This is probably one of my favourite “tongue in cheek” subjects. Being married to an American for 16 years means that everything on this page and more has been discussed and debated at one point or another both in the UK and the USA with friends and family. I am not writing this to offend any Americans or to generalise about American people. We also have idiots here in the UK so please do not be offended by anything you read here. If you are easily offended you should probably not read any further and click on this link. Before we start, I actually do not like being referred to as a “Brit”. I am English and proud. I must point out to anyone that doesn’t know but the United Kingdom or Great Britain (the actual name is United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) consists of four different countries. They are England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Just like I am proud to be English, the Scots are proud to be Scottish, the Welsh are proud to be Welsh and the Northern Irish and proud to be Northern Irish.
So, here we go. Below are some of my most favourite myths and misconceptions about British people.
Do all British people live in castles?
Of course we do! Have you never heard the saying, “An Englishmans home is his castle”? Some of us can even afford the upkeep of a moat so that burglars cannot access the castle and steal all the treasure and jewels within. Many of us do have a remote controlled drawbridge and portcullis to make it more convenient to park our many cars and horse drawn carriages in the fortress.
There are some negatives though. The lack of windows make it very expensive and difficult to heat in the winter, especially if you have run out of firewood and dead servants. You should never leave going to the toilet (sorry, “Restroom”, pfff!) until the last minute because you’ll have at least a 10 minute walk to the nearest restroom. The cost of running a castle per year is probably more than your house and family are worth. That is more of an annoyance than a problem as we all have immense wealth, mainly from the stash of treasure in the attic. However, a very tiny percentage of people do struggle to make ends meet and resort to websites like www.CashMyTreasure.co.uk to help towards running costs such as launching Bentleys from the castle turrets at cold callers and any passing Jehovah’s Witnesses.
THE TRUTH: Ummm, no we don’t. I actually cannot believe that this question has ever been asked. It’s seems a shame but with almost 70,000,000 people in the United Kingdom, I am not sure that there would be enough room in the county to have so many castles. In reality, we have many types of housing, just like most of the civilised world. For example, the many people that live off benefits (Welfare) live in social housing, or as we call them, council houses (or flats). A large section of long term unemployed (non disabled) live rent free and council tax free and choose to live off government handouts for the rest of their lives. The others work hard to be able to afford their own house one day. People that own their own homes usually live in:
Terraced house: A row of houses connected together housing many families.
Semi detached house: Two houses connected together. (2 houses, 2 families).
Detached House: One house, not connected to anything (apart from maybe a garden).
Mansion: A house for stupidly rich people that should be drowned at birth (after the Royal Ceremony, see below!)
Have you met the Queen?
Even person in Great Britain has met the Queen. There is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. The King or Queen at the time is present at every birth within the United Kingdom. The monarch gently dabs the sweat away from the birthing mother’s forehead with the Royal Handkerchief of Gloucestershire. When the baby is born, the King or Queen performs a brief ceremony which involves a short speech. The monarch grabs the baby by the hair (or leg if the baby does not have enough hair to grasp) and utters the words, “I bless this child in the presence of god. May this child be victorious, happy and glorious”. At the end of the ceremony, the mother is presented with a solid gold pendant which contains the King or Queen’s cellphone number (this is a more recent addition to ceremony) should the child ever need assistance or an enemy beheaded. Many lonely people who live on their own often call Queen Elizabeth for a quick chat to exchange gossip and fine dining recipes. The majority of Americans do not realise how hard the Queen actually works. With all the birth duties, supermarket openings and secret assassinations, she has very little Liz and Phil time. As an Englishman, I salute her for what she has done for us all. Without her, Great Britain would just be called, “Britain”, and it would be shit, “Shit Britain”.
THE TRUTH: No, sorry to bust this one too. Very few people get to meet the Queen. If you just happened to push your way to the front of a crowd during a public event then you may get to meet the Queen. Don’t rush through the crowd too fast of you are likely to be killed by her guards (the ones with the big black afros). The Queen does occasionally have garden parties at Buckingham Palace. To be invited is considered to be a great honour.
Why do Brits have bad teeth?
This is another British tradition. During the second world war (WW2) the government introduced a toothpaste tax so only rich people could keep their teeth all white and squeaky clean. The reason for this was for the same reason why car headlamps were not allowed to be used during the blitz (Germans bombing the UK in the dark hours). The headlamps of cars and the glare of white teeth on the streets could illuminate the landscape allowing the Germans to strategically bomb specific targets. We do not brush our teeth as a sign of respect for our fallen heroes of World War Two. With less and less toothpaste being sold during the war, the demand dropped and the cost of producing toothpaste increased significantly. Even today, a tube of Colgate costs the equivalent of 4 months wages, pricing out almost everyone. There is a very famous Winston Churchill speech from wartime. Here is a short excerpt. Whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills and we, as a nation, shall fight the searing pain in our bleeding gums.
