After reading some of the pretty ignorant articles about Europe in this newspaper in the past weeks, I thought it was about time someone put the record straight. So for any of you with a sense of humor who are planning to pack your bags and cross the "Irony Curtain," read on.
An American tourist going to England suffers from several disadvantages. Previous travelers from these shores have won Americans a reputation for ignorance, arrogance and a lack of manners.
As we all know, this is completely undeserved. It is up to you intelligent people to set the record straight.
To achieve this aim, you might wish to avoid statements such as, "We bailed you out in two wars." Apart from the glaring historical inaccuracies in this statement, you might be questioned about the two-year "time-out" America took before entering the fray. You might wish instead to emphasize our skills at working together, etc. and pretend that Britain is still a global power of note. This will be a blatant lie but will ensure a better reception.
Contrary to popular opinion, British people are not completely dominated by American trends when it comes to fashion. Yes, you make good films, but that doesn't mean we all slavishly follow the fashions in them. This is the case for the majority of nations with the possible exception of some Eastern European states and various South American lands still obsessed with jeans and the shape of a Coke bottle.
There are certain fashion differences a seasoned traveler might already be aware of. A sun visor worn backward is hugely offensive to the average Brit and only permissible on a golf course. This will be particularly relevant if this ridiculous garment is worn in a nightclub. The average British nightclub is a place for drinking, dancing and fighting. Most self-respecting soccer hooligans will see it as an affront to their manhood if you venture onto their "patch" with such millenary, so for your own safety do not wear it.
The hairstyle known as the "bowl cut" will be viewed with equal animosity. The fact that UNC Student Body President Brad Matthews sports such a vicious example of this fashion hari-kari should not influence you. If you are currently cursed with this affliction, especially if it is dyed blonde, shave it off.
You also will need to be aware of an obscure London law. It is illegal to wear socks with sandals. This is an ancient law dating back to the Battle of Agincourt when French mercenaries used to favor this dress. Last year, a German tourist was convicted for the first time with "offending public decency" by wearing socks and sandals in Trafalgar Square. He is currently in the Tower of London, serving a 10-year stretch. There now is a special division of the Metropolitan Police who speed around the city on specially converted scooters looking out for offenders.
They might also prosecute if they see the infamous "mullet haircut." You have been warned: There is no excuse.