Bitesize Ep 54 - Measuring Love: How Romantic are Brits on Valentine's Day?

Charlie Baxter

Access your learning resources for this episode below:

Access your learning resources for this episode below:

What's this episode about?

In this episode Charlie talks about Valentine's Day in the UK, including how it's become commercialized and that gift-giving is common. He considers if the UK's approach to romance is different from other countries and if Valentine's Day is more useful for Brits despite there being a cynical attitude about the holiday because of the pressure to buy things.
Please note: This transcript is only visible to you as you are logged in as a Premium / Academy member. Thank you for your support.

Transcript of Bitesize Ep 054 - Transcript (Valentine's Day)

Hello hello hello! Or should I say. [Kiss!] Hey, you. Happy Valentine's Day. Oh. How very inappropriate that was. I'm sorry. I just get caught up with the whole romance of Valentine's Day. And because I'm such a hopeless romantic, I thought I should dedicate this week's Bitesize episode to Saint Valentine. But don't worry, I'm not going to throw the usual at you as to where it originated and the possible theories out there because I have done that before, I think. I can't remember when and where, and I've seen it out there a lot before. So we're not going to do that, but we're going to do some digging around the idea of Valentine's Day romance and, you know, cultural differences as always, because this is the British English podcast, the show that helps non-natives better understand British culture along with British English. And yeah, welcome to the Valentine's Day/Week episode. It's obviously the most romantic episode of the year because February the 14th is the most romantic day of the year, isn't it? Well, I assume it is worldwide, but if your culture has a more romantic day, do let me know. Yeah. So now this episode will air on the weekend after - Ow! - after Valentine's Day. But right as I speak, it is February the 14th. And so - Ow! - I have a rose between my teeth. Between my teeth. Teeth. Not teeth. Teeth - Ow! - because here in the UK, we take the day very seriously. Oh. Oh. Because here in the UK we take the day seriously. So we all go around with a rose in our mouth for the whole day. And due to this, visits to A&E for bleeding gums and tongues increase by an order of magnitude around this time of the month.

I'm being silly there. We don't all go crazy for it, but businesses definitely double down on the theme and push all sorts of crap on us. One example is a teddy bear from a well known company called Me to You. Yeah. This teddy bear is called the Tatty Teddy Bear that is an incredibly soft and fluffy grey teddy bear with this famous blue nose and patches on its feet. And I think the left foot reads 'Me to You' on it. And this company, they do a whole range of Valentine's Day teddy bears with ones holding a big heart, two bears cuddling with a big heart between them, you know, all sorts. I wonder. I wonder if they now even cater for polyamorous relationships, you know, to keep up with the times and that; I suppose they would at least have three bears and then the heart would have to be held by all of them and be precisely in the middle of the three or more bears to not suggest a closer bond for two of them. Otherwise the teddy bears might see some violence. Now I'm needlessly giving throuples a hard time there. A throuple is a three way couple.

And you know, if that's what your romantic setup is, then fill your boots. So, yes, we have an iconic teddy bear from the brand Me to You. Chocolates galore, flowers, especially roses. And, you know, I'm sure most countries have a similar array of gifts, I guess, like what I've just described. I do wonder, though, how we fare in comparison to the rest of the world in regards to romance and then how active we are on Valentine's Day, because my suspicion is that we are much lower down on the list when it comes to general romance all year round. But on Valentine's Day, I'd say we sneak up the rankings a bit because it's it's like there's an organised agreed upon day to put time and effort into romance, which seems to be something we could embrace a bit more because I assume most Brits would cringe openly at the idea of publicly declaring one's love for someone. I'd bet my bottom dollar or British pound sterling that proposals at a sporting event on the big screen is far, far more popular in America than England. I think that's obvious, right? So, yes, I think we find it hard to admit that we have romantic feelings for anyone in a sincere way in front of other people, generally day to day. But give us an organised, contained amount of time that we have all agreed upon and we will let our hair down and say, 'Oh, go on then I'll treat you to a fish and chips, love.'

