Saturday, June 5, 2010


I think I need to start reconsidering my view of stereotypes, or rather, maybe, my steroetyoped view of various peoples.

Over the last 3 years (living here in DE) I've come to view the Germans as argumentative and...pernickety...even anal about some things (snipping edges of lawns with tiny scissors (trust me, I've seen it), bickering with checkout ladies about being overcharged 5 cents for a head of cauliflower, not crossing the road on a red man despite there being not a car to be seen for kilometres - you get the picture?) and I've always held the English up as being polite to the nth degree, nice to your face but will quite probably bitch about you later, certainly wouldn't argue the toss on ANYTHING.

However, as I said, I think I need to reconsider.

Maybe I'm basing my view of the English on me, not a bad starting point, but as a statistical measure, a little, shall we say, lacking, on the sample size?
I remember, many, many lifetimes ago, studying stats (as we liked to call it then) for A level maths and learning that not only can you prove ANYTHING with statistics, but also that, the bigger the sample size the better.

Anyway, an Enlgishwoman has come to my notice, who is almost German in her willingness to step up to the mark and defend her rights. I'm fairly sure that she is English through and through but her determination in the defence of what is or should be rightfully hers is's the evidence;

- shown to her hotel room and discovered a huge tree obscuring the 'view' which should have been of the lake and the forest, returned immediately to reception and told them that it wasn't what they'd been promised - relocated to another room.

- bought sandwiches on a long public transport trip, they weren't past their sell by date but weren't fresh, a little crispy maybe and not nice to eat - complained, of course.

- in a hotel bedroom, discovered at daybreak that the curtains were more decorative than functional - complained, the hotel came up later that day and fitted blackout style curtains.

These 3 examples are, I admit a very small sample size, however they all go completely against how I would personally act.

I hate confrontation and go out of my way to avoid arguments, I'd kind of thought that was the English way - maybe it's not...maybe I'm recessive, a throwback...sorry - the rest of the family are watching a Darwin inspired science TV programme at the moment - I think it's seeping through...

So, I think I have to reconsider my whole theory of country stereotypes - maybe all French people don't cook everything with garlic and wear breton striped tops and cycle gaily around Paree, maybe all Germans don't wear lederhosen (leathershorts 'n bib type thingies) swig beer from 2 pint glasses and baggsy all the sunloungers at the pool with their towels, maybe all the Italians aren't mommys' boys who ride vespas and have slicked back hair, maybe the English aren't as polite and restrained as I'd thought...maybe we're becoming a little bit more cosmopolitan a bit more European - better not let the Conservatives know!

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