How to be politically and socially incorrect in the UK (all tested by me!)
February 16, 2017
Have you ever striven to be highly unpopular, naughty and against the tide?
Here are a few suggestions of how to be socially and politically incorrect in the UK. All these scenarios have been personally tested (mostly naively and unintentionally) by the writer.
1) Tell off (loudly) your children in public!
I'm not a very patient mum and God blessed and challenged me with two particularly lively and naughty strong willed boys. I happen to tell them off regularly, especially in shops, in the street, in parks and playgrounds. And I also have a quite high pitched voice...
Let's say that my performances as a shouting Italian mum are never very appreciated nor admired. I always get the disdained look from other mums, who stare at me disapprovingly. Not to mention when I accompany the telling off with a smack on the kids' bottom. I always think they might call the social services.
Here in the UK mums tend to speak softly to their off-springs and the usual reproach is: "no, thank you". I tried a few times to blend in and use this soft and polite approach, but it really doesn't work for me! My kids have to know I'm pissed off! When, very rarely, I hear other moms raising their voices like me, I don't even have to think twice about their accent: I know straightaway that they are either Italian, Spanish, Portuguese or Eastern European...
2) Skip the queues or stay on the wrong side of escalators!
So, the British are very precise and organised, things are done in a certain way and queues are very orderly and respected . It might happen that you don't pay too much attention as of where the queue originates or that you don't realize at all that you have to queue at the bus stop to get on a bus.... (I found it very peculiar, but it does make sense. In Italy the bus stops are just a mass of people, in a shapeless group. When the bus arrives, it's a fight to get in!). Well, you should pay attention because the other customers/ passengers don't really like you to get in front of them.
Not to mention standing on the wrong side of an escalator... if you don't want to walk up the steps, stay on the right, never on the left! You are blocking the passage for those who are climbing up. You will really annoy them big time!!
3) Don't drink alcohol!
I was born genetically wrong, probably, but I don't enjoy drinking wine and the likes. I simply don't like alcohol, except from the occasional summer Pimms, which is my only alcoholic intake.
I'm a social calamity in the U.K. People don't understand me, but especially they don't trust me. Honestly! They think that if you don't drink you won't relax and let yourself go, you are not fun, you are not sociable, you are a faulty Italian!
Drinking is the most social thing to do over here, people open up after a few pints and they start to chill out and speak brazenly. Alcohol brings people together. And if you always order cranberry juice or cloudy lemonade, there's definitely something wrong with you, or something you want to hide. But I'm always talking anyway! I couldn't imagine what I could turn into if I drank hard!! Unstoppable blabbing!!!
4) Use your phone in quiet zone carriages!
There are quiet carriages in trains and it's not always easy to realise that you are in one of them (I didn't even knew they existed, to be honest). In these cars you have to keep the volume down if you are listening to the music with headphones and you CANNOT speak on the phone.
I witnessed a few ridiculous episodes, where people were talking on the mobile phone, not particularly loudly, you could hardly hear them, actually. But there is always someone ready to tell the culprit off, with very comical outcomes. Some people are just really frustrated: I saw people jumping ahead a few rows of seats just to shout to somebody that was quietly disrespecting the quiet sign....
5) Send you children to bed after 6:30 pm!
Children have to go to bed early in the UK, the earlier the better. I've heard of kids being sent to sleep at 5:30/6:00 in the evening!!! The average is probably 06:30/07:00. Obviously I horrify people when I tell them that my boys don't go to bed till 8:30 pm and that there is no fixed bedtime at weekends, I am happy to have them around me as much as they like, if there's no school the following day.
I have started to lie about it lately, though. it's not my style, but I was tired of explaining my reasons (I work full time and pick up my boys from school after 5 pm. If I send them to bed early, when can we spend some time together??) and being constantly misunderstood and judged.
Also, if you do your maths, think about the consequences: how many hours can a child sleep?? If he's in bed at 6, what time do you think he will be up in the morning?! At least my system grants me very very decent sleeps in on Saturdays and Sundays!