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(BBC America)   Ten American habits that the British just don't understand. Of course, #1 on the list is such low-hanging fruit that it's not even worth mentioning in the headline   (bbcamerica.com) divider line 321
    More: Interesting, British, Americans, oral hygiene, salt and pepper, family friendly, Christmas cards, elderly woman  
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38909 clicks; posted to Main » on 10 Apr 2013 at 8:33 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-11 09:14:46 AM  

UtileDysfunktion: mekkab: GungFu: 3: Burgle. Medicine. Say it, motherfarker! It's a lot faster than 'burglarization' or 'medication'....stop putting 'ion' into every damn word to appear more intelligent. It doesn't work! We know how ignorant you really are.

once those bloody brits stop saying "orientated" and switch to the far more reasonable "oriented", you've got yourself a deal.

Al-u-min-ee-um.


Al-ooh-min-um! We invented it! We get to name it!
 
2013-04-11 10:52:25 AM  

ransack.: UtileDysfunktion: mekkab: GungFu: 3: Burgle. Medicine. Say it, motherfarker! It's a lot faster than 'burglarization' or 'medication'....stop putting 'ion' into every damn word to appear more intelligent. It doesn't work! We know how ignorant you really are.

once those bloody brits stop saying "orientated" and switch to the far more reasonable "oriented", you've got yourself a deal.

Al-u-min-ee-um.

Al-ooh-min-um! We invented it! We get to name it!


Was it invented in a la-bor-o-tor-y?
 
2013-04-11 11:09:54 AM  

W.C.fields forever: Mojongo: W.C.fields forever: Did your Father win or lose?
  As far as the poker game I don't know but he survived the war and met my mother, an Army nurse, in liberated Paris.
Winner..winner..

I spent a few years in the early 60s in the U.K. as a military brat trying to adapt yet wishing this Yankee could go home. Your Fark handle combines two of my heroes and makes me think of....
                                          " What fiend put pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?"
                                              i812.photobucket.com
 
2013-04-11 11:11:10 AM  

Tax Boy: ransack.: UtileDysfunktion: mekkab: GungFu: 3: Burgle. Medicine. Say it, motherfarker! It's a lot faster than 'burglarization' or 'medication'....stop putting 'ion' into every damn word to appear more intelligent. It doesn't work! We know how ignorant you really are.

once those bloody brits stop saying "orientated" and switch to the far more reasonable "oriented", you've got yourself a deal.

Al-u-min-ee-um.

Al-ooh-min-um! We invented it! We get to name it!

Was it invented in a la-bor-o-tor-y?


In fairness, English IS a trade language that melds a Germanic language, with Gaelic and Welsh and a few of the other native tongues of the British Isles, and then throws in some Latinate languages in to boot thanks to the Romans and the Normans, so a bit of rockiness is sort of to be expected. The language has some odd rules and gaps and even flouts its own conventions fair regular, which is why it is one of the more difficult tongues to learn. Not the hardest by any means, but English, either BSE or ASE are chock full of inconsistencies that are often lost even to native speakers...
 
2013-04-11 02:13:34 PM  
Two words my British friends: Salad cream.

No more disgusting thing has ever crossed my taste buds, however brief a time.
 
2013-04-11 02:20:31 PM  

Ima4nic8or: The one I agree with 1000% is #4.  That crap is just annoying as fark.  Its one of the main reasons I won't ride mass transit.  I remember having to ride the bus to my first job when I was too young to drive.  The ridership was 50% retarded (I don't mean that as a derogatory statement toward an unlikable but normal person, but as a diagnosis.  These folks had down syndrome and assorted other mental defects), another 25% were low-life, scumbag, criminal element types, another 10% were religious or political kooks, another 5% were old folks who would just talk your ear off about the old days if you let them and the small remainder were folks like me who had to be there and just wanted to be left in peace.  Unfortunately almost every single day one of these damn clowns would try to strike up a conversation with me.  If they were interesting topics it might have been worthwhile to talk, but it was always completely trivial crap.  Worse yet these folks seemed to be incapable of taking any sort of hint short of "fark off, asshole."


