Previously I shared a few of the warning signs for expats to look out for if they think they are starting to become Dutch. But what about the Dutch themselves? Could they also be influenced by all of us English expats moving into their country? It’s very possible. Here are a few early warning signs that might indicate you are starting to become English.
When a disaster strikes, no matter how devastating or terrifying it might be, your first instinct is to ‘put the kettle on’ as a means of putting things in to perspective. Even the apocalypse will seem easier to deal with once you have had a nice cup of tea (including milk and sugar).
Saying the word ‘sorry’ becomes an uncontrollable, automatic and involuntary reaction to everything, including things that have not actually happened yet, things that might not even happen and things that you are in no way responsible for at all. In extreme cases you will even apologise for apologising too much.
Your manner of speaking becomes similar to that of a Victorian villain in an American movie.
You start watching Strictly Come Dancing.
You suddenly realize you know the rules to cricket.
You become compelled to drive on the left hand side of the road (a real problem if you are on a Dutch highway at the time).
You start requesting ketchup instead of mayonnaise with your friet. In extreme cases you will be very specific that it must be HP ketchup.
In addition you start to refer to friet as chips and will be disappointed if they are not soggy.
You become confused by the Euro.
You measure how well you are doing in life by comparing your happiness to that of the average Eastenders character.
You consider Baked Beans on toast a ‘treat’ and know what Egg and Soldiers are.
You’ve written a letter of complaint at some point in your life.
You consider queuing a hobby.
You become frustrated by the American spelling of the word ‘colour’ and ‘favourite’.
Over the years I’ve written a lot about the Dutch and their funny little habits and traditions but I’ve never really written about my equally weird fellow Englishman. This seems somehow unfair since (as I will admit myself) we all know the English can be fairly strange and peculiar themselves (even if we are more prim and proper and know the correct layout for cutlery at a tea party). To rectify this injustice I have decided to turn the focus onto my fellow tea drinkers and expose just what it is that makes us tick.
Whenever you are discussing the habits of the English it is important to know that the English really like to apologise. It does not matter what it is for, if there is something that requires an apology the English are more than happy to provide it. Even when it seems like something might need apologising for in the future we will pre-emptively apologise to minimise any inconvenience. This is because the English hate inconvenience. In fact, if an official 1 to 10 scale of things English people like and dislike was ever created (1 being the least liked and 10 being the most liked) inconvenience would be at number 1 and apologizing would be at number 10.
Even in rare situations when an Englishman cannot find anything to apologise about they will apologise anyway… just in case. And then they will most likely apologise again for the inconvenience of having apologised when they are told there was nothing to apologise about in the first place. It is a vicious circle.
When in the comfort of his fellow countrymen the Englishman’s second favourite thing to do is complain. Again, it does not matter what it is about. It could be something trivial like a slow waiter at a restaurant or something important like the tea not being the correct temperature, the English are simply happy to have something to complain about.
However, the English cannot be ‘seen’ to be complaining because doing so would lead to another need to apologise for being an inconvenience. This is why the Englishman can only complain in the comfort and safety of those who share his opinions and views and will not actually challenge or asked him to make a more valid argument beyond; “Because it’s simply not cricket.”
The kind of complaining the Englishman likes to do the most is comparing things to how they used to be better. This is most noticeably noticed in conversations that start with the phrase, “Well in my day…” followed about some statement about the youth of today, their habits or choice in music (or as it is more commonly known in such conversations; ‘noise’).
This usually leads to a kind of one-up-mans-ship about the way things used to be better with the oldest in the group always winning because as all English people know the older things are the better they were (including the time when we were all having bombs dropped on us). Such conversations usually end with apologies to the oldest member of the conversation for the inconvenience of having to prove he was right and listening to people who were wrong.
I graduated from college in the year 2000. It was an incredibly exciting time. Not only was I about to step out of the safety of the educational system and into the real world for the first time but as everyone back then knew we were only a few months away from getting flying cars and personal robot butlers. It was an exciting time indeed.
Sadly the reality I discovered shortly after graduation was that I would not be getting my flying/driving license any time soon and that finding a job in the theatre industry as a recent graduate can be incredibly difficult if you are not willing to work for very little money or no money at all. I spent a few months working here and there at different theatres as stage crew. I was enjoying the work but I could not ignore that it was not exactly financially viable for a young go getter like myself (even though I was still living with my parents).
I knew I needed to expand my options and find other areas in which I could apply the knowledge I had accumulated at college between trying to struggle through hangovers during lectures and playing Soul Calibur in the student bar.
Luckily I did not have to think very hard because a friend of mine had hit upon the same road block and already given it some thought.
“Computer games.” Jake said with a matter of fact confident nod which might have been made all the more confident by the two pints we had just consumed. “Think about it.”
I did. The blank look of my internal thought process must have shown because he quickly continued.
“It’s just like building stage sets but inside a computer.”
