One of the things you have to get
used to over here are the strange
rituals. I’m not talking about
'drinking the blood of a thousand
virgins' kind of strange, but
It’s no secret that the Brits like tea.
What isn’t in the handbook is just
how important drinks of all kinds
are. When I invite people over to
my house, a drink must be
offered within 10 milliseconds
of their asses touching the grooves
of my baby sealskin couch.
Any longer than 10 milliseconds, and I risk a tut-huff of nuclear proportions and a lifetime of being called “Last-to-offer-tea Cutforth”. Even if they have come over from across the street, you must always treat English guests as if they just crossed the Sahara to get to your house.
Limeys also have no problem asking for stuff that you didn’t offer. Most times someone simply asks for a coffee instead of tea, but there is always one clown that gets out of hand.
Me: You guys want some tea?
Most people in the room: Oh yes, that would be lovely.
Annoying cow: Have you got an espresso?
Me: uh, no.
Annoying cow: How about blackberry squash? Have you got some of that?
Me: We have blackcurrant squash, is that ok?
Annoying cow: Hmmmm, no. How about some Pokharan wine? Nothing quite cleanses the pallette like an in-season Nepalese grape.
Me: (shaking head, stifling the urge to drop kick her in the box)
Annoying cow: (pouting) Fine, I’ll just have water then.
Well, what did you expect, annoying cow? Did it say 'Rob’s Wacky World of Worldly Drinks' above the door when you walked in?
No, it didn’t.
Another ritual I’ve had a hard time getting my head around is the greeting kiss. The English, in their attempt to be cool Europeans, sometimes greet each other by kissing each other. I’m not the most touchy-feely guy in the world, so this is quite a difficult one for me. In fact, I am a big fan of the Japanese when it comes to social graces. If I could pull it off without getting called an egg, bowing would suit me just fine.
In most parts of Europe, the ritual is to kiss the other person twice on each cheek. Dudes, chicks, animals - it doesn’t matter. Sure, kissing a man you’ve never met on the cheek is a tad off-putting, but at least you know where you stand. Just kiss everybody.
The problem in trying to implement kissing culture in overly-careful-about-offending -someone England is that you’re never sure who you are supposed to kiss, who you’re not supposed to kiss and how many times. It usually ends up in this awkward lean in/lean out bobble-headed hokey cokey where you and the girl you’ve just been introduced try to decide if you know each other well enough to suck face.
Northern girls usually lean in straight away taking away the guesswork (thank God for them), but then you have to think about how many kisses and does the kiss come with an accompanying hug? If it’s a hug, do I put my hands around her waist, or on her shoulders? It’s all very confusing.
So from now on, if I meet you and greet you with a Borat-style HIGH FIVE!! Please don’t think I’m psychotic; I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing.
When he's not muttering over a kettle or accidentally catching people on the ears with his teeth, Rob effortlessly delivers even more cross-cultural insight about Notts in his extremely skill blog, Canuckistani in Limey Land.