JUST as some women date only prison inmates, so there are those who yearn above all for Englishmen, with their exotic customs and their reputation for making even banal remarks sound like brilliant repartee. For example my friend AA* who has dated men from all over the world and now focuses on finding a Mr. Brit. So far she is quite persistent and consistent, although not always successful. She despises Australian after a bad break-up with her last proper boyfriend and swears off Ozzy dudes forever. She doesn’t like American because they’re too forward. British men, she says, are gentle and caring and honest. But rather than some random dates, she hasn’t had secured any Brits yet. I guess maybe, despite her own pushy characters, in between Mr. Darcy with his sexy accents and Hugh Grant with his killer smile, there are other qualities in British men that, probably after spending a couple months with him, would not be amusing anymore.
The British are renowned for their stiff upper lip: politeness, failure to speak out, and not demonstrating their feelings. Reluctance to display emotion in the face of extreme misfortune or extreme good fortune is the first key element of British cool (or coldness). To some, this quality could be more than just an annoying charm.
The tabloid The Sun was the first one reported that Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s marriage are doomed. The newspaper claimed that the marriage began sliding towards divorce after her hubby’s unsympathetic reaction when she tumbled from a horse. Apparently, when she has been through a traumatic, possibly life-threatening experience as she broke four ribs, her collar bone, scapula and her left knuckle in the accident, Guy’s reaction wasn’t something she expected. Instead of lavishing her with love and attention, Guy approached the whole thing in what she now calls, ‘A very British way’.
When it comes to relationships, even the website UKStudentLife.Com warns their readers that “British men (and women) do not always talk openly about their emotions, especially when they do not know you well already” and “some men prefer not to kiss or hold hands in public, because they think it is more polite to show affection only in private”. Although I believe Madonna realises this since she has successfully adopted English accent and English husband, but as the Italian’s blood runs through her veins, she definitely couldn’t stand it after seven and half years.
Now Madonna blames her man’s “no-nonsense” approach to their marriage on his British public school upbringing. She says he was “typical of emotionally-stunted British men” and refuses to ever date another Brit. The pal said: “Madonna’s convinced British men are light years behind Americans when it comes to emotional honesty and sophistication.”
There are certain things British men like to believe about themselves, according to The Guardian, and one of them is that, while British women take them for granted, women of all other nations find them irresistible (as proved by Hugh Grant in Four Weddings and Notting Hill); and that they could almost definitely take Hugh Grant in a fight; and that the fabled Brit ‘stiff upper lip’ has evolved to the point where nothing could induce them to ‘turn on the waterworks’. This, many British men feel, is something they have over the ‘hysterical’ Italians, ‘namby-pamby’ French, and those pathetic hippy Americans weeping and hugging each other on ‘Iron Man’ bonding weekends.
It might be true. A friend recently went out with an American and she told me how sweet the guy was, and when I asked her what she meant by “sweet”, she said he wooed her by talking sweet nothing in her ear. I, on the other hand, after adopting British (sorry, Scottish) man, almost couldn’t stop myself for saying “that’s rubbish” to her. I might have never been a girl who believes in extravaganza emotional show or probably have been brainwashed by the aloof and distant manner charm of Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy and Bridget Jones’s Mark Darcy.
The New York Times, in attempt to understand British charm finally cited that deep down, English men — for all their suavity and charm — really don’t like women. ”There’s a nervousness about being with women,” said Cindy Blake, an American novelist living in London who has had two English husbands. ”There’s a feeling men have that women are going to ruin their fun and their lives and chain them indoors, and make them do things they don’t want to do, and not let them do things they do want to do. The idea of being alone with a woman is too scary because then they might have to deal — or to talk about themselves,” she continued.
Leah McLaren, a Canadian who was posted in London, was so fed up with British men she wrote on her column about British men that set off a small international incident:
- Many went to boarding school at an early age, thus forfeiting essential affection from their mothers, leaving them all but incapable of intimacy with women.
- Many drink too much, leaving them all but incapable of intimacy with women.
- They are repressed homosexuals.
- They simply don’t like women.
The New york Times also quoted actress Heather Graham, who accused British men of spending too much time in the pub. Well it might be true, because The Punchbowl Pub was at the root of a lot of Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s rows. Madonna was furious about the amount of time Guy would spend there with his London mates. She hated him eating pies and chips there instead of coming home to her micro-biotic diet of steamed fish and pulses (I could understand her first reason, but expecting him to eat steamed fish everyday? Come on).
But if you are still longing for Mr. Darcy, the website eHow.com gives a guide (although very vague) on what you should do, although it seems like the guide is intended for American girls who think London is an exotic place:
- Love the good manners and polite behavior of British gentlemen. Don’t assume they want you to act completely the same way. British men are used to very uptight British women and love the wildness of American girls.
- Expect to be called “duckie,” “sweetie,” “dear” and other nicknames that might be offensive to you if an American man called you these same names. These are normal and accepted signs of affection from a British date.
- Look forward to seeing the wild side of your British date once you visit his apartment to “see his etchings.” British men are reserved in public but love affection and romance in private.
- Appreciate the fact that British men are loyal. They do enjoy flirting and looking at other women, but even if they stray, it’s not because they don’t care for you. British men want relationships to last, especially with American women, whom they feel are sexy and more fun to be with than British women.
And here’s I have found so far which might be helpful for you:
- British people have different sense of humour which might mystify other nations, but the men are very into toilet and dirty jokes. I guess because the whole nation is so repressed, the only outlet is only through jokes. You don’t need to pretend that you understand that because believe me, you won’t.
- Even though he likes you or has become your soul mate for years, expect him to stand at arm’s length, literally, away from you, hardly touch you, in social gatherings. It’s his way to respect your personal space. And his.
- Understand that even though they won’t get emotional over anything, they will cry over football match. Don’t make joke about that, because they won’t see the funny side of it. Football is more important than life and death.
- I can’t help with Ms. McLaren’s claim that many are repressed homosexuals (is it because so many men wearing pink shirt in London?). All I can say is I have seen mr. M with his ‘boyfriends’ and despite the amount of time they spend together doing playstation/Xbox/Wii competition, playing cards, golfing and going away for weekend, it looks harmless. They need to get together to drink and talk bollocks, just like us girls need our girlie time to talk about things that boys won’t understand.
Maybe AA* should realises that dating a British man requires a different tactic: if she can laugh at his joke, appreciate his Yorkshire pudding, go dutch, be ok for receiving text messages asking for a snog, she’ll be fine. I will get back to you when she’s successful!