Bitesize Episode 13 - Pt. 2 of Dating a British Person

Jun 21 / Charlie Baxter

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Charlie gives a second part to his own look on the cultural norms British people have when it comes to dating in a bitesize episode that will give you your fix of The British English Podcast with plenty of native expressions for you to learn from in context. Enjoy!

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By Charlie Baxter

The Bitesize Episodes
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Transcript of Bitesize Ep 13.mp3

Charlie:
Hello and welcome to The British English Podcast, the show that typically helps non-native English learners better understand British culture and British English. And as you are listening to this one titled Part two, it suggests to me that you are indeed wanting more of this dating nonsense. You, randy, randy bugger, you. OK, well, here we go. Part two of dating a British person. This episode comes with a free worksheet over on the website, the British English podcast dot com. So grab that and you can listen along whilst using it. I do encourage you to listen to part one, which was uploaded two weeks before this one, so it should be two episodes further down in the uploads list. And if you have listened to that one, you'll remember me stating that British people generally find talking about sex a taboo. I then went on to say that there are exceptions to the not talking about sex rule, and I'd like to explain them to you. All right. Now, remember, again, it's always I'm talking generally here. Subjectivity changes everything all the time. But looking at the general culture here, gone are the days where men in the UK could get away with sexualised comments in the workplace and in my opinion, for good reason. The UK is progressive and has been fighting for gender equality for, you know, even before Emmeline Pankhurst was on the scene back in the later half of the 19th century.

Charlie:
And then she went on to be responsible for organising the UK's suffragette movement, which I believe started in the 20th century. And to remind those who weren't stimulated by their history teacher or perhaps a more likely suggestion, had more local history to focus on. The British suffragettes were a women's activist organisation, and Emmeline Pankhurst helped women win the right to vote. So she is definitely a household name throughout the UK. And I actually confused another suffragettes' sacrifice with Emmeline Pankhurst. This lady threw herself under a horse in Epsom racecourse, which is actually really close to where I was brought up. But that was another suffragette named Emily Davison. And she threw herself under this horse because it was the king's horse and it was representing standing up for women's rights and making a mark. It was very controversial, but extreme, of course. Anyway, the point I'm making is women's rights has been a big thing in the UK for as long as I can remember. And it has changed the culture of many parts of life over the last century from the workplace, TV and film relationships and of course, dating. I just wanted to interrupt this episode to let you know about something rather exciting that I am running over on the British English podcast dot com, I have created a seven day challenge full of fun and unique activities that will get your blood pumping if you really enjoy getting actively involved in learning English and to really incentivise you.

Charlie:
I'm going to be turning this challenge into a competition amongst you all. So the people that put the most effort into this one week of activities every day will be getting some prises. I'm not going to say any more right now, but if you are interested, then head over to the British English podcast Dotcom, find the courses tab in the menubar and you'll see the seven day challenge or find the link in the show notes of this episode. There are some terms and conditions that I explain in full on the Web page for this course, but the main thing to remember is it's going to be a live course, meaning it starts for everyone at a certain date. So head over there now to sign up and get ready for it to begin before you miss your chance to get really active with some fun and engaging ways to learn English for a whole week and then be in the chance of winning some fan-bloody-tastic prizes. And it has changed the culture of many parts of life over the last century from the workplace, TV and film relationships and of course, dating. I look back at some old James Bond films and I see how crazy the differences between the first and the most recent James Bond.

Charlie:
The the original James Bond, in my opinion, was it was very forceful, overly dominant. And, yeah, far from what I would assume as a charming gentleman nowadays. And I also saw a couple of videos pop up on my phone recently, one of which was an ad, the ad to promote a certain airline. And it was in the 70s, this this advert, it just popped up to, you know, highlight the difference. And the whole focus was on what type of female air stewards are on this airline. And it was this whole song and dance by men saying that this airline is the best one because they're the most sexy, they're the most beautiful. They're going to talk dirty to you. Which, you know, as a modern day, Brit, I see this ad as basically promoting the idea that men could be seedy and sexually suggestive and laugh about it as a collective group of the dominant gender in that moment. And I want to be really clear that I don't see myself as, you know, really left wing or right wing. I don't really agree with extremes. And yet I have this overwhelming feeling of discomfort when watching this ad and think, oh, my God, I can't believe this aired, can't believe this was a real TV show ad*. So I think that says a lot about how our culture has changed since the 70s. I guess if that was when it was aired and, you know, the James Bond films, they've been going for the last oh, I don't know, when was Dr No aired? Oh, the 60s.

