Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Englishness - Pub Rules

I’m now up to page 267 (‘Watching the English’ by Kate Fox). In the last 17 pages there has been a lot that I’ve identified with e.g. shopping and some stuff I haven’t identified with e.g. pet rules or ‘petiqiette’…..

The most interesting part of all has been the part on Pub Rules. I always had the sneaking suspicion that as a women (who is also part of a couple) my turn at buying a round in England was always hastily and embarrassedly fobbed off. To begin with I thought maybe it was because I was not drinking as much as them, but then realised I was drinking as much, maybe even more. After a while I just gave my money to the other half and told him to get the round in. Never any squabbles there, but of course now he feels he’s been cheated – every round in three instead of four…..even though I pointed out it was my money which really was his round in four - he’s an accountant so there’s no telling him really.

I was never a drinker in Australia (always the designated driver) so can’t tell you if there is any aversion to us girlies buying a round. Though I do always remember that the guys bought rounds just like England, but the added wild card was who ever had to go for a pee first bought jugs of beer for everyone. It used to get pretty funny with them all holding it and waiting for the weakest one to try and sneak off – they’d lie in wait and as soon as who ever the poor hapless one was they would pour into the loo and all have their FFP (first fatal piss).

How did I go from talking about round buying to guys’ lavatory antics??

Sunday, May 22, 2005


I’m currently reading a fascinating book called ‘Watching the English’ by Kate Fox. It alludes to the subtle English rules of interaction, humour and irony as well as, I’m sure, many other interesting things………….I’m only up to page 250 and there’s a lot more to go.

What prompted me to make this entry was how English my social interactions are, how I observe these unspoken laws with regards to conversation, behaviour and humour…………….and how I am not actually ‘English’.

I’ve always been a bit….out of place so to speak when I interact with other nationalities outside Australia, my home. Living as an expatriate, first in the UK and now in the Middle East, I just don’t fit the Aussie ‘type’.

I am useless in social situations and will sit in an unobtrusive corner for an entire evening rather than try and interact with another human being who I don’t know. Even the awkward looking person in the other corner is too scary a proposition to approach. Australians are known for being friendly, sociable, boisterous and always socially adapt at getting to know everyone – who we will, inevitably, end up calling mate. The surprise when people find out my nationality is usually audible – and that’s before they even find out that I don’t drink beer, hate the sun and am not into sports! Those revelations usually lead to a “are you sure you’re Australian” in a joking but really I’m serious sort of tone.

Once people get to know me I’m the typical Aussie………minus the beer, sun and sports - hey sun and sports as some sort of torture device devised by our English forbearers to punish us in the long run for being criminals but getting to live in a vast, sunny country. Beer smells and tastes like puke…come on, you know it’s true why not admit it.

Let’s just say it’s got me thinking………and when I do go to Oz this year I’ll be people watching like you won’t believe. However I’m not sure now if I want to find out the Aussie myth is real or not – I kind of like being unexpected …….or as an extremely good friend once said “you’re just on a different radio station to the rest of us”