I’ve been a big nerd about British culture since I was a wee babe. I mean Harry Potter, duh, but also my aunt was married to a Brit and constantly traveling back and forth from London, subsequently passing her obsession with England on to me. I think I was probably the only 9-year-old who knew everything about King Henry’s six wives. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived – still got it!
Thankfully as a teenager, I moved on from 15th-century monarchs to David Beckham, the Spice Girls, and Bridget Jones, but my love for all things English never waned, even when I moved to London full time and dealt with some of the less fairytale-like aspects of life in the Big Smoke. Although we should be spending more time worrying about deforestation and ocean pollution, I totally understand why everyone is losing their minds over the fact that Meghan Markle is the first LA girl to marry into the royal family. Marrying a British prince is something a lot of us have been fantasizing about for ages! I mean, who can blame us?
After all, it seems like American women and British men go hand in hand. As someone I interviewed for this piece put it, “I don’t know if I could move back to America and date there again. British men are such gentlemen and polite and want to be in a relationship…it seems to match well with outgoing, louder American women!”
Although I’m a born and bred Californian, I’ve only ever dated British boys in London, so I have a bit of experience in the matter. Mainly, two boyfriends, a dozen questionable Tinder dates, and plenty more interesting encounters in London’s various clubs, pubs, and bars, so I can tell you first-hand that not every boy with a British accent is going to sweep you off your feet, though a few might try. After looking back on my time on the London dating scene and interviewing a few friends who’ve been in Anglo-American relationships, here are five things you should be prepared for before trying to snag your own Prince Harry…
In fact, if a British dude comes over to chat you up in a club or bar, he’s probably so drunk he can barely see. Most British men are painfully polite and no matter how many ‘come hither and ask for my damn number’ looks you shoot them, will not approach you. Though their hesitancy can be frustrating, it does put the onus on us ladies to take the initiative ourselves! #Feminism!
“They may make eye contact but that’s about as far as it goes. If a British man does approach you, that is very rare. In fact, it is so rare that people usually think they are weird or very drunk. Sadly, this is often very accurate!” – Virginia (AR, USA)
About everything except sex (skip to #5 for that one). But in general, the Brits aren’t super touchy-feely about their feelings, or their physical displays of affection, or physical displays of anything really. Like Brits will stand behind you on the escalator and stare for ages rather than actually use their voices and say, ‘excuse me’. On the other hand, we Americans are extra as hell and are out here whooping and hollering about literally anything. The stereotype about the stiff upper lip is definitely true here!
“They can be reserved in displaying affection publicly…meeting [my boyfriend’s] family is different as they are more reserved in their displays of affection. It’s weird not hearing them tell each other they love each other” – Naomi (NV, USA)
If you do get the chance to talk to a British guy, chances are your normal voice is about 10 decibels louder than he’s used to, so you might scare him a little. In all honesty, he might need a little scaring, but just be aware that if a British guy is eyeing you with slight apprehension, it’s probably because he feels like you’re shouting or are unnecessarily excited. Proceed with caution, but never dim your shine!
“Americans: stop shouting lol we’re right here” – Charlie (London, UK)
In London and the rest of the UK, going on a date almost 100% means you’re going for drinks. In America, there’s more of a mix of activities available for first dates, such as bowling or going to the movies (English people are fancy and call it the cinema). Here on Queen E’s side of the pond, all first dates inevitably involve necking 4 or 5 pints. Also, no one here has any qualms about drinking on a weeknight – something else us Americans are much more sensible about!
“First dates with Brits ALWAYS include alcohol. A coffee date is never an option. Alcohol is necessary to loosen them up” – Erin (CT, USA)
And by that, I don’t mean they’re always jogging. Although to be fair, Londoners do power walk like no other, but I digress. What I meant was the Brits are down to get down (and dirty) on the first date, whereas generally, Americans are a bit more reserved about the whole shebang. After all, Britain is technically European! Well, at least for another year or so… #Brexit
“I learned that if a man asks you if you would ‘like to come ‘round for a cuppa tea” THEY WANT TO HAVE SEX. It’s the British equivalent to ‘Do you want to come up and see the place?’ and I was not prepared, I just wanted some tea.” – Emily (CT, USA)
However, when it’s all said and done, just remember…
“Brits and Americans are both equally capable of being fuckboys, just in different ways!”
– Leandra (NY, USA)
*Names have been changed and comments have been slightly edited for clarity.
The author, Rhiannon Yee, attended UC Berkeley for a Bachelors Degree in Media Studies. During her time at UC Berkeley, Rhiannon studied abroad in London, where she fell in love with the city. After graduation, she moved back to London to work for the University of California Education Abroad Programme. Currently, she is pursuing a Masters degree in Advertising & Public Relations at Richmond the American International University, where she is currently working on her dissertation about #Anglo-American relationships and cultural differences in regards to dating in London. This article is part of said dissertation! When she’s not furiously typing away about dating, Rhiannon splits her time between working part-time as Events Assistant for the University of California Trust (UK), interning at a PR agency, and running her US vs UK food blog, Tacos & Teacakes. You can contact her via email, LinkedIn or on Twitter.