A few weeks ago at work I met a man who I thought was the Father of my daughter’s friend in school.(still with me?). I wouldn’t usually speak to a complete stranger (unless I had to!) but he looked vaguely familiar so I asked him if he was so and so’s father. Rather embarrassingly he said he wasn’t but he did have an 8 year old son and did I have any children that age?
What amuses me about this exchange is that sensing my awkwardness and discomfort he attempted to alleviate this by coming up with an alternative to my question. In other words he was trying to please me or being polite which is what we British are prone to.
Putting aside the British element who are lager louts and trash places abroad etc the British have a reputation for having a stiff upper lip, a liking for tea and bowler hats and a huge desire to please.
Like any stereotypes these are largely inaccurate although you are likely to be ignored on the tube trains and coffee has taken over most quintessential tea drinking, the last point still remains.
We are mostly, socially awkward and very eager to please. This leads to us joining a queue for nothing, this experiment has been proven to be true, holding the door open endlessly coming out of a shop and inwardly seething at the lack of thanks and apologising profusely when someone bumps into us!
I spend very little time thinking about my culture and where I’m from but this British profile pretty much fits me to a t.
We are the ones who will apologise for not having a lighter or cigarette to give you or for being unable to know the time.
We will get off the bus and walk the rest of the way if we press the bell too early.
We will sit in a restaurant bemoaning the food then tell the waiter how happy we are.
We will apologise for being someone’s wrong number even!
So. How about you? Do you think you live up to your country of origins or childhood stereotypes?
It’s not that we don’t have a back bone rather that we prefer others over ourselves and that’s not always a bad thing.
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