Charlie:
So since the 60s and 70s up till now, particularly, I'd say in the last 20, 30 years I'd say there's been a big shift. And I know it's it's not just the UK that has progressed in gender equality. I'm personally very glad to say that many countries have. I'd say America, for example, has become more aggressive in their nature in calling people out on being inappropriate in this area. But this is getting away from my point, which is when it comes to dating British men and British women who were born around, let's say, the 80s and onwards, have a much less sexist view on how a relationship might evolve to be. And no longer are women expected to stay at home and do the house chores and be the stay-at-home mum. And I really hope this is obvious to you. But I'm saying this because I've met many students whose culture still really assumes the opposite and puts, in my opinion, unfair pressure on women to cook a million meals for their kids, husbands and in-laws and and let the husband be the authority figure in the household. A lot of my Far Eastern Asian students, female students. They dread these holidays because the holidays means just an enormous amount of household chores for them.

Charlie:
And I often say, you know, why? Why is it just you doing it? Isn't your husband chipping in? And they go, no, no, my husband. No, that's not his job. My job is to do all of it and it just baffles me. So I'm saying it because there's obviously a huge difference in our cultures. And I'd say that the UK has changed in in that respect in the last 30, 40 years. And whenever the world is going through a big shift, people become sensitive to it. There are many who think we are going too far with feminism and then many who think we need to keep pushing for more equality because there is still a huge divide. Again, I say this because it might catch somebody out who comes from a different background, like, oh, well, yeah, like an Indian friend who came to Germany and stayed with me and my girlfriend for a couple of days. He said that he finds it hard to date Western women because they have such a different mindset to him and his family. His family were expecting him to move back to India one day, get married and have a big family, etc., etc. And part of that culture is rather expectant of him finding a wife that wants to pop out a kid after kid and stay at home looking after them.

Charlie:
Now, imagine him going into a first date with a British girl who has been encouraged her whole life to appreciate that women can be career focussed as much as men. And there is no expectation of them to be the stay-at-home mum. I should say I'm probably exaggerating a little here because I believe that pressure for British women is. Kind of there, but at the same time, careers trump that for us. So it's kind of hard because women at the moment, I guess, are juggling both, which is pretty stressful. But yeah, anyway, for our Indian friend in this example to go on a date with a female who believes her career is her primary goal, I can just imagine how offended she would be if she learnt his assumptions of her role in their future relationship, if it was to go to plan. So I'm here to point out the obvious to many and to hopefully help others who who come from a culture that is far from what British people expect nowadays. And on that, I'd say chivalry, chivalry, being like a gentleman showing kindness to the opposite sex, usually from a male to a female, that is even something that, if overly done, can get men into trouble in the UK nowadays. So you've got to be mindful of that. If you're overly gentlemanly or want to show your generosity as a male, then it could upset British girls.

Charlie:
And and here's why. Because our generation and I was born in 1990, for the most part, we were brought up. Men and women were brought up to be independent and not need to rely on anyone for their success in life. I mean, you might want to keep in mind that the further away from cities you go, the less extreme this mindset might be. But if the person you're speaking with lives in a big city and maybe pursued further education, then I'd say you are more likely to offend a woman if you act on gender based stereotypes. So, apologies for this profiling, but imagine if a heterosexual male from an Eastern culture that assumes women should still be stay at home wives comes to live in a metropolitan area in the UK and goes on a dating app, matches with a Western female in a big city. She's been to university. I reckon if you want a second date with her, you would do well to not be overly chivalrous getting the bill for the first date. Oh, tricky one it's generally still a nice thing to do, but many progressive women will be very sensitive to the idea of owing a man anything you could read as "Oh, you're buying me this because you think that means that I will be more likely to do what you want." But yeah, we won't go too far into it.

