Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cultural Differences: Forwardness

Now that it has been a year here I feel like I understand some of the deeper cultural influences that influence the culture here in the U.K. as opposed to what I'm used to in the U.S.
The first one is the idea of "pushing boundaries" vs "knowing one's place". The American culture really does always try to see how to get more. There is a good side to that: I have the ability to talk to strangers which people still seem mystified about here. However the British culture also has it's benefits. Not everyone gets to be rich; so there is a lot more of the culture exploring enjoying your station in life. This means, well, enjoying life instead of over-working yourself.
When I try to explain the concept that is taught in the U.S. that you can be whatever you want to be as long as you work hard enough, it is seen as naive here. At the same time the fact that I find it impossible to respect someone more just because they have "sir" in their name (the only discernible benefit they really get is free upgrades on British Airlines)
Alcohol and dating go hand in hand here. I've heard the joke that if it wasn't for alcohol then the population would plummet in the U.K. The problem is that it is not really a joke. There is a different idea about drunk sex here. In the U.S. it seems like the prevailing idea is that if the person is drunk they have lost their ability to make an informed choice so it's rape. Here, you made the choice to get that drunk, and it was usually so you had enough courage to talk to the opposite sex anyway so if you end up in bed it is most likely what you wanted.

No comments: