02 December 2014

Offending, Expat-style

The first time my (very lovely and also very American) Dad visited me in the UK, he generously offered to buy the round of beers, walked up to the crowded bar in the slightly rough pub and ordered two beers.

There are many conventional ways to make a 'two' with your fingers in order to make yourself understood in, say, a noisy environment. Czechs tend to make an 'L' with their fingers. Brits tend to make a 'V-sign' with the palm facing out. Americans tend to make a 'V-sign' with their palm facing in.

Now, let us compare the American 'two' with the British equivalent of the American offensive 'middle finger'.
And that is how you get your daughter and son-in-law to buy all of the drinks for the rest of the trip.

While we're being vulgar, it struck me the other day that American offensiveness is very, erm, penis-centric. Perhaps times have changed since I lived there, but I can't remember ever seeing the female-equivalent of the lovingly-detailed male-bits that (male?) graffiti artists seem to feel should adorn every bus stop, school building and blank garage door.

However, ladies, no need to feel left out here in the Czech Republic. Czech (male?) graffiti artists draw female bits, too! I'm tempted to put an illustration here for the non-Czechs, but I'm not sure exactly how offensive it would be.

What I do know is that should you have a blackboard that a Czech friend decided would benefit from having a bit of female-bits graffiti added to it and you have 20 minutes before L's parents arrive, L will choose to spend 20 minutes thoroughly scrubbing off every last trace of the graffiti instead of vacuuming the living room.

So, I will just say that should you be having a competition in one of your classes, and should you be in a goofy mood and you draw a star like this on the board:
And then Team 1 wins the competition, so you want to make your star into something like this:
(You know, to emphasise that Team 1 did well), and so add an American-style '1' to it, like this:
Even the nice, mild-mannered girls who sit in the front of the class will start giggling. 

Fancy grabbing a beer with me, Dad?

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