversation starter. Maybe its our need to fill the gaps in conversation with pleasantries, or our failure to say what is really on our mind, but we will mumble some rubbish about the rain about once or twice a day.

 

    1. The greatest comedy in the world, even if nobody else understands it. Sit down and watch an episode of the Inbetweeners, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, the IT Crowd, Blackadder, Peep Show, Spaced, Fresh Meat, Absolutely Fabulous, Mr Bean, Extras or Green Wing. Load up YouTube and watch some stand-up by Jimmy Carr, Ricky Gervais, Lee Evans, Frankie Boyle, Lee Mack, Billy Connolly, Russell Howard, Michael McIntyre, Sean Lock, Bill Bailey, Micky Flanagan, John Bishop, Dylan Moran, Jack Dee, Milton Jones, Noel Fielding, Rhod Gilbert or Kevin Bridges.

 

    1. In-Your-Endo. We will find a sexual innuendo in almost any sentence and we do struggle to keep a straight face when it comes up in conversation. A combination of a strong wit and the personality of a six year old, we can’t get our heads out of the gutter.

 

    1. We will always let someone go first through a door. If two people offer the door at once, there can be stand-off’s for days. I was once stuck on the HMV doors of Ealing Broadway for a good week as 20 of us all politely offered a passage through to each other, waiting for the first one to move, with a herd of disgruntled shoppers standing behind us (queuing I believe, while mumbling under their breath how befuddled they were by the whole ordeal).

 

    1. Our ability to insult ourselves was so prevalent when I visited the USA. When I was having a few drinks with some lads from Texas, I thought the Archbishop of Banterbury had come to town, as I sent a clever quip in their direction, for it to be met by surprise and anger. I then had to defuse the situation, explaining that I was just ‘yanking their chain’. They then thought up the greatest insult they could muster and threw it at me with anger and vengeance. It was met by a lung bursting laugh from myself, something they weren’t expecting at all. My favourite comedy is completely self afflicting, as what we do best is ridicule our own insecurities and nature. Taking the mickey out of others is part of who we are.

 

    1. Stand 4-6 Brits next to each other long enough and they will naturally form a band. I believe David Attenborough was considering doing a documentary where he herded up some Brits and stuck them in a room and observed as they became a rock or indie band within minutes. I’m currently in 3 bands myself, we’ve never played together but the intention is there.

 

    1. Moderation isn’t quite in our vocabulary yet. Binge drinking is so far embedded into our culture, I don’t think there is a way back. If we win a match, we drink. If we lose a match, we drink. We will celebrate the most meaningless event and all head down to the pub for a pint of the good stuff. The embarrassment occurs when we take to foreign shores and the drinking doesn’t slow down.

 

    1. The unwritten rule of the tube, we do not catch eye contact. You will read your newspaper, despite the angle you find yourself in. You could virtually have your feet off the ground from the train being packed so tight, however there will still be room to open up your book and find out what happens to Mr Darcy.

 

    1. Watch any American comedy featuring a Brit and you will see us tucking into the most disgusting food that ever existed. This stereotype isn’t without reason. Our food historically was revolting. We ate anything that moved and we boiled our vegetables to death. Here is where the beauty is. London was voted the capital of cuisine, while some of the best chefs in the world come from Britain. We became so unbelievably good, because we embraced the fact that our food was terrible and we took a bit from every other nation and learnt how to make it all. When I go home in the evening, you will find me cooking up a Singaporean curry or a Rogan Josh. Sure, they aren’t stereotypically British, but the curry is Britain’s favourite dish and you are much more likely to see someone tuck into a lasagne or sushi than you are black pudding.

 

    1. Some often see our inability to ask for help and assume it is arrogance. That we know the answer to everything and refuse to receive support. This is quite the contrary, as we are in desperate need of help almost every step of the way. We just feel way too awkward to ask someone, as we don’t want to put someone out. It would be a terrible inconvenience and that’s just not on the books!

 

    1. Nothing beats a bacon sandwich once the hangover kicks in. Up and down the country, people tuck into a bacon sarnie first thing on Saturday morning, before they get ready to take on the world (metaphorically speaking, we’re not starting a new empire).

 

    1. If we have visitors, expect some cakes and biscuits to appear in front of you. I always thought it was normal to offer a plate of French Fancies or custard creams to whoever came to visit, however on my travels I have learnt others will either offer to cook you a meal or will offer nothing at all. We seem to go midway, we will offer all the food in our cupboards, but we won’t actually cook it up. Our sweet tooth also shows itself at this point, as we devour all the biscuits we left out for our guests. But, we will never eat the last biscuit!!

 

  1. The little things. This might sound like a small point, but the little things really matter to us. Standing in the queue at a supermarket, you will always put the barrier down after you have put up all your food, for the person below, it’s just polite. Bringing a bottle of wine when you visit someone’s house. Helping someone carry a bag up or down stairs. Offering a thank you or an apology wherever it is needed, or even if it isn’t necessary. Offering a seat on the bus to the elderly or pregnant. Writing thank you letters to older generations once they have sent you something for Christmas (I still write these every year). But probably the greatest one, letting the guests choose what to watch on the television, even if you can’t stand the show!

Written by | tombourlet

Tom Bourlet is the creator of Spaghetti Traveller and has been addicted to travelling ever since taking a roadtrip across the USA.

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