THE TRUTH: Actually, you will be surprised by this as was I was when I researched this yesterday. The UK has the best teeth in the world. The USA is way down the chart and even France beats America! See for yourself here. I guess it’s not all about the unnatural Hollywood blinding tooth glare or the big porcelain choppers that make you look like a horse, it’s not even about having the straightest (to the nearest micron), parallel teeth. It’s all about general mouth hygiene and not having rotten teeth. We’ve all seen the rednecks on Jerry Springer with bad teeth. We have people like that too. Our version is called, “The Jeremy Kyle Show“. In fact, he has a series in the USA. The people on this show are the ones a wrote about earlier. The ones who live rent free and take lifetime government handouts, sometimes getting more money than people in full time work.
Why is British food so bad?
What may seem bad to you is a delicacy for us. Mostly everything we eat is in pie form. For example, Steak and Ale pie, Beef and Onion pie, Horse Cheese and Kidney pie, Pigeon and Pigs Blood pie and my personal favourite, Squirrel and potato pie. It’s not all about pies though, well, it is, but we do eat other things. Other less popular dishes include, Roasted haunch of Venison with Walnut mash, Dover sole,grilled or meuniere on the bone and Cod fillet coated in beer batter and deep fried and served with tartar sauce. You really have to be quite adventurous and have a strong stomach to try those though.
We really cannot compete with the most exquisite American food, or as we call it, “Brown Food”. High in sugar, salt and cholesterol the USA has the second most healthy cuisine in the world after Mexico.
We feel honoured that the finest restaurants on the planet such as McDonalds and Burger King decided to open their fine eateries across our great country. Not only can we eat more healthily but we can soak up the ambiance of the finest Clown based restaurants. The British people are slow to learn when it comes to the culinary arts but with these places popping up as fast as acne on a teenager, we’ll soon be flipping greasy burgers in our own food holes or as you call them, “Kitchens”.
THE TRUTH: Sadly, people seem to enjoy fast food these days. When the first McDonalds appeared in the UK (London, in October 1974), people were not attracted to it for convenience, it was more about the novelty and spectacle of seeing and eating somewhere that looked so ridiculous. Times have changed and now American fast food is in every city and town across Britain. We are already heading in the same direction as the USA in the obesity stakes.
“Ah, but I don’t eat in places like that. I eat at nice places like Olive Garden and T.G.I Fridays. In fact, if I go to Sonic, big boobed hotties bring me my food on rollerskates! How cool is that?”. That’s the problem with American food. Yes, there are lots of amazing independent restaurants but they are few and far between and vastly outnumbered by the chains. The chains continue to roll out unhealthy, mass produced shit on a conveyor belt straight into your mouth.
Now, home cooking. This is a slightly different story. The true American home cooking seems to be a dying thing. This could be for a couple of reasons.
1) More and more old people are dying and not passing on their family recipes or younger family members can not be bothered and would prefer to go to “Freckle Bitches” or “Burger Shot”.
2) Fresh produce in the stores is stupidly expensive.
In fact, I think both these statements are true. When I was visiting the in-laws in Texas a few years ago I promised to make a meal for about 10 family members. The wife and I headed to Walmart to pick up the fresh ingredients. It cost almost $200 for everything we needed. As I seem to remember, a head of Garlic was $6 (we can get 3 heads of fresh garlic for $1.20 in the UK) and Cardamom was $16 for a tiny 15g jar (we would pay around $1.80 for double the amount) . The other ingredients prices escape me now but it was a shock when getting to the checkout. It’s no wonder people eat so much junk.
Something else that makes me laugh is reading American recipe websites. Remember, this should be “cooking from scratch” but the majority of recipes call for “a packet of this, a tin of that, a box of this” etc. I once found a recipe for a cake and I am not making this up, the recipe had just two ingredients and one of those was a box of cake mix, the other was a tub of frosting (or as we call it, icing).
The problem is that some Americans seem to think that we eat fish and chips, blood pies and crumpets every day. Nothing could be further from the truth. The UK has one of the most diverse range of cuisines in the world due to our ancestors importing weird and wonderful new ingredients from far and wide as well as modern cultural influences from people all around the world that have settled in Britain. Many styles such as Indian have been adapted by Brits and claimed as our own. When my in-laws visited the UK last they were shocked to see the vast range fresh produce on offer and at great prices compared with the USA. What did make me chuckle was the line, “So where is the diabetic aisle then?”. I am laughing now but we’ll have them one day as the obesity problem grows.
