Saturday, March 13, 2021

Two Nations Divided Part 2

   I have resisted for a while weighing into the subject de jour (oh for the good old days when "H and M" was just a Swedish fashion chain) but since it in some way concerns transatlantic differences it's not entirely irrelevant. Full disclosure - I am with the majority of older British people on this, if recent polls are correct, so, having exhausted throwing cushions at the television with steam coming out of my ears,  I was a little reluctant to discuss it with my American friends, opening my words with, "Don't get me wrong, I love your country, I love Americans but...." Imagine my surprise when they were sympathetic,  the words, "dirty", "linen" and "public" featuring prominently. But then they are eminently sensible people.

Having said that, Americans and Brits do often misunderstand each other. There are differences in the language and there are differences in culture, attitudes, manners, what's acceptable and a lot of other things. There are whole books on the subject. Self-promotion for example, is a vice in Britain, a virtue in America ("Not with everyone!" I hear hubby call out. All right, with a lot of people then.)

Now when I came to America there were times when I misunderstood what hubby and his family were saying to me. I misunderstood when I threw a drinks party and all the guests inexplicably turned up with  mountains of food,  "What - isn't what I'm giving you good enough?"  I misunderstood American wedding etiquette and found myself the only one wearing a hat and feeling stupid, "Why didn't anyone tell me!"  I misunderstood when hubby described a dinner I prepared as "quite good." I was devastated. "But it was meant as a compliment!" he said. Because "quite good" has a slightly different meaning here.

I immediately called Oprah but she wasn't interested in an interview. Oh well, I will just have to accept my lot and blend in politely. 

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