So, today I had the opportunity to sit down with some real live Brits. I met them while at a meeting/tour with my LSE Government mentor (a rather eager-to-help third year German student named Hendrik).
After the meeting and an overly comprehensive tour of LSE’s campus (it’s very easy to navigate and the British seem to have an affinity towards large maps—every building and street corner has one—so a forty minute tour seemed superfluous) one of the British students suggested that we go grab drinks at the pub. Still jet lagged and in a fog from a small incident with Benadryl the previous day (I was having some serious allergy problems, so I decided, at 4 a.m., after a night of drinking, that I should pop 3 Benadryl. Let’s just say I woke up the next day sometime around 3 p.m., despite 4 phone alarms and a fire drill, in a barely lucid state) I figured that my concept of time was not exactly reliable and it was probably later than I thought. So I glanced down at my watch, it was, in fact, only 11:37 a.m., but I was in no position to pass up (British) friends (everyone get the Mean Girls reference? Good.). So at 11:37 IN THE MORNING I went to the CAMPUS pub for some drinks.
I think that the most effective way to relay the vast array of information conveyed to me by my new British mates is by providing a character breakdown. So, I would like to introduce you to:
Your quintessential British girl. Red hair, a little edgy yet somewhat refined and proper. Uses words like, cooky, posh, and my personal favourite (see what I did there?) vintage (I swear it sounds more astute with an accent) when describing one of our peer’s older model cell phones (I would love to see what you she would call my orange phone from back in the States SHOUT OUT BURNT ORANGE EN-V!). Loves American tele. Has been to Tucson, Arizona and thought it was (use British accent when reading) “the weirdest place on Earth.”
Best things I learned from Hannah
Important English fact: In England, in order for an area or town to obtain the title of a city, all it has to do is have a Cathedral, there is no population stipulation. Therefore, there are many places called cities that would be no more than small towns by US standards.
Important Life Knowledge: There is a show called Geordie Shore (http://www.mtv.co.uk/shows/geordie-shore), that takes place in Newcastle and it is the UK version of the Jersey Shore. Hannah did not seem particularly keen on it because she felt that the producers just tried to replicate the characters and storylines of Jersey Shore—much too contrived for her liking. Her descriptions of the type of people on the show seemed very similar to our definition of “guido.” I imagine the only thing worse than being a cast member on the Jersey Shore is being an attempted duplication of them (shudder).
Projected friend-type: She’s a fresher (freshman in British terminology) so slight discrepancy in maturity level, however, I did enjoy talking to her. The type of friend who you run into on campus and have an extended conversation about some arbitrary topic but thoroughly enjoy talking to, as opposed to the kind of person you maintain a conversation with for the sake of being polite.
Uhh, possibly Chris? Don’t exactly remember his name. He was from Liverpool and was the spitting image of Paul McCartney when he was young (see photo below), so let’s just call him Paul
More reserved. Didn’t really add to much to the conversation, however, his sheer presence seemed to imbue the scene with some serious British flair (perhaps it was the Beatles haircut). He did get rather enthused when the conversation turned to the topic of Jaffa Cakes. These are apparently (as described by Hannah) thin sponge cakes, with an orange jelly layer, and a chocolate coating. Despite not having much to say previous, Paul/Chris was, surprisingly, very insistent on the particular way to consume a Jaffa cake. He claims that you have to eat the chocolate first, then the orange jelly layer, and lastly the sponge cake. Hannah disagreed. I might have to see about this one for myself. Oh, in case you don’t exactly understand this description of what this “cake” looks like (because I surely did not), I provided a picture:
Best thing I learned from Chris/Paul
Important Hair/Style Tip: Looking like Paul McCartney no longer guarantees you swooning girls—even in London.
Projected friend-type: The sort of “friend” that you acknowledge when passing on campus with a wave or head nod. That is of course, unless I’m carrying some Jaffa cakes.
Maximillian a.k.a. Max
I’m not going to disclose his last name, but his full name was incredibly “posh” (as stated by Hannah) even for British standards.
Unkempt hair. When Hannah asked if his hair was naturally like that or did he do something to it, his response was, “A couple years ago I decided not to shower for two months and it began self-washing” (Hmm, not exactly answering the question there Maximillian). Now, normally, if someone were to say this, I would be more than slightly put off (I’m guessing you might be right now). However, there was something rather intriguing about Max.
He was dressed in white-striped grey pants (somewhat tight), a denim long sleeve button-up shirt that seemed as if he threw it on mere seconds before walking into the room, the collar was still completely tucked underneath the shirt and he made no effort to adjust it, and brown leather shoes that I’m fairly certain he swiped from his aristocratic grandfather.
Looks like the “slacker” type. Feverishly scribbles information (such as meeting times and places) on his hand, which appears to have served as his notepad for the past few years.
But then he started talking…
He was full of recondite information. Every sentence began with, “I read that…” (but not in the pretentious manner). His erudition was downright astounding (especially concerning America).
Example fact that I learned from Max: Kentucky has the most smokers than any other American state, 23% of the population smokes.
Yeah, he even retains statistical data.
Besides from just being a portable New York Times database, he offered some unique perspectives and interesting ideas of his own.
He was an enigma. Straight-forward yet a complete mystery.
I liked him. A lot.
Projected friend-type: I could see us getting along very well. A good friend to do somewhat offbeat things with. I think that some people may be a little put off by Max because there is something unsettling about him. But I like him, he’s a character. And this is my story.