Being British

I found the following article on the OISE Oxford Blog, and was not sure whether to to re-post it or attempt to forget all about it. It is about Britishness.


It seems that a journalist called Rob Temple has been tweeting an ongoing litmus test of Britishness to over half a million followers, enumerating scenarios such as Being unable to help saying, “At least I hope so!” after telling someone they’re on the right train and Explaining the empty bottle of wine in the kitchen by saying, “Most of it went in the gravy”.

These are not so much test cases as universal constants.

You can follow Mr Temple yourself at @SoVeryBritish or read the full article in the Daily Telegraph here. Otherwise, just meditate on the following.

  • Sounding sarcastic no matter how many ways you say, “That sounds great”
  • Waiting for permission to leave after paying for something with the exact change
  • Feeling you must press the train door button within a millisecond of illumination or be judged an amateur
  • Being flabbergasted at how many people add milk at the wrong stage of the tea-making process
  • Greeting a friend in the supermarket, then creeping around to avoid seeing them again
  • Wondering whether to hurl yourself through a window when someone sits next to you on an empty bus
  • Feeling your life lacks excitement, so dunking your biscuit for an irresponsibly long time
  • The anxious bewilderment when clocking the stranger deciding to join the queue at your side rather than behind you
  • Looking away so violently as someone nearby enters their PIN that you accidentally dislocate your neck
  • Saying, “It’s nothing, really,” to indicate you’re remarkably close to losing consciousness
  • Not wishing to tell someone they’ve misheard you, so simply soldiering into a completely different topic of conversation
  • Saying “left” and “right” at random, rather than admit to the optician that all the lenses seem identical.

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