He was absolutely right. I’d suddenly seen the genius of his idea. I’m sure if Shakespeare had still been alive he would have expanded his famous ‘all the world is a stage’ theory to include ‘and all the stage is a computer game.’ The best part of it was I would be able to play computer games as research for my job (an excuse I still use to this day when ever my wife wants me to put down the controller and come to bed).
So I started applying to all the London computer games companies I could find and when I was feeling a bit more adventurous I even applied for a few a little farther north (I was still a young and naive college graduate living with his parents after all). I didn’t hear much back from my applications. I had one interview and then been turned down. I was starting to wonder if Jakes idea had been so hot after all.
But then something happened. I did not know it was something at the time but it was the event that set me on my course. I had picked up a copy of a gaming magazine called Edge and started looking through the jobs section as I had done countless times before. As I looked through the pages I suddenly found it; a rather strange and cryptic job advertisement. It was the kind of thing that made you expect to turn around and see that the shop you had just bought it from had disappeared and where upon asking locals about it they would reply that there had not been a shop there for 20 years, and then shuffle off while giving you strange looks.
I quickly checked. The Bromley branch of WH Smiths was still firmly there. I turned back to the job advertisement in my hands. I was fascinated by it. In big bold letters it read ‘Do you want to create new worlds?’ and I thought YES! I scanned the rest of the page for details. It was a company called Lost Boys games but there did not seem to be any address. My heart sank a little thinking that maybe they had forgotten to add any contact details and some where there was a group of gaming executives sitting around a phone, checking their watches and waiting for people like me to call. Luckily I spotted a email address at the bottom of the page and rushed of home to send them a email (hopefully a few of them were sitting around the computer as well as the phone).
A short while I had sent the email off a thought acureded to me. I had just applied to a job that I knew nothing about. I didn’t even know where in England it was. What if it was even a real games company? What if it was front for the mob or a gang of black market organ dealers? What if I woke up from the interview in a bath of ice with a kidney missing? I don’t think I could handle that kind of job rejection.
It did not take me long to get my answer. A few day later I received a reply. It contained three surprises. (1) At no point in the email did they enquire about the condition of my internal organs. (2) They were very interested in my application and (3) they were willing to pay for my flights to the interview location… in Holland.
England. Home of cricket, good showmanship, afternoon tea, the Queen, Winston Churchill, the British stiff upper lip and now; the classy foil top plastic wine glass (the funniest thing I saw during my recent visit).
On offer at most London train stations the decadent foil top plastic wine glass is available in white, red and rosé. It is perfect for the sophisticated young Englishman on the go who likes to enjoy their train journey in style (and is not too worried about spilling wine all over themselves as the train lurches about). It is also perfect for dinner parties or a quite romantic night in with that special someone since (as the foil top tells us) the plastic glass can be reused.
Anyone can instantly look like a sophisticated Englishman while drinking from the foil top plastic wine glass. It can be enjoyed with a straw for the intellectual look (the foil can be tough so make sure to use strong stabbing motions)…
…or for added sophistication open and leave the foil attached while drinking.
The foil top plastic wine glass has a full bodied, fun and fruity taste with hints of metallic foil and a twang of glue and recyclable plastic (or to put it in a more English way; bloody awful).
Buses, phone boxes and letter boxes are all bright red because every English person is colour blind. If buses, phone boxes and letter boxes were not red no one would go anywhere, phone anyone or post anything.
The post service in England is called the Royal Mail because the Queen likes to deliver every letter personally (and Prince Philip deals with the overseas post).
There are sharks in the Thames.
No one has ever told the Queen that we lost the empire a very long time ago. It is every English person’s responsibility to make sure she never finds out.
Every English person can quote every line from Monty Python and Faulty Towers and does so on a daily bases.
England is the main importer and exporter of rain and bad weather in Europe.
English people like to complain and can complain about anything. Even if there is nothing to complain about the English will complain about the fact that there is nothing to complain about.
The English are well known for their politeness, shyness and modesty when it comes to receiving compliments but secretly we crave them, expect them and get quite annoyed if they are not given often enough.
If the English ever discover intelligent alien life they ‘will’ try to communicate by simply talking louder and expect to be understood (most likely while bartering for the intergalactic equivalent of a Spanish straw Donkey).
England is doomed if anyone ever figures out that the easiest way to bring the country to its knees is to cut off the supply of tea. The English are basically addicted to tea like drug addicts are addicted to crack. Have you ever seen a tea intervention? It ain’t pretty.
Those who use bad grammar are either executed or exiled to another country (why do you think I live in Holland?).
British Rail is well known for its train delays. There are still steam trains that are delayed due to leaves on the line.
Every English person has a butler. Even butlers have butlers.
What to know more? Check out more ‘facts’ about the Dutch and the English:
- Lies about the Dutch
- More Lies about the Dutch
- Even more lies about the Dutch
- Lies about the English
- More Lies about the English