Thursday, February 01, 2018

Revenge, Served Cold, is Best

Egged on by the editors of some of the right-wing press, many Spaniards have become incensed by the article from The Sunday Times about how to become a Spaniard (be noisy and late for appointments).
Saving me the trouble of writing a tounge-in-cheek view of the Brits (George Mikes did it anyway), here's the riposte from the ABC which came out on Thursday:

Here we have, served without a drop of bitterness but instead in a purely jocular vein, a series of very diplomatic recommendations towards how to become 'un British' in a zippity doody jiffy.

First of all, you can carpet up any surface under your roof because Great Britain, the host country, can also be the promised land of all carpet-mites, whether it is the living room, the staircase or the bathroom, whether for public or private use. The advantages of carpeting the 'small room' are undeniable, as it saves a lot of time in mopping and is just the thing for stepping softly, which, in the bathroom, multiplies the comfort of the excretory moment. The hairs on the carpet will absorb whatever may fall outside the target (God forbid) without the need for the daily scrub and bleach.

Hygiene, therefore, has to be fairly relative if you want to be an Englishman, because water is a scarce commodity and its use must be rationalised. A study by Euromonitor International points out that the British are among the Europeans who enjoy the fewest weekly showers: the average being less than four. Another argument for the Brexit? Without leaving the bathroom, the UK is a country firmly anchored in tradition. This is the resistance to the universally used Continental single-lever tap system, in which one chooses the temperature at which the jet comes out. An Englishman - even in the 21st century - will have to risk scalding his hands, getting them frozen or moving them from the cold to the hot tap, which will undoubtedly improve his reflexes.

In general, if you want to be British the trick is to go against the way most other humans circulate (either on the pavement or the road), queue up for everything even if you are the only one in line, dine at an unholy hour and, if you do so away from home, go to a foreign cuisine restaurant because it will be difficult for you to find a decent bite of British cuisine (that oxymoron), unless you love local fish (unlikely choice) or your legendary rhubarb crumble, with its remarkable laxative powers.

When travelling abroad, if you want to be English, don't hesitate to slip some white socks (do not need two pairs, don't exaggerate) into the suitcase. They will be indispensable for the sandals that you will be wearing on your holiday. At your destination, and especially if you are young, be sure to dedicate at least 20 of the 24 hours of the entire day to an immoderate and joyous intake of alcohol, and when you are in  a suitably cheerful frame of mind and yet you find you can't get your point across since not everyone understands the language of Shakespeare (or rather, the Spice Girls), following a couple of street brawls, you can try the "balconing" in the hotel.

Don't waste too much time in museums, such as the Prado for example, where the British hardly account for 0.35% of their visitors (Italians are 9.71 and the French 5.30). Only one exception to this sight-seeing rule is the Museo del Jamón, where those  tasteful sandals will have brought their owners for a spot of culture. On returning to the UK, one traditionally goes straight to a law firm specialized in reporting Spanish hotels for food poisoning. You don't even have to suffer any queasiness, since the paperwork and the scam are arranged there while you wait.

And always exaggerate, exaggerate very much, even employ sensationalism if possible: another great British contribution to the world that strives to entertain one's reader or listener during those dark British months of winter.

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