Tag Archives: british etiquette

Complaining about the weather and proper British etiquette

24 Jul

I have fully embraced the British custom of complaining about the weather. Remember when it rained every day for two months straight? That was rubbish. But hey, the sun has finally come out! … And it’s too hot.

I suffer from CWRD (Crabby When Raining Disorder), which made the past few weeks miserable. I was so happy to see sun and blue skies in the forecast. But then I remembered something. My CWHD (Crabby When Hot Disorder) is even worse than my CWRD. The cure for CWHD is air conditioning, but that’s a luxury that doesn’t exist in my flat. I’ve closed all the curtains and have my face pressed against the fan, but it’s only mildly helping. Why can’t it just be 68/20 degrees but not raining?

While I was having a bad spell of CWHD this afternoon, I stumbled upon this video.


I was curious what CNN considered “British etiquette.” So I watched this 2:03 video, and I want those 2 minutes and 3 seconds back. Granted, this could be the CWHD talking, but what the crap, CNN? Your only tips for visitors to London are “Be polite” and “Wait in line?” Is there any country or city where that doesn’t apply? (OK, maybe China isn’t the best with lines, but I’m sure they queued with the best of them during the Olympics.) I know London isn’t that different from major American cities, but off the top of my head I can come up with some better etiquette tips, like always stand to the right of the escalator in the Tube station so the polite British person behind you doesn’t have to stare daggers at your back to pass on the left. And don’t be an obnoxious American on the Tube. Londoners like to ride in quiet. (Although you are allowed to quietly giggle at “This is a Piccadilly line service to Cockfosters.”)  Ask where the “toilet” is at a restaurant, not the “restroom,” and ask for tap water if you don’t want to pay for a £10 bottle of Voss water. Ask for “the bill,” not “the check” when you’re ready to pay. And you will have to ask — perhaps that’s the “polite” British way, but they never try to rush you out by bringing the bill to you unrequested. Although that might change when the city is infested with tourists and athletes.

So some of my tips aren’t exactly etiquette, but it’s still better than what CNN came up with. I can see how their brainstorming meeting went:

“So what videos did we make for the last Olympics?”

“Etiquette tips for Beijing went over well.”

“OK, do British etiquette.”

“But, um, there really isn’t…”