Charlie:
But it's it's a fine line. So you don't want to be overgenerous because you could be labelled as slightly sexist. And there's a phrase to go Dutch. This means to to go half on the bill, to split the bill in half, which is definitely acceptable. But then again, yeah, it's tricky because you've got to pick up on the values of the person that you're on a date with, because it's a fine line between being cheap and being sexist. Good luck. That's all I can say. Basically, a good rule of thumb is to treat your British date as an equal in as many ways as possible. And I'm aware that I'm approaching this from the male's perspective. Maybe I should get a female to to do the counterpart. And I could talk for hours on this, you know, this argument of gender equality, feminism, all of that stuff. There's massive flaws in both sides of the argument, in my opinion. But in the UK, feminists are more accepted than anti feminists nowadays, again, in my opinion. So if I was wanting to assimilate with British culture, I would lean towards being a feminist. And yes, men, lots of men, men are feminists. It's not like a female thing that females can only be. It's for both genders to believe that there should be gender equality for whatever that means. That's up for debate massively.

Charlie:
But yeah, if you don't know this, maybe I should say this. There's talk about ignoring gender differences in sport like in America. It's very popular at the moment to push for this. And anyone who, you know, pushes against this is likely to be cancelled if they're in a mainstream form of media. So it's a really hot topic at the moment. And that's an extreme that we can look at as like, oh, my God. Okay, if this is the case in some places, you've got to be really careful. If if some people are trying to deny the idea that gender, even in our biology, doesn't exist, then you've got to be really careful with the social dynamics of dating as well. So, again, as I said, if I wanted to assimilate with with British culture, I would lean towards being a feminist and and, you know, not shoving the door in a woman's face, that's not being a feminist at all. Being a feminist would be as a male to, you know, challenge a sexist comment. If a guy another guy said a sexist comment, you would challenge that. That would show that you're a feminist and the obvious things like equal pay. I think that's that's a given. But maybe it's not a given. Yeah. Obviously, you should believe in equal pay. I don't think I need to say that, but I haven't really got to the point of when we can talk about sex.

Charlie:
And this is most often when we are in a male or female only group. So putting feminism aside, men still love to talk openly about sex and women at the pub with a group of male friends. And although the conversations are definitely less vulgar, British women love to talk about men and sex as well. So we do talk about it. We just need a group that we trust and typically that would be same gender and feeling like, you know, the people in the group. The bigger the group, the less vulgar and intimate I would be regarding women and sex. But if I'm speaking one on one with a guy that I'm close with in a pub, I'll happily open up about most intimate things. And here's a little one, I just realised I'd try and do it through humour. If the conversation gets too serious, then you're stepping away from British norms. I've got friends that I would have those very serious chats with, but I feel like those friendships that I have, they don't really align with what I know of Britishness. I'm not saying that we don't have close friends, but the general stereotype that I'm trying to help you understand British people with, we would communicate our problems through humour because humour is always available. It's not like in in some cultures, a time and a place for joking.

Charlie:
Joking is always available for British people. Oh, yeah. I want to say this. So, a common thing that guys like to do, despite the fact that guys are now more, much more open to feminism. Again, generally, guys still like to gawk at women. It's kind of like an unconscious thing. But I still see it whenever a woman or a group of girls come into the vicinity with slightly skimpy outfits on, I find it a bit cringe now because it's so obvious. But yeah, my friends, they still really can't help but gawk. Sure, I gawk as well occasionally, but I try to do it a little less obviously, you know, sunglasses, they're great and great for that. And that's why I wear sunglasses everywhere I go. But yeah, men still feel comfortable making sexual jokes under their breath, objectifying women as long as they can't be overheard by them. I'm not encouraging it, but just stating what I've experienced for you to better understand what to expect. Again, generally speaking, in my opinion, and while I have less anecdotal evidence to pull from my female friends when I was in uni, were also pretty comfortable discussing a male's sexual capabilities when in a group of close females, which you could label as gossip, and that might be a future episode. I do, as I heard some interesting things about gossip that I'd like to share with you another day.

Charlie:
I've also got a lot more things to say on sex and dating in the UK, but as it is a Bitesize Episode, we will leave it there for today. So let's see. The take home message from part one was "don't be rapey, but give a Brit good banter." If you remember that, don't be rapey. Give a Brit good banter. The take away from part two. Let's see. Um, it's to try to remove any gender based assumptions your culture has in regards to a relationship. Yeah, I'd say that. Go into it thinking gender roles shouldn't be installed in your set straight away. It's absolutely fine to find out that you prefer one thing then and your partner prefers the other thing in the UK. And that happens to be a stereotype of male and female jobs. Like Stacey, my partner. She hates putting the bins out. I don't mind it. She loves cooking. I actually quite like washing the dishes. That is a bit of a stereotype if you think about it. The woman cooking and the man cleaning. I mean, I suppose really the horrible stereotype would be the woman doing all of that. But I haven't cooked in ages, not because I'm sexist. But just because Stacey prefers cooking and I prefer cleaning, so I'm, I think, go into the relationship or a first date assuming nothing but being comfortable with the idea of finding out what each of you like based on your own personalities, not based on your gender.

