As you know, I loooove cultural differences and clichés. I just love to sit with a bunch of foreigners and hear them moan and nag about the French. I love being in a country and hear what people’s opinion about the French is. The worse the cliché is, the better it is and the happier I get. I have already posted a few of the comments I heard during my various trips, but here are some more specific things I heard while hanging out with Brits. Through my job, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of British people and for some some strange reason, they seem to ask a lot of questions about aspects of French culture I had never really thought were either interesting or relevant.
When you ask a French person what they know about England, they will tell you about the nasty food, the pale looking red-haired people, the rain, the Queen, hooligans and the fact that we call them Roast Beefs, although nobody really knows why. But apart from tha, not much else.
One cliché the English have about the French is that we are supposedly more refined than other Europeans… This is quite funny to hear, because when you know French people, you realize there must have been a huge misunderstanding somewhere or else, French marketing must function very well somehow. Because, Brits are, according to me, extremely refined… in their questions at least. Let me explain…
Let’s have a look at some of the recent questions I’ve heard from Brits: Why do French people make hard crust on their baguettes when they eventually dip and therefore soften the bread in their coffee? I had honestly never seen it that way, and actually thought they had a point. But I just wonder why would anyone even come up with such a question.
Another example is: why are coffee cups so small and croissants so large? Why not readjust the size of both in order to facilitate the dipping of the croissant into the cup? Aren’t French people annoyed at the coffee entirely disappearing in the croissant or on the café table? I honestly don’t know. I swear I had never thought about that.
Neither had I thought of why we still do our grocery shopping at the butcher’s, the baker’s etc…, i.e so many different stores when everything could easily be gathered in one place? Seriously, I don’t know. There are supermarkets all over the place here, and more and more people use them, but still, a few ingredients just have to be purchased in special stores. That’s just the way it is.
French and British people used to be enemies. We were basically at war for centuries (until a former French prime-minister, Edith Cresson, called the English male-population: faggots (not as in cigarettes)… a terrible insult ouch! But at the same time the Brits represent the largest foreign population on French soil. They roam most villages in Normandy and Dordogne, live with us all year round and still get so happy when they get together and moan about the French who can’t drive, have no sense of humour, never work, smell bad, constantly cheat on their wives and drink like there’s no tomorrow. Whether they live in the UK, France or anywhere else, Brits have this really clear point of view about the French. And when they get together and fire one cliché after the other, I just sit there and enjoy. And sometimes,
when I’ve drunk like there’s no tomorrow, I wonder why French people never talk about the Brits? Does that say something about the French or about the English?
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