Saturday, March 29, 2014

The pitfalls of transatlantic marriages

I've been laughing at two articles in the Telegraph inspired by the news of American Gwyneth Paltrow's separation from Briton Chris Martin.  With tongues firmly in cheek, two of that paper's contributors (both married to partners from across the pond) give their perspectives.

On being a British man married to an American woman:

Here are some of the pitfalls:

Obsessed with Mexican food

For some reason, Americans believe that the constant and dirt-cheap availability of Mexican food is a human right. Tell them there is nowhere to get an affordable burrito in, say, Merthyr Tydfil, and they will gape in shock, like you just sang the national anthem in Klingon.  The idea that their country has a lot of Mexican food because, er … they share a 800 mile border with Mexico, simply does not compute. Mexican food should be everywhere. Like oxygen, or laughter. If it is not, the universe is fundamentally misaligned. Chris, Gwyneth is gone. But at least you don’t have to put up with this ridiculous behaviour anymore.

The word “woo!”

To marry an American is to accept the word “woo!” into your life. The word is not in any dictionary, but is written deep inside an American’s heart and soul. To an American, if anything vaguely good is happening, one must emit a “woo”. Perhaps a baseball team has hit a baseball. Or a tray of cupcakes successfully made it from the kitchen to a living room table. Anything dimly positive can be greeted with a overly-loud, obnoxiously out-of-context: “WOOO! YEAH! Cupcakes! Awesome!”. It is insufferable.

Swapping hands with cutlery

For a nation supposedly all about efficiency, the American way of handling cutlery is enough to drive a decent person mad. They don’t hold their fork in their left hand and knife in their right, like any normal human. They cut their food that way, then put both utensils down, then switch their fork into their right hand, and only THEN begin scooping food into their mouths. And this happens dozens of times per meal. And they have the nerve to think the way WE eat is weird.

There's more at the link.

On being an American woman married to a British man:

Here are some of the pitfalls:

British men have the emotional intelligence of an infant

American women take their mental health very seriously. Marry one of us and British men will be forced to spend days – probably months, possibly years – of their lives engaged in a joint stream-of-consciousness assessment of how exactly their wife is feeling. Right now. They simply ain’t equipped to deal with this side of US women.  On the plus side, the British male will bring wry – sometimes nervous – humour to almost any interaction on the subject – which can occasionally help.  However, it is highly likely that he’ll have the emotional intelligence of a five-year-old.

Those two left feet

The British man: can’t dance/won’t dance. Not even at home; British self-consciousness extends to the bedroom.

Their diet

Cheese on toast; beans on toast; chips on toast: these are all legitimate meals to the British male. Vegetables? Yes, he loves them: on Sundays, at midday, over-boiled with some grey meat.

Again, more at the link.

What's the old saying about many a true word being spoken in jest?  Even though I'm of colonial origin, Miss D. heartily agreed with many of the comments about British men, particularly those concerning the British diet (although she concedes that I've learned to cook rather better than that in our four years of marriage).  She looks forward to further improvement!


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