Why do Brits drink warm beer?
As you are probably aware, Great Britain is very, very cold and very wet. In fact, the average monthly temperature is -19′ c (-2′ f). It rains on average, 359 days a year and our summer is only 6 days long where the temperature reaches a high of just -8′ c (17′ f). We all wear at least 6 layers of clothes just to keep warm. We also drink lots of hot tea to ensure our body temperature stays above the threshold where Hypothermia can kick in. It would actually be dangerous for us to consume cold beer as Hypothermia would be a certainty. Many Brits go on holiday (vacation) just to enjoy a nice cold beer without the fear of dying. We cannot stay in direct sunlight for very long as our immune system would not be able to cope very well with the Ultraviolet rays. In fact, 74% of Brits that travel overseas develop life threatening conditions such as Smallpox, Rinderpest and Hemorrhoids.
THE TRUTH: The mainstream weak piss they call beer (we call that Lager) in the USA is not in the same league as British and European lager. European beers contain much more flavour and alcohol. My father-in-law who thinks he can drink anyone under the table had 4 pints of Stella Artois, (we call it “Wife Beater”) and ended up on all fours puking up outside the pub. Us Brits really don’t care for those little tiny bottles of beer, we tend to prefer beer that come in pints either in a pub or a pint can. A UK pint is 1.2 USA pints. I realise that small percentage of Americans appreciate REAL beers such as Cask Ale’s, Bitter, Mild, Old Ale, Porter and Stouts. With over 700 different Ale brewers all over the UK we are really spoilt for choice. Cask Ale should be served at 12.7′ c which is 55′ f (cellar temperature). If the Ale is served any cooler than this then the flavour is lost. Maybe this is where the myth came from. Don’t knock a Real Ale until you have tried one. You would not go back to light yellow, fizzy piss water. Europe is blessed with, in my opinion, the finest beers in the world. I have travelled to many parts of the world and always try the local brews! Actually, there is a local beer called Julbrew (BV – 4.7%) that I enjoyed when I was in The Gambia (a small country in Western Africa) which is similar to many of the American “Lite” beers but the taste was better.
Do you have Christmas in England?
Unfortunately, we do not celebrate Christmas in the UK. It is in fact illegal to do so. Up until 1983 you could be executed for celebrating the birth of Jesus. The reason for this is that we celebrate the birth of Mortis Vitala, the English god of Crumpets, the ONE AND ONLY GOD. There is no Mortis Tree, no Mortis presents and definitely no Mortis Turkey. In fact, we consider the Christmas Turkey to be the animal of Satin himself. On Mortis Day the country grinds to a halt. All businesses are closed and the Police, Fire and Ambulance services are also closed for 7 days. This 7 day period is called “mea navis aëricumbens anguillis abundat“. It’s quite a dangerous period in the calendar as murder, rape and pillage is commonplace across the whole United Kingdom. Brits overseas are welcome to celebrate Christmas but only to enjoy the commercialisation, receiving gifts, eating like a pig and getting drunk to the point of starting fights with random women. We are never to let Jesus into our hearts as we would be refused entry back into the UK and our families would be deported to Israel.
THE TRUTH: I know that this question seems ridiculous and made up but in fact this very question was asked of my wife and I when in Texas, USA.
Unnamed Person: “So, do you have Christmas in England?”
My Wife: “Yes and we have running water and electricity!”
This is when I made my sharp exit to go and laugh my tits off in an empty room. Being Atheist, I do like the sound of worshipping the fictitious Mortis Vitala.
Why are the Brits so reserved in and out of bed?
With the United Kingdom being a small country the government has to control the population. This is done by administering an injection when boys reach 10 years old. The injection is a chemical castration which has a success rate of approximately 40%. Fluoride and anti-libidinal drugs are added to our water supplies which has a slight affect on the remaining 60%. The males that go on to father children are either would-be rapists and future psychiatric patients. Young females are shown videos of childbirth gone wrong (good idea for a TV show) which puts them off ever wanting children. Sexual intercourse is only permitted for married couples but this is limited to once per month. All bedrooms in the UK are fitted with CCTV cameras and any couple found breaking this rule is fined and punished. The men receive a forced vasectomy whilst the females have their vaginal orifice permanently sealed up.
