Friday, May 24, 2013

how you know if you're a brit

One thing about the general English population that both astounds me, beyond the fact that they like eating things like black pudding and wearing Uggs, is the whole torturously unreactive passive-aggressive thing.

Everyone knows that no one talks on the tube, and generally, that's great. Because I don't like talking to people on tubes either. But it's when they're openly confronted, and they don't say anything, that really baffles the befuck out of me.

To make matters worse, since living in Britain, I've found myself becoming more passive-aggressive as time goes by too. It kind of starts to seep through your skin. ("Ooh no don't say anything/pretend you didn't see that/it would be rude to stare/don't argue it'll just make matters worse/avert your eyes avert your eyes!")

Bullshit. This is just not my natural style. And yet, I find myself being that way more and more. It's infuriating.

So. How British are you then? It's not what you eat, what you laugh at or whether you say things like, "I really worked hard today I did," or "I was sat next to a roight geezer this morning I was."
It's how you'd react to the following situation:

A Brit: "I was in the lift the other day, clutching a Starbucks freezachino, and the straw was sticking out to my right. Some tosser standing next to me took a bloody sip from my freezachino. Standing next to me. Just like that. Can you believe that?"

Peas: Well, what did you do?

A Brit: I...didn't do anything. I just climbed out at the next floor.

Peas: WHAT? You didn't even say, "Hey dude, what the fuck you doing with my drink?"

She Who Also Wears Tweed: I wouldn't say anything. Way too awkward.

Peas: Wow.

Tweed: No ways man. Closed, confined space. I'd just pretend nothing happened.

[And herein lies the problem. To so many things.]

Peas: You people astound me. That is just crazy.

Another Brit: I'd do something, but I wouldn't say anything.

Peas: What would you do then? Punch him in the face?

Other Brit: Oh God no, don't be ridiculous.

Peas: Well?

Other Brit:...I'd tut.

Peas: Jesus. I worry about this nation, I really really do sometimes.

The Quiet American: Yip, that just about sums it up. She'd ignore him, he'd tut, I mean what the fuck man?

Peas: I'd say, "What the hell are you doing?"

Another Brit: I would go so far as to say, "Dude, are you serious?"

American: Oh I'd say something. That's my fucking drink you're helping yourself to, man.


[Later went home and asked my Brit what he'd do. I was really concerned now.]

My Brit: "I wouldn't say I thing. This is what I'd do: I'd look at him, slurp up the rest of my drink up in his face and then throw the empty cup at him........[pause] then storm out of the lift."

OK. Not all Brits then. And that's why I married him, see, amongst other things. He's the easiest man on Earth to wind up. I was fucking worried there for a second; that this kind of unreactive hell-bent stoic behaviour was the entire population and not just an exempt few.

The Brit once shouted at someone for pushing me into a crowded tube. He said, "Was that really necessary?" loudly enough that I cringed. And then we all stood there, avertign eyes, pretending nothing happened, while we stood right up in each other's faces in a packed carriage.

It was so awkward, I nearly daad.
However, I'd rather feel devastatingly awkward than have a husband who is too scared to say anything at all.
British and [sometimes] outspoken; he's a rare breed on this island.

In other news, this has been circulating our press office this week. Touche.


po said...

That passive aggressive thing was so hard for me too. Of course I became more and more myself as time went by. Now that I am back in SA I need to adapt to a culture where people are not afraid to call a spade a f@#%ing shovel. It is quite a contrast.

Peas on Toast said...

Po - I can just imagine! It's so refreshing, and yet in other ways quite blunt and direct - and if you're not used to it, it's kinda, "Oh. She's telling me to to literally fuck off. To my face. Interesting."

But this passive aggressive thing is so much worse. It's driving me beserk.

Nicole B said...

So I was literalleh telling my fiancee about a convo my sister (who lives in London) and I were having yesterday - it was about this exact thing. How people on the tube just dont react to shit. I dont get it.

So the fiancee (who will be the husband when this happens) and I are emigrating to ye olde London in June next year. I cant say, right now, Ill be able to deal with this passive aggressiveness. I cant just stand there and let shit happen. Then again, maybe that changes... :P