I've not met many Americans in my life, the first American girl I ever met was named Ashley. I was around 12 at the time and within a few months of knowing her I found myself hanging from a cliff edge with her holding the rope, declaring "I don't wanna hold the rope anymore." That's what you get with residential trips. Surprisingly enough that left a rather bitter taste in my mouth.
Last night, over a bottle of vodka, I met my brand new American friend. It took some time to establish that bread rolls were biscuits and biscuits were cookies; crisps were chips, and chips were fries; jam was jelly and jelly was jello, but once that confusion was out of the way it was our turn to try our best to bestow our minimal knowledge of British culture upon our new American friend.
"Don't you guys ever say fries?"
"Only in McDonalds."
"It says it on the menu"
"What's cheeky?" she asked puzzled. I pointed to my drink (a cheeky Vimto) to confuse matters. Lee was the first to tackle the question. "If a kid shouts piss off to an old lady, then she might call him a cheeky bastard."
"So over here children and old people swear at each other?"
"It's like when an attractive boy pinches your bum in a night club, you might turn around, waggle your finger and say Oi cheeky." I interjected. "And the vodka in our Vimto and lemonade, is cheeky." She didn't look convinced. I like the definition I later found in the dictionary. "Impertinently bold; impudent and saucy." Perfect. If I had said that I would have definitely scored bonus points for my finesse. Instead of showing off my way with words (or lack of) I went on to try and explain what 'cheers' means.
"When you guys say cheers, you mean thanks, right?"
"Yeah, I only ever say it when I feel intimidated by attractive straight men though. Cheers mate. It's a very manly way of speaking I guess."
I'm incredibly in awe of my our new American friend, she slipped into our bizarre regimes very quickly. The fact that she was flabbergasted by the amount of slutty girls showing more skin than necessary amused me. She explained that in America, that only happens on Halloween.
I guess when Lindsay Lohan said "Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it." in Mean Girls, she had a very good point. It's the same here though, even for the boys. Have you seen my potential Halloween costume?
The worrying thing is, it wouldn't surprise me if I did go out like this and somebody asked me why I was so overdressed.
The pinnacle of our bad influence had to be explaining the British way of the drunken take away. "Yeah you buy some god awful kebab meat and chips, eat half of it and then throw it at a nearby window."
Not that I would ever dream of doing such a thing! That's what we told her. I've seen it done many a time. She accepted it in an instant and even offered me her half eaten chips so I could toss them at a window. She looked puzzled as I put them into the bin.
This morning, whilst nursing my hangover, I imagined her hurling chips (fries) at a nearby charity shop and being dragged away by police. I hope we haven't emotionally damaged her too much.
Much love to my new American friend. (Insert appropriate love hearts here)