THE TRUTH: I am not quite sure where this rumour came from. The Brits are not frigid or scared of sex, in fact, quite the opposite. I, and many millions of Brits would do things that would make a whore blush. British people are probably more adventurous in the sack than Americans. Remember that dirty German porn has been flooding into the UK since the birth of Betamax VCR’s. Before 2002, 36 U.S. states had laws against anal sex. In the UK, heterosexual and gay couples can have anal sex from the age of 16. You can have some brown love whenever you want and with whom you want, obviously as long as it’s consensual . One statistic that we’re not too happy with is our teenage pregnancy rate. Sadly, the UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the whole of Europe. Who says that our girls don’t put out? Saying that, they must have been in hiding when I was in my teens.
Do Brits watch Benny Hill and eat Crumpets every day?
The UK only has 3 TV channels. BBC1, BBC2 and The Benny Hill Channel. People only tune into the BBC channels for the news and weather but then switch back to Benny Hill. We consider The Benny Hill channel as educational. It teaches us prude Brits that it’s acceptable to chase scantily clad young women around trees and across fields. It also brings a little bit of fun into our drab and dreary lives. As for crumpets, yes, we eat crumpets every day as a perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot, sugary, milky tea. We are quite lucky in the UK, we have an abundance of Crumpet trees across the whole country so why let them fall off the trees and rot? To cook them simply toast them and then spread with beef fat. The fat will melt into the Crumpet and in the matter of minutes you will have a nutritious and healthy meal.
THE TRUTH: The Benny Hill show ran from 1951 to 1991 and has not aired on mainstream UK TV since. There may have been reruns on some obscure satellite TV channels but to be honest, the viewing figures would have been very poor. When the show initially started there was only one TV channel (BBC) so viewing figures would have been huge. When the show ended in 1991 there were still only 4 terrestrial and 4 satellite TV channels in the UK.
On to Crumpets. First of all, please let me explain exactly what a Crumpet is as there seems to be huge confusion over this. It’s not a biscuit, it’s not a scone or an English muffin. A crumpet is a bit like spongy bread. Baking powder is used as the mixture rises to give the crumpet it’s distinctive holes. Spread them with butter. They can be sweet or savoury. They are considered morning goods (breakfast). For a recipe click here. Crumpets date back to 1694. The word Crumpet can also refer to an attractive lady (a bit of crumpet).
Now to some smaller points.
Why do all Brits sound so posh?
In Britain there are numerous regional accents. Rather than list them all here and bore you, check out this amazing website which contains audio of all accents within Great Britain. The Geordie dialect is a really good example of a regional accent. When my wife first came to the UK she amazingly couldn’t hear any differences in regional accents.
Do all Brits have “Afternoon Tea”?
Afternoon Tea or High Tea is not as common as you may think. From my own observations the groups of people that have afternoon tea are usually:
British people having a holiday or trip within the UK may pass a tea shop. They may never have had afternoon tea before so decide to give it a try.
Older people tend to enjoy meeting up in tea shops for afternoon tea to catch up on the latest gossip and get out of the house.
People with a little more money (and “posh” people) tend to have afternoon tea. Maybe it’s a class thing?
Only affluent areas tend to have real tea shops that serve afternoon tea. Less affluent or “normal areas” have Cafes. These can be trendy coffee shops where you can grab a tea or coffee and a light snack and then there are working mens Cafes (commonly called Greasy Spoons) which will serve up a full English breakfast (Greasy fried eggs, bacon, sausage,grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, baked beans, black pudding, toast and fried bread) and cup of strong brewed, milky tea served in an unwashed tea stained mug. You cannot beat a full English! Oh, and Black Pudding is basically pigs blood sausage with seasoning. Sounds awful but it’s really good.
Why is the UK so expensive?
Compared with the USA, Britain is not expensive. The minimum wage in Britain is almost double that of the USA. Average wages are also higher than the USA. Not everything in the UK is cheaper. For example, petrol (gas) is much more expensive in the UK, also gas (heating) and electricity is more expensive (almost double the price per unit). Food in the UK tends to be cheaper with the exception of meat. A huge piece of brisket in Texas will cost around $10 (or £6.25). The same size piece in the UK would cost between £20 – £30 ($32 – $48). Back in 1998 I would say that the USA was a cheaper place to live but with increasing prices across the board this has now flipped the other way.
As you know, our great countries do have differences. We have just as many misconceptions about American people. I have been fortunate enough to have travelled to the States many times over the years so I know that most of these are not true. The British don’t act like they are in an old English comedy shows such as “Are you Being Served”, or “Keeping up Appearances”. It would be nice if our country was just like that but sadly it isn’t. I will no doubt get flamed and be told that parts of this post are inaccurate. That may or may not be true. It’s all down to opinion. This is a light hearted, tongue in cheek post so please don’t take offence. I look forward to the carnage I call the comments! Thanks for reading.
The final word goes to Eddie Izzard, Britains greatest transvestite.