Sunday, April 19, 2009

To cuss or not to cuss, that is the question

I like our American friends. They are not that different from our English friends in many ways. Most of them have a head, two arms and two legs. We do stuff together. Watch movies. Drink tea, talk, solve the Worlds problems. We even speak the same language (almost). But sometimes I find myself questioning their reasons for desiring our company. Do they like us, or do they just like hanging out with people from England?
When we had been here about a year, we met a couple who were really into Black Adder. He loved to quote favourite lines at us from the series. As Andy loved it too, hours of endless fun and amusement were derived from this common pursuit. But when the Black Adder scripts were exhausted, we realised we didn't really have that much in common, and the friendship slowly fizzled.
And there are always the people who claim to "just love England!" I have learned to follow this exclamation with the query "Do you know England well?" which often produces the response: "I had a layover in London one time" or "I had a weeks vacation in London" or My wife's family are from Manchester." I hate Heathrow and the thought of being stuck there overnight is terrifying. I love London, and I am happy to chat briefly about which particular sites they took in. I have never been to Manchester. I will probably never go to Manchester. I have no desire to go to Manchester. The person whose wife's family live in Manchester undoubtedly knows more about the city than I do, so that is a non-starter.
Then there are the people who "Just love your accent! Which part of Australia are you from?" I try to be polite, but really!
And then there are the people (you know who you are!) who want to learn about swear words. As if there weren't enough of them in this country. These people (mostly young men) are fascinated by the word beginning with w and rhyming with the guy in the suit who works for a financial institution. And the word oft used by a foppish Hugh Grant in the quintessential English Romantic Comedy. (when he isn't using the F word) And the English word used to describe a certain part of the male anatomy. One tries to be a fount of all knowledge, but I had a pretty staid upbringing. I don't know that many swear words ... really. Perhaps I should start making some up. Confuse the natives. Now that would be entertaining.


Kimberly said...

Well yeah. Cussing in a "foreign" language is freeing. I mean, I can say "Bollocks!!!" here and get an odd look or two, but the catharsis goes mostly unnoticed. But, if I say, "Balls!" then everyone gets their dander up.

Though I think, "bloody hell" here in the States isn't quite the catharsis that it would be in the UK, where it has more of a bit of fire to it.

Lynne said...

thanks for that Kimberly! I love it! It makes me laugh 'cause I know people who say the words but don't know what they mean, and they look a bit shocked when you tell them!

About Me

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I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.