The Null Device

Horreurs anglaises

The latest commentator to attempt to nail the essence of Englishness is expatriate Frenchwoman Hortense de Monplaisir, currently resident off Fulham Road, as her husband is a grosse légume in the City:
There is a famous crêperie on the King’s Road. (We love crêpes, as we have kept in touch with simple pleasures.) As lumpen doughy pancakes were brought to the table with a pitiful garnish of anaemic lettuce and flavourless tomatoes, I wept. I gazed out at the rain and said: “I cannot do this.” My husband held my hand and looked quite wretched.
Having no talent for sex (or food), the English make a virtue of their deficiencies. What they really enjoy is going without. Rather than leave the office for a delicious lunch, they will pull out a Tupper-ware box of sandwiches. Instead of a soirée sensuelle, candlelit dinner followed by a night of love, they’ll go to the country to strip wallpaper, walk in the rain and sleep in a freezing cold bed.
In France, we are wary of the marchands de biens, dealers who buy and sell houses for profit, but in England everyone is a marchand de bien. The property ladder is the very essence of Englishness: a fusion of greedy profiteering and stay-at-home cosiness.

There are 1 comments on "Horreurs anglaises":

Posted by: Niall Wed Nov 7 20:40:36 2007

I'd also recommend the book "Touche" by Agnes Poirier, a brilliant comparison of the differences in French and English society and mentality. I read it this weekend after returning from a trip to Paris - most enjoyable book I've read all year, and a great companion to "Watching The English"...

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