Step 1.) Acquire large, heavy book
Step 2.) Read book on mass transit
Step 3.) When someone strikes up a conversation anyway, beat them with the book.
 
2013-04-11 02:39:52 PM  

Mose: Two words my British friends: Salad cream.

No more disgusting thing has ever crossed my taste buds, however brief a time.


I was going to post a pic of that bratty Graham Chapman-type kid on Fawlty Towers going on about salad cream but I couldn't find one. So, I'll post this reunion photo and sob quietly to myself...

www.taylorherring.com
 
2013-04-11 03:42:01 PM  

TheShavingofOccam123: Mose: Two words my British friends: Salad cream.

No more disgusting thing has ever crossed my taste buds, however brief a time.

I was going to post a pic of that bratty Graham Chapman-type kid on Fawlty Towers going on about salad cream but I couldn't find one. So, I'll post this reunion photo and sob quietly to myself...

[www.taylorherring.com image 428x274]


Manuel has aged the best of any of them.  That's really, really sad...
 
2013-04-11 03:54:38 PM  

Norfolking Chance: hubiestubert: Dear Britain,

Over 200 years ago, we threw you and yours to the curb. While we appreciate that our Neighbors to the North still hold y'all in high esteem, and they ARE a very polite people, we likewise, did so for a reason. In that time, we have managed not only to have American Standard English outstrip British Standard English as the language of business abroad, and our financial as well as our industrial capacity outstrip your own by several factors, and even came to y'all's rescue a few times, out of the kindness of our Yank hearts. Well, that and blistering economic opportunities, and personal satisfaction of pulling your bacon out of the fire. In that time, we've managed to pull together a fairly bellicose and belligerent bunch of ex-pats, immigrants, and natives together into a union, with a fair varied experience than your Isles managed to bring. We brought over Scots and Irish, your own kin and kith, the French, the Spanish, even some disenfranchised Mexicans, Cubans, and a few other Latinates including some Italians and even the Portuguese, and in the meantime some Nihonjin, Chinese, some of those Pakis that you REALLY seem down on, some of the Indians that you are still trying to come to terms with, along with our own native population, and knitted them into the fabric of our society. It hasn't been seamless, it has had hiccups, as the imported African labor that you so lovingly helped us with, and then abandoned in your own shores, because, let's face it, you just didn't really seem to have time for all that, since you could just import the tobacco and cotton that we produced anyway, and wash your hands of the human cost that you brought with the whole shebang, and let us figure out what to do with the results of your experiment.

You are surprised that we AREN'T something different than yourselves? We ARE separated by a shared language--one that we've seen fit to modify, since we developed manners that you find curious and oddly embracing ...


hey, you're from norfolk so you might remember me!
when i was living in Wales, I took my gf up to norfolk for a university interview.
my exhaust broke and i was driving through town in the middle of the night with no muffler, and i didn't know exactly where the hotel was so I drove around quite a bit...with house lights turning on all around as i passed by.

remember me?
 
2013-04-11 04:02:01 PM  

Gordon Bennett: SirEattonHogg: 3) The term "middle class", which means apparently means upper class minus the aristocracy.  It was weird hearing my British colleagues saying stuff like "Oh his family is quite posh.  Very middle class."  I guess we all aspire to be middle class.

I don't understand the American concept of middle class, which as near as I can tell includes anyone who is neither impoverished nor a plutocrat. It's so broad as to lose all meaning. What is even more bizarre to my ears is the tendency of American politicians to talk about "ordinary middle class Americans." Again, very odd. Middle class isn't ordinary.

Now, getting to what you're talking about, that isn't quite it either. That would be the upper middle class, which is an entirely different beast. I'm middle class and while some might find me posh, I'm far from wealthy and even though I have lived in a very posh, upper middle class/upper class neighbourhood I never fit in at all.

