Let me first explain that I’m British, born and raised. I grew up in Northern Ireland and moved to study in London when I was 18. Let me also tell you I have a secret guilty pleasure: every week I watch a vapid reality show called Ladies of London. It stars a C-list mix of posh British babes who are friends with posh American women. The ‘Queen Bee’ of the show is Caroline Stanbury, businesswoman and ex-girlfriend of Prince Andrew, who hobnobs with the Royals and has an entire staff running her palatial home. She and heiress Annabelle Neilson hang out with American models Caprice Bourret and Noelle Reno at polo matches, stately manors, and glitzy bars in between having catfights. (No, I hadn’t heard of any of them either until I watched the show.)
The beauty of this series is that it highlights the differences between the reserved, stiff upper-lipped Brits and these loud, feisty Americans. Caroline even arranged etiquette lessons for two of the American women to show them how to correctly eat soup and how to behave at fancy dinner parties. And yet it also struck me that us Brits simply don’t “get” a lot of our American sisters’ ways; we’re different breeds. Here are just a few oddities I’ll never understand about you lovely gals from the USA:
*P.S. I’m not dissing American women; I love John Hughes movies more than anyone and have always dreamed of living stateside just so I could attend prom!
1. What is with your fascination with fingernails?
Really, who has the time to be concerned about their nails? I bite mine anyway, but it has always bemused me JUST how much American women covet their perfectly-polished talons! You seem to spend an unholy amount of time being groomed: blow-dry salons (something the UK hasn’t gotten into … yet) and making time in your day to get your nails done and hair coiffed. Why? You’re just gonna sleep on it and wake up with a birds’ nest the next morning. Us Brits throw on torn jeans, take a 2-minute shower, drag a brush through our hair and do our makeup on the tube. (Tube = subway.) Life for us is way too short for glamorous grooming!
2. Why do you date more than one guy?
I have never understood this. The way I see it: You start dating someone, he’s nice to you, you date him and then you marry him. Or he isn’t nice to you, so you don’t see him again. End of story (though I did ALMOST have an affair once…). Yet you American ladies date lots of men—and all at once! (No wonder you groom your lady gardens so much!) How do you remember who is who? And isn’t it cheating if you’re seeing multiple guys? Us Brits can only cope with one man at once, so for your ability to juggle many, I salute you.
3. Why do you argue loudly and in public?
Brits never do this. We would rather pretend everything is fine (while steam pours from our ears) than have some sort of public spat. How embarrassing! Sure, we bicker and we’re good for a quick put-down, but we don’t have screaming matches in the street, complete with yelling and crying. I admire the being-in-touch-with-your-emotions thing, but please have some decorum!
4. What are grits and why do you eat them?
Or for that matter, hot dogs that look like giant penises? I would rather eat my head. Likewise, I don’t get pumpkin pie (pumpkin is savory here in the UK) or giant chicken legs (in fact, why is everything in the States so GIANT? Eat normal portions!) creamed corn, beef jerky, Jell-O and meatloaf. But I am in love with your hamburgers, your bourbon, your pulled pork and your iced tea. Thank you for that.
5. What’s with the toddler beauty pageants?
Never have I understood the concept of a beauty pageant or judging women on their looks or how well they rock a swimsuit. More so, I can’t get my head around the kid beauty pageants where the children wear more make-up than hookers and end up looking like creepy dolls. Please explain.
6. Why are you so sincere and nice?
Everyone is so NICE in America. On American reality TV shows, they’re always sharing their ‘truth’ and being honest and ‘true’ to themselves. It’s like a walking therapy convention. What about sarcasm and bitterness and quips and put-downs and being bitchy? That’s what we all do here in the UK! For every show where an American woman cries or explains how she feels or tries resolve all issues, there’s a British counterpart where a British woman holds a fabulous grudge, says bitchy things and complains endlessly. I have no idea how American ladies smile all the time; you’re better people—clearly.
7. How are you able to only have one drink?
In LA, everyone drives everywhere, which must mean…you can only have one or two drinks? What is THAT all about? In the UK, we all walk to our “local” (a nickname for our nearest pub) after work. We pitch up in a corner, drink ourselves stupid and then stagger home. That is what we call a GOOD time. I have invited many American ladies out for drinks and seen their faces drop in horror as we order not just a glass of wine, but the bottle. Then again, most British women are lushes. We think it’s totally socially acceptable to drink any time after noon. It seems when it comes to drinking, you Yanks are much more sensible.