You know what I’ve never given much thought to? The fact that English speaking people can really be divided by a common language. One can probably deduce, simply from my blog writing, that I’m from the states — specifically because I use words such as ‘like’ in the place of commas. Speaking to me, and the rest of the U.S.A., however is much worse, because ‘like’ becomes a vocalized comma in the moments where we are thinking about what we want to say next. I’ve always, like, admired the U.K., because they do this clever thing where they just stop talking if they have nothings else to say. I don’t know what the hell the problem is across the pond, but we use so many filler words; “um” and over-extended “weeellllllllll’s;” “you know’s” and other heinous crimes to the language are common place when speaking to an American. God forbid one of us has an accent, to really rock the boat in the game of deciphering what the hell we’re talking about. It’s funny, I’ll be talking to foreign exchange students here at the university I attend, and I’ll say something so stupid that they literally have to just take a moment and squint to see if I’m real.
Here in the South, we remove the ‘g’ from the end of most words, just sayin’ so our, already, ridiculous version of the English language only goes down hill. It’s usually sobering when out-of-towners hear y’all used so frequently. But you get used to it. Soon, you just join in and become one of us.
Sometimes, I feel like it’s time to hit the reset button on the language in America.
But back to my point, the U.S. speaks a very different version of english than the U.K. And with that, certain words come with different meanings. Words that are harmless in America, become ticking time bombs of miscommunication to those from the U.K. For example, I found this out the hard way — this very day — when talking to one of the aforementioned foreign exchange students from, shit I think she said Durham? … If that’s even a real place? Anyway, somewhere in the fucking United Kingdom. Needless to say, she had what — we Americans — will call a British accent. It doesn’t really matter how broad that statement is; if there is a significant enough difference in the phonetics, and it sounds close enough to something we’ve heard on BBC, or resembles Benedict Cumberbatch in any way, shape, or form — it’s a British accent.
So she had a British accent and she was from Durham (?) and I was absolutely enthralled by the way she spoke. That’s another thing about a lot of Americans. We love just about any accent other than our own. Australian, Irish, British, French; you name it. We’ll even accept a smooth New York accent as exotic on a bad day.
Well, we were talking and somehow I got on this anecdote about a time when one of my little cousins was acting up.
“I couldn’t get her to, like, settle down. She was on a sugar craze or something so I had to resort to giving her a little swat on the fanny.”
Inside the United States of America, the wheels on the bus are still going round and round. Nothing is out of order and any U.S. citizen would continue listening to see how the plot ends. However, this was not the case. A horrified look washed over her face, as if I had slaughtered a small puppy right in front of her. I stopped talking, immediately, wondering what I had done wrong. Cracking under the pressure, I quickly calculated that apparently people in the U.K. must not spank children. So I try to save the day.
“It was just a small tap, nothing dramatic. Really, it’s common practice to swat fanny’s here in the U.S,” I said sympathetically.
Can I just say that normally, I would have chosen a more adult term like “ass,” but I try not to cuss too much in front of strangers, and fanny seemed like the most appropriate way to label the posterior.
Apparently, fanny doesn’t hold true to it’s meaning when traveling across the ocean.
What I had said, in this poor foreign exchange student’s mind, was that me and the rest of America swat small children on the vagina as punishment.