It's difficult to explain exactly what defines (to the British) middle class. I heard someone on the radio suggest that if you had a library card while you were a child, you were middle class. My own personal definition is that if you were raised with the understanding that you were definitely going to university, you are middle class.

I think Americans use collar colours to define the same thing. Blue collar = working class, white collar = middle class. But I may be mistaken about this. I've lived for a long time in both countries but still don't quite understand American culture.


I think one of the reasons class in America is confusing is because Americans have a strong reaction to appearing to be classist.  There's something about being an American that makes many Americans think that we're all created equally, and classes should not exist, or that it's sinful pride to recognize social class.  So we get this weird thing that almost everyone considers themselves middle-class.  Working class people may consider themselves lower-middle-class, maybe in a patch of bad luck, while upper class people may consider themselves upper-middle-class, but sporting good luck.  That's why politicians seem to pander to the middle-class.  In reality they are trying to pander to everyone all at the same time, since most Americans consider themselves middle class.

Of course it's ridiculous to think all Americans are the same social class, but it's a very strong American notion that we are all the same social class.

My working definition of social classes in America comes down to how each group defines social class.  Lower/working classes want to define social class purely as a function of income levels.  Middle class sees that income is important, but not the whole story.  A tradesman such as a plumber is not considered middle class, even if he is successful and owns his own business.  His children might be, if they go to university.  Like you said above, middle-class Americans are those who go to a university and work in a white collar or professional kind of job, plus a moderate to fairly high income level.  Upper-class people take it as a given that they have loads of money, will go to a prestigious university, but I think their definition also includes a sense of family history, and personal style.  There may be some mobility between working and middle class, but very little mobility into upper class, with maybe the exception of advancing progressive generations into a higher class, such as the children of fabulously successful businessmen, etc.  Another key to defining upper class is that they don't really need to work at a job in order to have enough money to live, and to live well.  So even a wildly successful lawyer may not be upper class as long as his standard of living and net worth are a function of him still working as a lawyer until retirement.

So, to recap, income levels define class for working class, income plus education define class for middle class, income, education, family and "Culture" define class for the upper class.
 
2013-04-11 04:40:43 PM  
WTF is wrong with you anti-milk people?

Milk is DELICIOUS and good for you.  We evolved lactose tolerance for a reason, drink your farking milk.
 
2013-04-11 07:26:36 PM  

orbister: ginandbacon: Milk and flossing and they wonder why we have such nice teeth.

Something Americans in general don't understand is that we Brits think that you have horrible teeth. Sure, you think ours are crooked and icky, but we think yours are plasticky and fake looking - the dental equivalent of bolt-ons.


So if they are straight and clean it looks fake? I'm not following that logic. What if my hair is straight and clean, do you assume its a wig? And if my car isn't a wreck, does that mean its only a loaner?
 
2013-04-11 07:49:04 PM  

brantgoose: UberDave: He forgot eating chips (fries) by hand.  I usually look out for local customs like that but one evening I was tired and jet lagged and drew some amused looks from a couple's two children.

Although Americanization has made great inroads, I recall a newspaper article from the local paper (The Ottawa Citizen) in which visitors and members of the diplomatic community commented on things which they noticed about local life that struck them as original and different. A visitor from the Caribbean found it heart-warmingly nostalgic that Canadian mailboxes are Royal Red (or Scarlet) rather than blue as in the US. This made them feel more at home. An American pre-teen noted that many Canadians eat french fries with a fork (and sometimes a knife if the fries are long) in restaurants or at home (McDo and other fast food places that don't provide forks for your fries are natural exceptions--everybody tends to eat their fries with their fingers in American fast food chains). Also, Canadians put gravy on fries (and make poutine with gravy and cheese curds) instead of ketchup, or with ketchup even.