Now I think that is even beneath most Brits. The go-to certainly in my circle of family and friends would would most likely be a dinner out at an Italian restaurant that is most likely a chain restaurant which serves pretty average inauthentic Italian dishes like a pasta or pizza. We'd only have one course, maybe have some dough balls at the start, and then a pasta or pizza for the main. I suppose it's Valentine's Day, so we'd have some chocolate for dessert, but we wouldn't have the, you know, the authentic way in which Italian restaurants really do their food. And then maybe the night continues on at what would it be? Oh, yeah. Local cinema. Yeah yeah. Watching the the latest rom com to please the missus. Yes. No, that is a disgustingly assumed cynical view on how Brits might celebrate Valentine's Day in the evening. So forgive me for that, but it was mostly deliberate as a fairly substantial segment of the population do have a cynical view on Valentine's Day. A lot of us can't handle the pressure that the commercial businesses put on the public and the amount of unnecessary tat that comes along with it, not to mention how it makes single people feel. So, yes, there's a mixture of how individuals in the UK respond to the holiday, but I still have a suspicion that we climb the ranks a bit on this day regarding romance, because yes, there's a fixed day in which we have agreed to literally relax that stiff upper lip and give our loved ones a big old smooch.

So let's see. I'm going to Google 'How romantic are the Brits in general in comparison to other countries?' Uh huh. Yeah. Okay. So we apparently come in 53rd on a list that has not been vetted in any way, shape or form. It was on the first page of Google, but the survey was titled Percent of People who Experience love on a daily basis. So we came in 53rd out of over 100 countries. Oh, yeah. I wonder who came top. Oh, okay. I wonder if you can guess which country came out on top. Any thoughts? I'll let you ponder over that one for a second. Let's turn it into a guessing game. Yes. What can I say? So the country that according to this survey has the most love is: Well, it's an island nation in Southeast Asia. Yes. It's known for its beautiful beaches and lush tropical forests. It's home to more than 7000 islands. Wow. Okay, I Googled that one. 7000 islands making it one of the largest archipelagos in the world. Archipelagos. That's a difficult word for me. Archipelagos. An archipelago is an extensive group of islands. Lots of islands close together. So, yeah, 7000 islands. What do you think it is? What country? I'll give you one more clue before I reveal the answer.

This country has a rich history and a proud national identity and is celebrated for its resilience and its warm, friendly people. Drum roll, please. The country where people experience the most love day to day is the Philippines. Oh, wow. Under the survey results, it says In 2014, in honour of Valentine's Day, the Philippine government sponsored mass wedding ceremonies for hundreds of couples. The Philippines also set a world record for the number of couples simultaneously kissing for 10 seconds, the final tally being 5122. Gosh, that would be a British person's worst nightmare. Snogging in public, in close proximity to others. And if you looked around, you'd see way too much PDA from thousands of couples. Yeah, our nightmare. Also interesting to see 5122. It's an even number. So that hints that there were no three way kisses going on. It doesn't confirm because we all know four threes are 12. But yes, in the Philippines, a whopping 93% of people report feeling loved. And that comes from a report that is quoted as the most comprehensive global index of love ever constructed. Hmm. Apparently, in 2006 and seven, the researcher Gallup, asked people in 136 countries whether they had experienced love the previous day. Okay. That's quite a reasonable way of asking it, I suppose. The researchers found on a typical day, roughly 70% of the world's population reports feeling love. That's not bad. That's quite nice. That's a nice stat. And as the UK came in 53rd, they reported 74% of Brits that took the test said they felt loved the previous day.

Okay, so now let's take a look at the percentage of people who actively celebrate Valentine's Day in one form or another, which is pretty open to interpretation, isn't it? As, you know, in a nymphomaniac's mind, having S-E-X could be the only qualifier of being romantic on Valentine's Day or actively celebrating Valentine's Day, in their opinion. And then a man or woman who is is married to God, who who writes out a Valentine's card to the the big man upstairs could say they are celebrating Valentine's Day. So, yes, to be actively celebrating Valentine's Day is rather open to interpretation. But yeah, I just squeezed quite a few native sayings into those last sentences. So Premium and Academy members use the glossary you are provided with. Anyway, yes. Back to finding out the middle ground between a nymphomaniac and a nun on Valentine's Day.

So if I Google which country participates the most in Valentine's Day, what will I get? Okay, so I found a poll titled 'How likely are you to celebrate Valentine's Day on or around February 14?' And this was last year. And the most active country is apparently the United States at 75%. Wow. Okay. And then the U.K., the U.K. comes in at 12th place at 59%, which is 4% above the average on this poll.

