First Date with a Brit: Love Actually isn’t All Around

Happy almost Fourth of July, Stucu readers! I figured since we’re hours away from the holiday and I’m writing to you from the cradle of the American Revolution, what better way to celebrate our independence from a tyrannical, oppressive government than to write a post about my independence from a…well not tyrannical, or oppressive date. But a bad one. Yeah, pretty much just bad.

Fact: I am a huge Anglophile. Huge. D and I spent a semester in London in college, and four months was all it took to convert us to PMQ watching, Strongbow drinking, chocolate digestive eating fanatics.

It was the time of our lives. I still daydream about our favorite neighborhood pub, the Dev, and our favorite place for a spot of tea, the Muffin Man. I miss the high streets and the tube and the night bus and the free museums and the history and the parks and even the shitty weather and perhaps most of all, the lovely people with their lovely accents.

So after reading that little rant, you can probably guess my reaction when a real live British dude messaged me on okc last fall.

kristen wiig excited

I thought, this is it. We’ll fall in love, he’ll work in government and make an impassioned speech simultaneously defending my honor against Billy Bob Thornton and standing up for his country, we’ll kiss at a children’s Christmas concert and at our wedding, our friends will surprise us with a beautiful rendition of “All You Need is Love” complete with musicians hiding in the pews.

If you suspect that I just described multiple plot lines from the cinematic masterpiece known as Love Actually, you would be correct.

So anyway, back to this Brit, N. I’ll be totally up front here and admit that if he hadn’t been British, I wouldn’t have gone out with him. There was nothing wrong with him, per se, his profile was just….dull. And he did seem to have that typical British boy look that we’d encountered while abroad: pale, pasty, slightly effeminate. What some people might call “milk toast” (and by some people I mean my mother). To look at him you’d assume he owned a lot of pink shirts and ties and listened to Abba with no sense of shame or irony, and from my experience that assessment would probably be correct. But… British. So there was NO WAY, short of him showing signs of being the next Hannibal Lecter, that I was going to turn down a date with him. If you don’t understand my shameless accent sluttiness, please refer to this comprehensive scientific graph that I found on the interwebs. See, I’m not the only one:

british accent

So I said yes to a date. And what transpired next was totally alarming. He called me. Not to make plans, because we’d already done that over text, but to chat. On the phone. Before we’d met. I’m aware that many women find this behavior desirable, even necessary. But the level of sheer awkwardness involved in something like this cannot be understated. Neither party knows what to say. Neither has heard the other’s voice before. Neither knows when to talk, when to listen, and the entire thing is a clusterfuck of “Oh sorry, what? No you go ahead. No really”s. Gah. Again, the only reason I even picked up instead of letting his call roll to voicemail and texting later claiming I’d been busy was to hear that voice and picture Mark Darcy on the other end of the line. Mmmmmm.

So anyway, the conversation was painfully awkward, but I did get a preview of his accent. N had moved to the states as a young adult so it was a bitttt muddled, but still definitely there.

Our date kept getting pushed back, though, first because I was sick (ahem, I actually was unlike some people) and then because of Hurricane Sandy. I couldn’t believe all the forces that were trying to keep me apart from my English destiny! Finally, on ELECTION NIGHT, the only night we were both available, I met N at a Mexican restaurant. Over margaritas and guac, I asked N about his childhood in the UK, moving to the states, college, his current job, and a bevy of other topics. Here’s a little sampling of what transpired:

S: “So do you still miss England a lot?”

N: “Sometimes.”

S: “What do you miss most?”

N: “Being able to watch football all the time.”

S: “Oh, what’s your team? I tried to read that Nick Hornby book Fever Pitch about Arsenal fans because I love his other books, but I had no idea he was talking about since I’m clueless about British football. Haha.” (Time out, you guys. Apparently Colin Firth stars in the British version of this movie which I’ve never seen. Mark my words, this will be happening on Netflix Instant ASAP. Time in.)


N: “I like Arsenal.”

S: “Cool!”

Silence. N stares. S glugs her margarita. Waitress refills our water glasses. S pretends to be super engrossed in election returns on TV behind N.

S: So…what did you think of the London Olympics?

N: They were good. My parents went actually.

S: Awesome! Which events?

N: I don’t remember.

S: When was the last time you went back?

N: About a year ago.

S: Do you have to go back periodically? Are you on a work visa or something?

N: I actually have dual citizenship.

At this point I SHOUTED: DUAL CITIZENSHIP?!?!?! just to bring some goddamn excitement into the conversation, startling both N and the couple sitting next to us. The conversation went on exactly like this for an hour plus.

Guys. This was quite possibly the most excruciatingly boring date I’d ever been on. This f-cking Brit was apparently so jazzed to meet me that he had to call me and chat with me OVER THE PHONE beforehand, and then in person proceeded to give one word answers to everything I asked and offer no conversation topics in return. It was horrribbbble. So please know out of sheer boredom I resorted to recreating the scene in Love Actually where Colin Frizzle comes to America and hot girls fawn all over him. Charmed by his accent, they make him senselessly repeat words just to giggle at how he pronounces them. Yes, I reenacted this exchange with my date (minus the group sex at the end):

I actually  physically pointed to his beer and said ‘What’s this?’ And he actually said, ‘bottle’ (adorably, damn it). Am I proud of this airheaded behavior? Not particularly, no. But frankly N shouldn’t be proud of his sub par social skills, either.

Finally, exhausted from basically performing a Vaudeville act to keep the date going while my date lazily sipped his Corona, and wanting to get home to watch the election results, I told him that I was tired and must be going. We got our coats and walked outside, where N tried to kiss me on a crowded street corner and I awkwardly rolled his advance into a hug. ‘Thanks again, nice meeting you!’ I shouted and basically ran down the street. There is no way I am hearing from him again, I thought, and I’m glad. That was excruciating. Not even the promise of a glamorous bicontinental lifestyle could make me go through that again.

Of course, I’d forgotten my Dating Law of Inverses, which states: whenever I find a date unbearably awkward and boring, pretty much without fail the dude thinks otherwise. Conversely, whenever I have a great time and there’s tons of flirting, interesting conversation and witty banter, my date essentially runs in the opposite direction. Your honor(s), I’d like to introduce Exhibit A as evidence:

nick the brit

Of course he enjoyed our date. Of COURSE. He essentially got a free viewing of my one woman show, The Many Personalities of S: Filling Awkward Silences by Any Means Necessary. He did nothing, and I did all the work. If he hadn’t picked up the tab, I would have actually considered sending him a bill.

Needless to say I politely declined a second date, as I already have a full time job and don’t need a part time gig coming up with conversation starters for Milk Toast McGee. So that was my one (and so far, only) date with a (sort of) foreigner. And as much as I still adore the UK, I’ll think twice before trying to date a British dude again. Unless, of course, one of these gentlemen comes a-calling:

henry cavill britishcolin firth darcyPrince-Harry_4

Date rating: 4.5/10. I got to listen to the accent and enjoy a few margs, which upped his score from a literal goose egg, but dear God was N boring.

I know. That was a lot of British talk. Let’s cleanse our palates, shall we, my fellow patriots?

And last but not least:

Happy Birthday, ‘Murica.