The question of finger foods is one which divides nations and regions, even families. Also, french fries seem to be a cultural touchstone, or shibboleth if you will, as they may be eaten with salt and malt vinegar (UK, Canada), with ketchup (USA, Canada) or with mayonaise (Belgium, France, the American South, possibly Quebec).

Speaking of culture, Americans tend to use the word in the German sense of High Culture (Kultur), while Canadians tend to use it in the anthropological sense (the habits and manners of nations). This is why a hockey game or Tim Hortons are considered Canadian Culture, but in America are seldom considered at all even where they exist and are popular.

When I was a student in Switzerland, we went on a number of free field trips paid for by the Swiss government. Like many people I liked to look out the window, observing the changes in landscape, building traditions, etc. The Americans, from well-to-do families, generally read their newspapers (International Herald) or chatted. Getting from place to place for them was just a pragmatic question of going from point A to point B, while for many other people the trip was half the fun. This may be a class rather than a national custom, but I suspect it is both.

The upper middle or upper class American students were object-oriented, pragmatic, blassé about ordinary life in other countries, individualistic. But the rest of us were interested in what was around us.

I imagine that the cellphone and other "communication" gadgets have now replaced the newspaper as a form of communication prevention for the Anglo-American elites. Americans and the British have different ways of being "private" and stand-offish.

An American will tell you his or her entire life story (including gruesome details such as medical procedures) in a few minutes, secure in the knowledge that they will never see you again. They'll be on a first name basis in seconds, but if you try to contact them later, you will realize that you don't know their last name and can't look up their telephone number or other "coordinates" because you don't know them well enough to be on a last name basis.

Unless you are a born geographer, historian or anthropologist, you might misunderstand Americans and think they are open books. They are just working on different assumptions. They can maintain just as much standoffishness as the British upper classes while being extremely polite, open, frank and intrusively forth-coming with details of their income, profession or trade, etc.

They use the "bury 'em with facts" method instead of the "need to know" method of keeping distance between themselves and strangers.

Americans come by this naturally because the vast majority of you/them are at least partly Irish, German, Italian, Jewish, etc. Canadians are more likely to be British, or French, or Other, or various recent combinations of these, and thus are more "European" than European Americans. They've had less time to hybridize and develop a common culture like the American culture, which being founded on individualism, anti-intellectualism, anti-elitism, and anti-statism, is more monolithic and obligatory than the cultures of less free societies. Also, as everybody knows, America is supposedly a melting pot, while Canada is more of a mosaic or possibly a buffet, where the different items blend on your plate, not in the kitchen.

Paradoxical yes, but everything human is a paradox.


Blue mailboxes? I see mostly black, white, and silver. I don't think they regulate color here, just size and placement.
 
2013-04-11 08:11:26 PM  

Mellotiger: Blue mailboxes? I see mostly black, white, and silver. I don't think they regulate color here, just size and placement.


Big USPS mailboxes, not the ones in front of each house.
 
2013-04-11 08:30:00 PM  

FrancoFile: Mellotiger: Blue mailboxes? I see mostly black, white, and silver. I don't think they regulate color here, just size and placement.

Big USPS mailboxes, not the ones in front of each house.


Oh yeah. Holy fark I'm special sometimes!
 
2013-04-12 01:33:33 AM  

brantgoose: Drinking milk. It's a conspiracy.

Industry has a lot of milk left over after extracting the cream to make butter, cheese and ice cream so they taught Americans to drink milk. Actually, they started out by teaching old timey Americans to drink whey (or "butter milk", a contradiction in terms) because otherwise they'd have to dump it into the river, destroying the water supply and killing the fish. But over time they figured out how to make whey look like "milk" by adding chalk and other additives, so they were able to replace the filthy and ridiculous habit of drinking whey with the even stupider habit of drinking chalk water fortified with zero vitamins.

Nowadays, even this has given way to the realization that you don't have to add chalk. The only place where chalk water is still sold as milk is China, which like XIXth century America is rapidly industrializing and full of crooks who don't care if your children die.