I would say, 'See, my hypothesis was right!' But this poll didn't ask as many countries as the other survey. So unfortunately, we won't be able to conclude how valid my thoughts are. But considering I do know my arse from my elbow, thank you very much, I think you might just want to take my word for it on this one. Remember this type of order amongst chaos or rather chaos within order came up in my British pubs episode when I mentioned how Brits typically don't talk to strangers, but there are certain areas in the pub that allow for this rule to be broken, and it's this agreed-upon rule that I think might bleed into Valentine's Day that make us slightly more willing to take part in it compared to another nation that shares a similar reserved nature and stiff upper lip for the other 364 days of the year. Oh, a paragraph under the latest poll I was looking at caught my eye just then. It says, 'Among those who plan to celebrate Valentine's Day, 41% on average globally plan to have a romantic dinner at home, 35% to have a romantic night out restaurant, cinema, theatre, concert, etc., and 33% to make love.' And this this gut reaction I had when I read that made me think it's worth digging into because when I read that, I felt a bit funny, a bit uncomfortable, and I immediately wanted to make a joke out of the the Making Love bit or I think I just put on a silly voice then when I said that, yeah, I did. And I think I've read before that an anthropologist by the name of Kate Fox, I haven't read her book in a while, but I think that is her name. I used her name quite a bit at the beginning of the podcast because she has a great book called Watching the English and she's an anthropologist, which means a study of social behaviours, and she was focussed on, you know, English social behaviours. And so she thinks the stereotype Brits get in the bedroom for being awkward, frigid and incapable of flirting. Our way to the bedroom is actually less based on how devoted we are to the big man upstairs or how terrible we are between the sheets, but more so simply because we find the topic itself incredibly taboo and at the same time a great opportunity to make a joke at our own expense. I don't doubt a lot of cultures find it taboo, you know, S-E-X. Oh! But I don't know that many French men would have a knee jerk reaction to joke about how small their winky is. Or an Italian who openly says they've forgotten what to do down there. I don't know. Maybe Brits do prefer to make a joke about sex rather than actually have sex. But considering the population growth is strong, statistics do point at the idea that we do do it, but we do like to mock the idea that we ever do it.

Hmm. I'm reflecting on that. And it's the evening on February the 14th, and I'm being far more intimate with my microphone than with my partner. So that probably speaks volumes, doesn't it? On that note, I'm going to wrap this one up here and go and beg for forgiveness that I haven't dedicated my evening to my one true love. So what have we learned? Brits feel a need to make a joke when the topic of sex ever comes up. Although we do still take part in the act. The majority of us celebrate Valentine's Day at 59% of the population. And based on my anecdotal evidence, we go to an average Italian restaurant and then go to the cinema. Oh, and we give each other cards. Yes. It starts young again in my life experience, and no research outside of that, I think I started giving out cards when I was in primary school. So under the age of 11. I may not have received any until secondary school, but that's neither here nor there. And we've also learned that if you want to feel the love, then get yourself over to the Philippines. Or you can accept this big smooch coming through the mic from me to you. Wah! Happy Valentine's Day from your not so secret admirer, Charlie Baxter. See you next week on the British English podcast.

access the free content

Get the FREE worksheet for 
this episode


Want the transcripts?

Access the manually edited transcripts using the world's leading interactive podcast transcript player and get your hands on the
full glossary and flashcards for this episode!
  • Downloadable Transcripts
  • Interactive Transcript Player
  • Flashcards
  • Full Glossary 

Transcript of SAMPLE Premium Podcast Player

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.

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

Character: Emily:
Oh, hi.

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

Full Length Episodes

Interactive Transcript Player


Downloadable Transcripts

Get the brand new official App for FREE

Learn on-the-go with the official app for The British English Podcast. Enhance your learning experience and go mobile! You can easily access The Academy, The Premium Podcast and all other courses including the FREE ones on your mobile and study at your own pace. Switch between desktop to mobile without losing your course progress.

Get the FREE IELTS Ebook & Audiobook

Written & Narrated by Harry & Charlie

Everything you need to know about using idiomatic expressions in the IELTS exam.
45 Minutes of essential IELTS insight is just a Click Away!

Never miss an episode!

Join the Podcast Newsletter to get weekly updates on newly published shows, courses and more right in your mailbox.
Keep an eye on your email inbox. 😉

The Academy Speaking Classes

Write your awesome label here.
Get involved in Charlie's brand new weekly speaking calls when you join
The Academy Monthly/Annual Membership.
↓ Read more below to learn about The Academy ↓

Do you want to join the best online course
 for British culture and British English?

