Sunday, April 24

US vs UK

Apart from time spent with people from both cultures, I'm gaining insight into Brits and Americans from a couple written documents I'm reading now.

The more straight-forward is Watching the English, a best-selling breakdown of the behaviour of the English, by English anthropologist Kate Fox. The English are at their most unguarded when in bed, she writes, but it seems they're most awkward when trying to get there.
Even when we are on a 'date', the English do not like to use this term; English males are particuarly squeamish about the idea of 'dating'—it makes the whole thing too embarrassingly open and official. And too earnest. We don't like being forced to take the whole courtship process too seriously: the very word 'date' seems to contravene the spirit of English humour rules.

Now compare novelist Ben Marcus's fictional Ohio in Notable American Women, where the sexes are enbroiled in a war over the use of language itself.
During the period this book was written, [the author] wept six times, one of which was used to secure sex as a sympathetic response to perceived sadness, a sex that produced in the author a diamond-cutter tumescence to his erection, leading him to conclude that weeping and arousal were intimately related, so that he often tried to weep before initiating intercourse, as foreplay; weeping became his most reliable seductive tool, at least for his own desire (because during sex he had first to seduce himself, an elusive and often unseduceable figure), though he was frequently merely onlone to deploy his diamond-cutter, with two-person intercourse itself an imagined option at best, which he then concluded to be the actual best option, with real intercourse coming to seem contrived and imagined, too theatrical and overproduced, less vivid than the kind he conjured for himself in his mind, thus less realistic.

If that doesn't make the cultural differences clear, I don't know what would.


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