Americans drink milk because they have been brainwashed for centuries by entrepreneurs and corporations. There's a lot less moxy and go-ahead spirit in British capitalism, so 1) they spend a fraction of the money American companies and their government proxies spend on advertising and marketing, and 2) the British public is woeful unaware of the existence of products that they don't need. Like milk, dental floss, kitchens, and doggy bags.

And that's the reason for that.


Or, maybe it's just delicious. There's always that.
 
2013-04-12 01:41:01 AM  

ciberido: jpo2269: He left off the list "work" and "enjoy iced tea."

The only way I can get iced tea when I visit the UK is to order hot tea and a glass or two of ice.Drives me nuts that you cannot even find iced tea at the bigger hotels....  That being said, it does give me an excuse to splurge on Lucazade which can no longer be imported into the US....

Outside the USA, there are a couple of Asian countries (Thailand for one) that drink tea cold, and that's about it.  Most of the world drinks tea hot and doesn't even conceive of drinking tea with ice.  It's very hard to get ice tea most countries.

Ice tea and cornbread are the two things I miss most when I'm outside the USA.


I've had iced tea in Paris (in 2008) so it can't be that uncommon.
 
2013-04-12 01:42:21 AM  

legion_of_doo: /If it wasn't for us, you'd all be speaking German, singing, "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles!"


Actually, they'd probably be speaking Russian. The Nazis were pretty much finished by D-Day.
 
2013-04-12 02:49:48 AM  

Abacus9: ciberido: jpo2269: He left off the list "work" and "enjoy iced tea."

The only way I can get iced tea when I visit the UK is to order hot tea and a glass or two of ice.Drives me nuts that you cannot even find iced tea at the bigger hotels....  That being said, it does give me an excuse to splurge on Lucazade which can no longer be imported into the US....

Outside the USA, there are a couple of Asian countries (Thailand for one) that drink tea cold, and that's about it.  Most of the world drinks tea hot and doesn't even conceive of drinking tea with ice.  It's very hard to get ice tea most countries.

Ice tea and cornbread are the two things I miss most when I'm outside the USA.

I've had iced tea in Paris (in 2008) so it can't be that uncommon.


as long as they have ice.

i've been to the movies and the place only had cans of soda at room temperature, and popcorn with sugar and cinnamon (yuck). the combination foams up in your mouth making you a) want to spit up, or b) look like a rabid dog.
answer: both

lots of folk over there (because energy is more expensive) have tiny refrigerators that couldn't hold more than a couple trays of ice. one round and your done. they shop almost daily, rather than stocking some huge fridge with a months worth of food. i didn't mind the shopping...it was a nice reason to go for a walk, places without a "supermarket" means you have to visit several shops or stands.

.
 
2013-04-12 03:11:13 AM  

Popular Opinion: the combination foams up in your mouth making you a) want to spit up, or b) look like a rabid dog.
answer: both


I knew it! The answer is ALWAYS c!

Popular Opinion: lots of folk over there (because energy is more expensive) have tiny refrigerators that couldn't hold more than a couple trays of ice. one round and your done. they shop almost daily, rather than stocking some huge fridge with a months worth of food. i didn't mind the shopping...it was a nice reason to go for a walk, places without a "supermarket" means you have to visit several shops or stands.


I've heard that about ice being kind of scarce in Europe. I hardly noticed, and the iced tea I had was actually from a can, and I got it from a vendor that had it in one of those little fridges. When we went to a restaurant, I usually had a beer or a glass of wine. As far as the shopping, our hotel was by a little grocery store, so we bought a few items so we wouldn't have to eat out all the time. I'm still in the habit of picking up a few items just about every day from the store, rather than spend hours there once a week.
 
2013-04-12 03:40:40 AM  

EyeballKid: justaguy76: How did "voting republican" not make the list of 10 weird american habits the rest fo the world can't understand?

Methinks the nation that put Dubya's limey sidekick in power doesn't have room to talk for awhile.


Err.  I'm Australian.
 
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