Pi Attitude Zone: Conformity & Stability

So British People Think They’re Normal?

C’est pas normal, ça”. It means “That’s not normal”, and always in a pejorative sense. The French say it all the time. It’s a measure of the cultural and attitudinal divide between Britain and its closest continental neighbor that there is simply no equivalent colloquial phrase in English.

The nearest equivalent is perhaps the word “weird”. When a British person says “That’s weird!”, however, it’s often with a barely-hidden undertone of sneaking admiration. Ever since the UK unleashed Monty Python on an unsuspecting world, Britons have sniggered at ‘normality’ as something rather, well... sad. In Britain, it seems, “weird is good”.

Could it be that the general lack of enthusiasm for ‘normality’ in Britain signals a deeper truth about national eccentricity?  Consider the UK’s obsession with mastering useless information, evidenced by the epidemic of pub quizzes on Tuesday nights, with abstruse questions about World War Two, TV soap-opera plots, ancient football matches and long-extinct vaudeville acts. In London, Millennium Domes and “national monument” Ferris wheels have risen where other cities would plan integrated urban developments. Scavenging at ‘boot fairs’ constitutes a Sunday outing all over the UK.  (The boot fair is a  true British institution:  a vast open-air sale of people’s discarded bric-a-brac).

Snooker (okay, ‘pool’ to you Americans) and gardening are national primetime spectator sports on British TV. Cocktail party conversations can be dominated for twenty minutes by earnest and fiercely parochial discussion of the best route by car between Datchet and Salisbury; (“Ah, but if you go that way, old chap, you’ll get caught in the tailback from that dodgy traffic light just past the Red Lion crossroads...”).

And of course Europe is routinely referred to in England as if it were “somewhere else”, when Britain has in fact been a full member of the European Union for decades.  Paradoxically for an island race, the British lead Europe in their desire to travel, though when they get to that peculiar place called “abroad” they still search for chips, unchilled English beer, a maximum of two small lumps of ice in their cocktail, and access to up-to-the-minute soccer or cricket scores from home.

Another thing:  Pi can now reveal why the British don’t care much about their appearance. They have a comparatively limited interest in attracting members of the opposite sex. Astonishingly, this is even more true of women than men. Sorry to point this out, girls, but many of you seem to consider British lads not worth the bother of getting all dolled up for. They just seem more interested in the football than in how their girlfriends look.

All in all, the oddest thing about the British is that they have NO IDEA how odd they are.  But in Britain, c’est normal.

Zone: Conformity & Stability Country: Europe Product – Other