English reserve?

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by frenchie, Jul 19, 2010.

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  1. So what is this English reserve? Does it still exist?

    I ask this as my missus again quoted it last night during a social situation. Now her quoting of it is more prevalent when she returns from New York but it's not wholly confined to this period.

    She being Johnny foreigner I do wonder if she has a point from time to time.

    Now just because all and sundry want to spill their life story to you whilst smiling inanely saying 'have a nice day' does not make people outgoing, this being one of her major points in the difference between NY and London. Personally I will happily give a nod to some stranger in passing on the street, I am polite and courteous during exchanges but I will not go out my way to make small talk with strangers. If I don't want to speak to you I will not pretend I do and I certainly don't want to spend half my time talking to fcuk nuts which is what would be happening.

    So English reserve, is this foreigners type casting the English due to themselves being inferior creatures that can only exist in technicolour, back slapping, shouty, prozac fuelled environment?

    Or are we English really socially inept as a nation, incapable of passing conversation to brighten each and everyone’s day?
  2. Ravers

    Ravers LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I have a copy of a small book that was issued to GIs with instructions about how to survive while based in England.

    One of the interesting chapters deals with why Brits don't talk to each other on trains, it explains that the Country is an island and as a result, people have less space, the English reserve is basically just respecting each other's personal space.

    Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain, 1942: Reproduced from the Original Typescript, War Department, Washington, DC Instructions for Servicemen: Amazon.co.uk: Bodleian Library: Books

    How the GIs got to grips with Britain - Telegraph
  3. Marmalade!

    Er, sorry I thought the thread title was English preserve.

    Coat? no I didn't bring one with me but I'll take that nice sheepskin jacket if you don't mind?
  4. Sorry I thought you meant

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  5. MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm bottle of sherry anyone
  6. English reserve as not seen on MSRs crowing and self congratulatory MSc thread :)
  7. English reserve, or more aptly British reserve (as I feel we Taffs, and the Jocks share the trait) is more confined to the male of the species. Women will talk, and talk for hours with anybody they meet. Whereas we males do not feel the need to express every fucking thought or emotion we have. We have more self restraint and more importantly, we are more self assured and confident in ourselves. We do not need to try and justify ourselves or gain acceptance from strangers.

    Bloody foreigners, bunch of big girls the lot of them.
  8. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Well said that man!!
  9. Quite agree, after all, once you've discussed what car you drive and what route you took getting to whereever you are, what more is there to say?

    Any further conversation is just wasting good drinking time :grin: