(GH) 10 Things People Never Tell You About The British/Reading University

(Originally posted on February 12, 2012)

On Friday I had an amazing day saving the world, flying the Tardis and drooling over manuscripts. And I will write an entry about that, I swear. But I’ve been working on this one in my head for the past few days and I feel I ought to get it out.

10 Things People Never Tell You About The British/Reading University
Being the mundane and completely unimportant observations of an American student. Hopefully this will not offend the nice British people. I love you guys. You are awesome, just a little weird.

1. British people walk with toes out or in.
This is not a universal rule, but I’ve noticed a lot of people walking around campus or in the city with their feet turned out or in. I cringe to think of the damage being done to British knees everywhere.

2. “Are you all right?” does not mean “Are you all right?”
Often in greeting you, a British person will ask, “Are you all right?” This is their way of saying, “How are you?” It is not an invitation to burst into your woeful life story. Not that I have done that.

3. British people don’t hold doors (or maybe people at Berry hold doors a lot more than the world in general).
At Berry, it’s fairly typical for me to go a whole day in which either I am holding the doors open for someone or someone else is holding the door for me. Gender, age, whatever, it doesn’t matter–we all hold doors for each other. However, at University of Reading I can list on my right hand the number of times the door has been held for me in the last four weeks. Just now I was leaving the dining hall, and a boy held the door. I said, “Thank–” but then he let go of the door and it smashed into my shoulder. I’d give that door holding skill a 3 out of 10: 2 for intent, 1 for length of the hold, -7 for failed execution.

4. The manly scarf is alive and well in Britain.
My younger brother has refused for several years to take on the manly scarf. But guess what? It’s flourishing here over the pond. Almost every man/boy I pass has a manly scarf wrapped snuggly around his neck. This pleases me.

5. The manly fitted pants are also thriving.
Sometimes it goes too far. The pants are too tight. But I find I prefer fitted pants to the baggy, sloppy look of many American men/boys.

6. The double breasted jacket is in.
I see so many double breasted jackets and trench coats. It makes me very happy. Also a bit envious.

7. The leopard print leggings.
One fashion trend which I will not be participating in: Leopard print leggings. I thought this was just a manikin thing, but it is not, oh no, it is not. I have seen hot pink leopard print leggings in person, on a person. Dear, sweet British girls, just… no. Don’t do it.

8. Leggings/tights under shorts in the snow.
You people are insane.

9. Before saying you like the British accent, you should listen to all the different varieties.
I confess that I find some kinds of British accent, particularly when spoken by high-pitched, chatty girls, to be about as annoying as a gaggle of American teenagers. However, other variations of the accent are like butter on hot toast. Delightful.

10. 90% of boys have Edward Cullen’s hair.
It’s true. They put tons of gel in their longish hair just to make it look like they just got out of bed. I thought this was a trend amongst certain American guys, but oh no. These British boys shame even Edward Cullen. My favorite is when the professors have the same style.

Bonus:
The elbow patch.
Is it a jacket? A sweater? A regular shirt? Makes do difference at all! Let’s give it an elbow patch. (On the side, this greatly increases my chances of owning something with an elbow patch, and I mean to start a small collection before returning home.)

More to come!

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