Why do you think people find stereotypes so funny? Because they are based on truth – a fact that’s sad but true. Whilst you might think that the English’s international reputation is solely based on the idea that we are tea-drinking conservative royalists, we’re increasingly known for our less than savoury behaviour overseas. We Scriptoeris ladies are most certainly women of the world, defining the decade by putting our best foot forward, so who better to lead the way in intercontinental relations by representing the best of British? With our handy tips on beating stereotypes, brit blunder blushes will be a thing of the past – though I can’t guarantee you won’t end up with our stereotypical tomato tinged ‘tan’.
The English as tourists are sometimes seen as rather set in our ways. The hundreds of competing foreign bars and restaurants offering cups of Tetley tea, fry ups and a place to watch our favourite soaps are testament to the fact that ‘Englishness’ sells, even on the far flung shores of god knows where. Headlines speak of the ‘sunbed’ race as if it were World War Two (ironic when we consider the second worst offenders are usually the Germans!). Who are these fry-up eating lounge lizards who may as well be in a sunny Margate?! While I concede being a beach bum is a relaxing way to spend a holiday, and yes the sausages are never the same abroad, I contend that the experiences you might be missing out on might make your holiday. Try to live like a local! If the locals are eating at that one street food stall at the market, don’t shrink back and go for the Walker’s crisps instead, GET IN THE QUEUE and ask what offerings they recommend. Visiting that historical sight might have you asking yourself why you didn’t peel yourself off your lounger before!
Another way to highlight perpetual Englishness is to ignorantly assume that everyone speaks English. How many Brits bowl up to the bar and excitingly squeal their arm-length ‘first drink of the holiday’ bar order to a bemused waiter IN ENGLISH? Too many! How would you feel if a Japanese tourist to your country did the same to you? Probably as confused as the waiter you just spoke to! A little language goes a long way. If you’ve got a favourite tipple, why not learn to ask for it like a local? If you’re a linguaphobe (take note Oxford English) then even just ‘Hello’, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank You’ could up your status from ‘stupid tourist’ to ‘sweet girl who tries her best’ quicker than you could say ‘Privet’.
The growing ‘lager lout’ reputation of British tourists is, I hope, a case of a few tainting the many. The antics of Brits in clubbing hot spots like Malia may have us squirming when we see them on the tabloid front pages, but it’s a reality locals have to live every day. We all like to let our hair down and sometimes we may indulge in one too many cocktails, but whilst you’re toddling home, heels in hand, spare a thought for the locals. You may think that you’re 3am rendition of Frozen’s ‘Let it Go’ is worthy of an Oscar but chances are it’s more shower-worthy than A-List, and the people angrily shaking their fists at you from the balconies above definitely have a right to do so. It’s not just about respecting other people, and yourself, but also the environment around you – trust me, the morning clean-up operation in Magaluf is GRIM. You wouldn’t make a spectacle of yourself at home, so why would you do so abroad?
Finally, the inquiries of locals about Englishness may seem bizarre and believe me when I say the more remote you go, the funnier the stereotypes you may encounter. ‘Ah you’re from London! You must know my friend Akhmed – he lives in Glasgow!’. ‘It’s 5 o’clock, why aren’t you drinking your afternoon tea? Let me put the kettle on!’. ‘What’s the Queen really like? I bet the parties at her house are really fancy, you should show me pictures from when you went!’. ‘You have nice teeth for an English person’. You catch my drift! Humour them – they are curious about you and your country, to which they may have never been and may never have the opportunity to go.
So my Scriptoeris lovelies, go forth – be cultured, be bold and be fabulous! Be Brits, but be unique – show them what our country is really all about!