Let me start by saying, please take this with a pinch of salt. In recent posts, people pointed out to me why the British were annoying, because I pointed out things about the Americans.
Therefore I’ve done what the British do best, self deprecating humour. In other words taking the piss out of ourselves.
Whether you are living abroad permanently, going on holiday, married to a Brit, someone who finds the British odd or you think we are miserable bastards, this is for you!
Sense of humour
One thing I’m sure we can all agree on is that the British are well-known for their sense of humour, good and bad. Whether it’s Monty Python, faulty towers or even the Inbetweeners most countries have had some contact with a British comedy export. This promotes a false sense of what is acceptable when it comes to comedy. With the evolution of “banter “ calling someone a derogatory term or mentioning their appearance or job as a joke, can be quite offensive to some.
Whilst playing a board game once with five or six Spanish friends, I referred to my wife as ‘generalísima’. Now in my defence, we were playing a corporative game, where you had to work as a team, she had played the game before so she was telling me what to do. I thought she was being bossy, therefore I retaliated with a funny remark comparing her to the ex dictator of Spain. It’s safe to say that no one else found this joke funny, apart from me. Their distress and disagreement fuelled my laughter further. I must say I’m surprised she is still married to me.
So, therefore I speak for many people, when I say it’s difficult to find British humour abroad, however we should be a bit more mindful that not everyone will appreciate the intricacies or brutality of our humour. This is because we can be dickheads!
If you would like an example check out my American post.
Listen yeah, our food is good! I don’t care how good your tapas or frogs legs are, if you have the weather for a BBQ or if you don’t like shepherds pie, British food is the dog bollocks.
I think I speak for most cultures when I say you like your own food. It reminds you of home and you know what you like. Long live Jaffa cakes and roast dinner.
Yet, the British take it to another level. In the coast of Spain you can see Fish and chip shops and Greasy spoons fucking everywhere. There’s online companies that will ship you Walkers crisps, because god forbid you buy bloody Lays. I mean they have blue packets for salt and vinegar! How dare they… it will always be green in my book.
It’s a topic of conversation here too. “You will never guess what I have found?!?” “What?” “Sausages! Real Cumberland sausages! 6 for 10€”. Things like sweets and fresh milk are accessible but looking for things like gravy and scones, is like a mission alone. They are gold dust. I’ve even had it posted to me.
We are reluctant to try foreign food, despite living in their country, yet we will devour a curry in a heartbeat because ‘that’s different’. It took me a year to try bloody seafood and I still have to have the manky heads removed now. My Spanish family say to me “But you are from an island! How can you not like seafood and fish” I still have no answer.
The sun never sets on the British Empire… well now the empire consists of unruly leather skinned pensioners that have retired to the sunshine and still moan about ‘fucking immigrants’ with no sense of irony.
Whilst this isn’t necessarily true the colonies of British on the Costa del Sol speak for themselves. Some may argue that it’s good for the local economy, surely it isn’t good for the local culture.
Many say ‘we speak with the Spanish and buy bread daily like them’ well woopey fuckin’ do! Saying Hola to buy your daily edition of the Sun and bread is hardly fitting in.
I was truly embarrassed when I went on holiday to Malaga, everything is English and even the stuffy Germans avoid the pimple arsed Brits.
But please don’t tar us all with the same brush. Ok, my Spanish isn’t perfect but I can cook Paella (not the Jamie Oliver way!) and I can dance Sevillianas… we aren’t all that bad.
I just mentioned Malaga. Now we love a drink it’s true and we use the excuse that it’s the Germans too. But really it isn’t. We are lying to you and ourselves! This has to be the single worst thing going. Ibiza, Malaga, Marbz, Lanzarote and even in Madrid!
It’s a national embarrassment… the only thing that is worse is the England football team and James Cordon.
Being sick, fighting, flashing and shagging on the beach… need I say more?
Look at this here! Brits, Fire and Malaga
We don’t respect the sun and we burn like crabs
Comparing everything and everyone to home
I will be honest we all do this, however I do feel it’s very much a British thing to sit down with your friend, have a cup of tea or a pint of lager and complain the world away. If you do this while living abroad chances are you will be comparing the people’s manners, the efficiency of the government administration and of course the food.
Obviously we are not the only culture to do this, as I complained about this regarding the Americans. The Yanks keep trying to push their beliefs on the local society, the British on the other hand just seem to moan more and do fuck all about it. Much like at home.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing to do as this can improve systems and can be a good point of discussion at dinner, however if you’re not taking in the local customs and culture then you probably should rethink why you are living there. Or you could move to a British colony in the south of Spain, I don’t mean Gibraltar, I mean the place with the fish and chip shops.
The British outlook
This is one issue where people generally don’t get where we are coming from. The British are not known as an optimistic bunch, and others are very unsure why. I was once discussing with a Spanish person that the Spanish mentality is much more like the American outlook on life, positive and optimistic. Whilst the British outlook is much more like the north of Europe, pessimistic and question the negative aspects of things, a better description would be a glass half empty. Or saying “why would I want to do that?”
This is hard to describe, but I suppose the best description would be our reaction when receiving presents or going to experience, like a rock concert. Most people will respond with enthusiasm whereas the British are more likely to respond in a modest and sensible way saying “it was okay “.
By the way that means we didn’t like it.
We say it’s being polite, they probably say it’s playing a game. The British are not known for their directness. When my wife asks what I would like for dinner, my reply is “I’m not fussy” but really I am. I just mean you choose and I’ll let you know if I’m not happy. But in code.
This also works with choosing a restaurant, giving an opinion on clothes, movies, food and people. It’s got so bad my wife has to translate for me. “Did he like it?” her friends ask, even though they have a good level of English… “he said it was nice, which probably means don’t serve this again”. We literally need translation even when we speak fucking English!
We are lazy bastards, this was bound to come up. The British are terrible with languages we all know it and we are lazy because English is the worldwide language. Most people in Spain, France or Germany know basic English, but the only piece of language the British ever learn is how to order beer! I suppose you can call it survival English.
Not all British people get by on just English alone, but really guys come on don’t insist on English. In Madrid people reply to me in English all the time and I try to reply all in Spanish but sometimes they trick me into English. Sometimes it’s a right mess.
The first time I came to Barcelona, I tried ordering a coke in McDonald’s. “Once Coca Colas por favor”, the worker looked over at my wife and in Spanish shouted “does he really want 11 cokes?”, I then insisted “Once Colas Por Favor!”, my wife then ran over and intervened. She explained that “once” in Spanish is 11, no wonder I got confused. She reminded me, if someone looks confused, then you have probably said it wrong… I still haven’t learnt.
Thank fuck I got just one coke in the end.
Last but not least, going to Irish pubs
Why are they Irish if they are full of British?
Apparently, it’s because the Irish are perceived as friendly and welcoming. Most of my students get sent abroad for the summer, to learn English, they all beg not to go to England and go to Ireland instead. Wonder why?
Also, you never see a British pub… maybe that says it all.
Personally I love them… see why here.
I’m sure there are many more… I’m sure some people will tell me in the comment on Facebook.
What have you noticed about the British abroad?