Why British blokes REALLY are the best – even if you are a Hollywood star
Women across the pond seem to love our fellas – but why? We asked top American writer Karen Krizanovich – who has been married twice, both times to Brits
Cameron Diaz joins the legion of American women who adore British men, loving “their sense of humour and the sense of chivalry and charm” because “it’s not the same in America”.
She’s not alone. Kristen Stewart, Claire Danes, Jennifer Connelly and Gwyneth Paltrow all found their prince charmings in the UK.
The Anglo-American ‘Love Thing’ is well entrenched. There are a dozen blogs about it, from the nice to the sleazy. One praises British men for loving their mothers (?) and using a fork correctly.
There is also a dating service called datebritishguys.com. Its tagline is: “Find your very own David Beckham, Hugh Grant, Orlando Bloom, Jude Law, Sean Connery, Prince Harry, the list goes on”. It helps dumb people find a Brit of their own to keep.
Yes, Diaz is correct. There is something about British men. I should know, because yes, I married him. Actually them. As an American who has been married to two Brits, I am over-qualified as an expert in the field.
I too have found the UK male superior to his Yankee counterpart. Remember, though, we’re not talking the lowest common male denominator: neither Diaz nor I dated sleazoids. Well, I didn’t.
Note too that the following is a sweeping generalisation only a moron would take as scientific truth. British men are better than American men but YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). Let me know what you think by leaving your own comments at the bottom of the page…
The celebrity Brit-lovers
British men are excellent mimics – and many sound sexier than they should. A handsome friend stunned me when he revealed he’d grown up in Birmingham. He sounds just like Michael Fassbender imitating Roger Moore.
Like most American women, I was weaned on James Bond. It’s made us like Pavlov’s dog: we can’t help but drool the minute we hear a British accent. This isn’t a surprise when you consider American men’s nasal tones can shred aluminium with a “HI!”
Unfortunately, when I first moved to the UK, I couldn’t tell the difference between an Old Etonian accent and that of Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins – but I learned the difference pretty quickly.
American ears usually know no class difference; drive a cab and hail from the Midlands; we’re still impressed.
Through TV, music and films, we have been trained to believe that British men are automatically smarter and sexier than the ‘Guy Next Door’. This is why the loser chap went to America in the film Love Actually: easy pickings.
American men are always very competitive. They can’t relax – nor would you if your entire society was based on the success of the individual. Baby, if you snooze you lose, and all your friends – that includes your sex partner – need to help you get to the top.
This is where the British chap scores big. It’s not that they can’t be competitive: they can. The difference is that they know that being competitive in social situations is a total turn-off.
Socially, a Brit is always preferable to an American: they can make chitchat that doesn’t involve the words “me”, “I” or “money”. If you ask a British guy about his work, he’ll say something stupid and change the subject. Classy.
Paris Hilton once said: “British guys are really different to the guys in America – they’re all such gentlemen and they’re far more mature.”
The British are not hamstrung by feminism. In America, I never know if a man is going to open the door for me or not: I’ve often walked into a closed door or we’ve both tried to go through at once. This lack of manners is why the revolving door was invented.
A British man will open the door for you. He’s also happy to pay for dinner, allow you to pay or to split the bill. With an American, it is a big fat guess who is expected to pay for dinner and it becomes a ridiculous power struggle I can do without.
British men are terrific at handling questions like, “How much money do you make in dollars?”
They’ll laugh and make silly comments US women don’t understand at first.
Once I got past the real meaning of words like ‘pants’, there was a whole sexy subtext going on.
As Jude Law once said: “It’s the use of words. We [British men] use words like ‘lovely’, and ‘naughty’. I think [American women] quite like that.”
British subtlety short-circuits American brashness. Americans are often too direct and too much in a hurry to really ‘get it’.
Most Americans don’t have a grasp of global issues: a lot of them don’t own a world map. I’ve found the average London taxi driver knows more about European politics and that big thing at Tate Modern.
America is still very insular whereas Britain, with its Empire heritage, is used to thinking about other parts of the world.
So American men seem dull in comparison to a normal Brit who reads the paper, goes to the cinema and reads a few books. Americans tend to work, have weird hobbies and visit the Apple store.
What Cameron Diaz doesn’t understand is that the ‘Great British Male’ is a bunch of different blokes: within the English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish guys lurk the subsets of Edinburgh vs Glasgow, Scouse vs Geordie, Ulstermen vs Dubliners and Richard Burton vs Tom Jones (I know nothing about Wales). All of these tribes have their own etiquette. This varies hugely but it’s still operating and that’s what Diaz is pointing her bony finger at.
All over Britain, men know how to be a mannerly manly man – and not be a noisy jerk who interrupts all the time. As Sharon Stone once said: “I love that British men act cool whatever the situation.”
Gwyneth Paltrow once commented: “I happen to adore British men and I adore Britain,” – admittedly after not being asked out on any dates when she first moved to the UK. You can’t just plonk yourself down on this sceptered isle: you have to get to know the natives first.
One of the most important things about British men is their refreshing attitude to sex: they make you think they can take it or leave it. When I first encountered the British male, this indifference baffled me and I tried that much harder to be alluring (it was not pretty).
They want sex and they’d like to have sex with you, but they don’t want to be obvious.
The same with British chums: it’s taken me years to make friends, but now we’d all take bullets for each other. Well, I would, anyway.
What American man would do as Colin Firth did and fetch Meryl Streep’s shoe at the Baftas? American men secretly admire British men. America would like to claim as its own people like Beckham, David Bowie and Stephen Hawking.
The fact that James Bond and Monty Python are not American kills us. Add Little Britain, The Office and Doctor Who to the pile and you’ll know why we had to invent Robert Downey Jr.
What do you think? Are you a big fan of Brits? Or do you adore Americans? Or is there another accent entirely which floats your boat? Have your say by leaving a comment below…
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2:24 PM on 10/5/2012
Isn’t it just the fact that American men are so polite all the time, for the most part? Never wanting to say anything out of line, much in the same way that an American waiter (or waitress) dread a customer asking for something not quite on their well rehearsed menu? An English bloke has guts, or to put it another way, balls. I think Yankee girls swoon over the Brit male because, dare I say it, arrogance and confidence are downright sexy. And I say all this a a gay man, having dated many American (yawn) men. If only I were a Yankee girl . . .