Friday, January 17, 2020

Two nations divided by a common language

There are many anomalies between the British and Americans - chief of which is our supposedly shared language. The obvious ones include Americans' inability to use the letter "U" in common words (colour, valour etc), putting a "Z" where a Brit would use an "S" (notarized for example). As an aside a "Z" is pronounced Zed, not Zee, the famous rapper is definitely Jay-Zed!!

But whole words or phrases can have completely different meanings as well, telling a British girl that you like her pants is liable to see you getting slapped as, to her, pants are underwear. What an American knows as pants we know as trousers (or rubbish, describing an item as pants means it's rubbish, at least that's what the cool kids tell me).

Well, having an American girlfriend is a constant source of amusement (for me, not her - she thinks I'm an idiot!) when we're discussing things as we can often have no idea what the other is talking about. "The faucet is broken" followed by "what the fuck is a faucet?" or "I'm only going out for 2 drinks" being misinterpreted when any Brit would know that it actually means "I'm coming back at 3am and passing out on the bathroom floor with my head in the shower" being recent examples. Don't even get me started on Cockney rhyming slang - Mrs AC gets confused with it being the non rhyming part that is said and the obvious rhyming part remains unsaid (taxi becomes sherbet in CRS, the cockney part being sherbet dib-dab) so I'm trying to teach her a few phrases so she can sound like a Londoner when she's here albeit I may as well be trying to teach her Swahili. If you can translate "I went down the apples to use the dog and order myself a ruby" from CRS to real English in the comments below I'll buy a beer to whoever gets the best result.

But what we do share is our love of sports - Mrs AC likes sports as much as me and is more than happy to attend a live event, which we do quite regularly when I'm in NY - our favourite (note the "U") being hockey. I've been watching hockey for the past 20 years or so and bizarrely it came about through my love of beer - I used to live near the arena in London when they had a team and it was actually cheaper to go to hockey and drink rather than spend an evening in the pub. I've also been watching the Rangers play since I first came to New York in the early 2000s, albeit the tickets and beer are much more expensive than I'd ever paid back home.

I've always had a routine when I go to hockey, when I arrive I get a drink, watch the first period then I get a couple more during the 1st interval to last for the rest of the game to avoid the awful queues that generally plague MSG if the place is more than half full. And so I continued this routine when I started taking Mrs AC to games - she doesn't always want the 3rd drink but I've always made sure that it's found a good home. But at a recent game she said something that will live in my memory forever. I'd just arrived back at our seats carrying a tray of 4 drinks when she asks "Why do you always want me double fisted at the hockey?"

I've almost lost half a beer spat down the back of the guy in front's head. "What the fuck? I've done no such thing."

She continues "why don't you just get 1 drink and we'll get another during the next interval?" She then asks why I'm giggling like a schoolboy.

I tell her that what she said means something completely different to us Brits - and you definitely wouldn't want your girlfriend announcing it in public (if you're unaware of the British interpretation don't google it at work, or on your partner's phone unless you know how to clear their browser history).

I was actually told this recently in Vegas as well - a waitress brought me a beer then she insisted that she take the bottle in my hand even though it was 1/3 full and she told me "Sorry hun, we're not allowed to let you get double fisted here" which to my British mind is absolutely fine but if I'm thinking like an American I really don't like it at all.

Drinking challenge update:
9 Jan - 4 beers
10 Jan - 3 wines, 2 gins
11 Jan - 6 beers whilst watching the 49ers win. Go 9ers! (I also watched the 1st half of the Ravens/Titans game but it was 2.30am on Sunday, I'd only flown in from NY at 9am Saturday morning and I had an evening flight back to NY so really couldn't stay awake any longer)
12 Jan - 2 beers, 3 wines
13 Jan - 12 beers, 4 vodkas (took my heavy drinking client to see hockey and this was my hardest day of drinking although a walk in the park compared to our last event in Vegas, although flights are becoming a pain now as they've not changed their menu this month yet)
14 Jan to 15 Jan - None
16 Jan - 2 beers, 2 wines

Flying back to the UK for nearly 2 weeks today so after tonight's flight the only time I'm going to drink for the next couple of weeks will be watching the NFL championship games on Sunday night. Good luck to Ace's Titans and hopefully they'll be playing the 49ers in a couple of weeks in Miami. I keep hearing about these Superb Owls but for the life of me I can't figure out what it means


  1. Going down stairs to phone for a curry. My ex was American and this sort of stuff cracked me up too. Great post, thanks AC.

    1. Thanks Arniejokin. Well done my old china, although I think you have a geographical advantage over the septics!

      If our paths ever cross the Britneys are on me

  2. I trust you are not surprised to find that I have used a search engine more than a few times to try to figure out what you were writing.

    1. Haha. Keep your browser open as one post I’ve written up includes my lines from the school Latin play

  3. Jay-Zed, brilliant haha! I got one for you, Zed Zed Top.

    "...but I've always made sure that it's found a good home" lol

    Thanks on the Titans wishes and may the 49ers strike gold today also!

    1. Haha. I’d never even thought of zed zed top. Jay zed came about when I was telling Mrs AC about a mash up of JayZ & Linkin Park I was listening to and I jokingly called him Jay Zed. Mrs AC called me a moron when I said it was Jay Zed so I’ve stuck to my guns ever since.

      I almost wasted a beer last night - but it meant I broke my latest drinking challenge but I’ll post that in my next entry