Get access to The British English Podcast Academy
Already a member of The Academy? Sign in here


Drag to resize
1. You struggle to understand British people, their humour and accents!

2. You find it hard to measure your progress when learning English?

3. You want to learn to speak with confidence in front of British people?

4. You find it hard to keep up with multiple speakers in a conversation.

5. You’re looking for an easy to use step-by-step plan to help you improve your English?

If you answered yes, then you already know how challenging it is to keep improving your English after reaching a conversational level!

Don't worry! There's a solution and I think you're going to love it!

Now listen to why members of The Academy think you should join.

Here are some individual reviews.

I'd like to recommend the academy because...its contents are very interesting and authentic so, you learn a lot about British culture, be it in respect of society, habits and traditions and all with a touch of humour, which I really appreciate. 
Julie, France. Joined in August, 2021
Drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.
Drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.
My big problem has always been fluency but now I can tell proudly that I'm much more confident and I'm not more afraid to talk.

Eight months ago when I started this amazing journey I never imagined that today I would record this video and put myself out there without feeling pure cringe.
Caterina, Italy. Joined in February, 2021
"Charlie's podcast and academy is easy to follow and helps me remember every word he teaches by following the quizzes and exercises. He is such a good teacher with specific plans for his own lessons who knows the difficulties of a non-native english learner like me."
Hsu Lai
Pharmacist, Myanmar
"It's evident that Charlie has put so much effort into The Academy and I will definitely recommend The British English Podcast to anyone wanting to improve their English and to my subscribers on Instagram! The Academy is really easy to use and it has a lot of useful tasks."
English Teacher, Russia
Charlie is very good at showing people when the new words and phrases can be used. It helps me to really apply the phrases in the future. The rise and fall of his voice also makes the content more interesting as I can feel the different emotions from him.

Drag to resize
What I like most about The Academy is the live classes where you can apply what you learnt from The Academy.

He breaks down difficult concepts easily but the best part is that he teaches English in real life that you can easily use in your daily conversation.
Phong, Vietname. Joined in February, 2021
Drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.
Drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.
The academy content hones, not only on the vocabulary from intermediate to Advanced but it also packed with humour, as the host, Charlie really breaks down the expressions in every video of every episode, helping their vocabulary sink in and be used, actively in your speech.
Julia, Russia. Joined in July, 2021

Learn more about The Academy


The Life You Can Save

A charity that makes “smart giving simple” by curating a group of nonprofits that save or improve the most lives per dollar. They aim to create a world where everyone has an opportunity to build a better life and where there’s no suffering or death due to extreme poverty.
If you are already a member of show as a Premium Podcast or Academy member please know that Charlie is forever thankful that you are helping him to contribute a modest yet stable amount to the people, he believes, who really need our help.

Not sure of your 
English level?

Take the free English test, it only takes a few
minutes and you'll receive your results immediately

Listen to the show on-the-go wherever you get your podcasts.

Drag to resize

Latest Post on The British English Podcast Blog:

FREE Resources

All you need to do is to sign up for FREE and all the resources below are available for you to enjoy!

About Your Teacher

Charlie Baxter

Teacher, Podcast Host, YouTuber
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.

It focuses on British culture, informal expressions, accent and history that is all unique to the UK.

Charlie has spent 6000+ hours teaching intermediate-advanced students since 2014 privately on Skype and has seen a lot of different styles of learning and while he believes there will never be a single CORRECT way to improve your English there are a large number of methods that people use that do waste people's time and prevent them from improving quickly.

So Charlie decided to create The Academy because he believes he knows a VERY effective way to improve your English quickly and enjoyably.

What do I get when I join?

Drag to resize
  The FULL TRANSCRIPT of every single episode

  Access to ALL INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED PHRASES with contextualised definitions in the EXTENDED GLOSSARIES

  EXCLUSIVE VIDEOS that breaks down the best expressions from each episode.

  QUIZZES to check if you understand how to actually use the expressions in a sentence.

  PRONUNCIATION PRACTICE audio files are included for the 'hard to speak' expressions.


  BONUS video or audio content for some episodes

  A NEW episode released every single week!

  Weekly Speaking Classes - BRAND NEW!
Drag to resize
Write your awesome label here.