Charlie:
Hopefully that's useful for you. Again, I don't mean to offend if your culture is as progressive as the U.K. when it comes to gender equality, then. Well, it's good that you've heard it from me that I think the U.K. is like your culture as well. But yeah, I feel like I said this mainly for the cultures that are drastically different to the U.K. now so that you can be better prepared if you come to the U.K. and you try to fall in love with a British gal. Oh, and I should say on the flip reverse could say for females listening again, this is heterosexual. I don't have any personal experience with homosexual relationships, so I need to do some interviews. Don't I need to. Well, I did interview somebody recently about homosexuality in the UK versus America. That was pretty interesting. That will be coming out in the next month or so. But yeah. So for heterosexual couples, I was just thinking for females, if you go into it. A date believing that this person is only of interest to me, if they show that they can look after me financially, then I'd say you'll meet a lot of resistance as well. It's a two way street with gender equality. That's why I said earlier, feminism isn't just for females, it's for men as well.

Charlie:
And there are going to be many men that are comfortable with the idea of being the stay-at-home dad. So best to assume it's an equal playing field and don't presume anything of your date based on their gender. You can do whatever you like with their personality, of course, and have some fun with it, for God's sake. I got sidetracked. Let's be honest, I got sidetracked. The original point of this Bitesize Episode was to say about when we feel comfortable talking about sex and I ended up talking about gender equality, but hopefully you gained something from it. And at least there was some British English for you to lap up. They go lap up, enjoy, enjoy, consume. So that's all for me folks. I hope you enjoyed the rant about gender equality and inequality. My name's Charlie, and this has been The British English Podcast, and I'll see you next week. What's a good sign off? I haven't got a good sign off yet? I mean, I really like the one that Stephen Dubner does on Freakonomics, which is "Take care of yourself. And if you can somebody else too" love that. Can't copy it, though, obviously, can I what could be a cultural one. Here we go. Appreciate your own culture, and if you can learn about another one, too, maybe, maybe I'll keep that if it. Sure. All right. See you next week. Lots of love. Bye for now.

Charlie:
Don't forget that this podcast is available as a premium podcast, giving you manually edited transcripts, extended glossaries and flashcards. Also, if you wanted to take even deeper, we have the academy, which has exclusive videos going over the language used in the season based episodes analysing, giving examples, giving you the confidence to feel ready to go out and use that language yourself. And of course, we've also got the weekly speaking classes so you can practise it in a safe space, meet some like-minded people and really build on the community in The British English Podcast. For all of that, go over to the website, the British English podcast dot com. I also highly recommend that you get on my email newsletter because I keep you up to date with what's going on in my life, giving you a new email lesson every week. If that's not for you, make sure you grab the free worksheet for this episode and I will see you next time here on the British English podcast. My name is Charlie. See you next time. Bye for now.

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Podcast host: Charlie:
This will be quite a bit harder for you to understand, as there are a number of accents in the conversation, some poorly delivered at times, as you will notice.

Podcast host: Charlie:
But the aim is to give you a variety of dialects in one conversation and some dialogue to give you native expressions in context. So enter, if you will, to Charlie's pub and his imaginary world.

Character: Mike:
Alright geezer, how's it going?

Character: Chris:
Yes, I'm well thanks. How about you? Have you had a good day?

Character: Mike:
Can't say good mate. No my old man he's been giving me a right old earful for what happened on site last week.

Character: Chris:
Oh that's a pity. Are you back on your dad's building project again?

Character: Mike:
Sad to say mate, but yeah, I am. Couldn't resist this one though. Cash in hand, you know.

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Oh fair play, hard to resist those I imagine. Oh, here she is.

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

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I was wondering if you're ever going to join us tonight.

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Charlie is the host and creator of The British English Podcast & Academy. He has also been an active YouTube English Teacher since 2016 but after seeing how many of his students wanted a more structured, carefully designed way to study he decided to create The British English Podcast Academy.

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