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What Brits Could Learn from the Poles

This is now long overdue, back in May I promised a sequel to my earlier post What Poles Could Learn from the Brits, and here it comes – the chance to retaliate and pick on the Brits, or “Angole” – as we call them in Polish slang.

Fiat 126p - Polish 'Maluch'

Going through my list of points to mention in relation to this, I can’t help but think that they all seem to revolve around the ‘fun’ department. Now, Poles may be a melancholic and disgruntled folk on an every day basis, but we sure know how to have fun when it comes to it. For example, parties held at home are so much better than pub get-togethers. Yes, you do have to make some effort preparing them and with cleaning up, but the atmosphere is also so much better. And no one worries about catching the last bus at 11pm – that’s when the party really gets going. At 3am, any sofa or armchair is as good as your own bed, so why not stay for breakfast as well…

Polish parties can also be completely spontaneous. You drop in at your friends after work for a quick chat, and before you notice the table magically fills with some nice nibbles and snacks (Poles are good at making party food out of nothing), a chilled bottle of vodka and you find yourself talking until the early hours about life, the universe and the meaning of friendship.

Not far off partying, is dancing. Brits could definitely learn from Poles how to dance. It is one of the most important social skills for every man (particularly for men, as it comes more naturally to women) to learn a few basic dance steps. Guys who can dance (as in, lead their dance partner) are really in high demand amongst women and so they would only be doing themselves a favour by changing their reticent British attitude. It is somehow embarrassing in Britain for men to dance, but excellence in swinging with your beer glass just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Talking of beer, I am a great fan of the British ale, even though it does take some getting used to. But when it comes to lager beer (Polish equivalent of ‘piwo jasne‘) the Brits have just no clue. Carling? Fosters? That’s perhaps good for rinsing your teeth, but surely not for enjoyment as an ‘alcoholic’ drink? Why take a bland beer from Australia (brewed under license in the UK) as one of your staple pub drinks, when you could be importing the best from the masters of brewing on the ‘continent’? Germany, the Czech Republic or Poland would be far better suppliers of good quality lager. The trouble with the Brits is that drinking beer in this country is not about enjoyment, refreshment on a hot sunny day or the quality of taste – it is about the number of pints you can manage per hour. No offence to my British friends, there are of course exceptions.

Another observation that springs to mind, is the question of elegance. Poles tend to be more elegant than Brits in general, but also dress up for many special occasions to mark their importance. Christmases, Easters, birthdays and baptisms all warrant putting on a special dress in a woman’s case, or wearing a suit and a tie in a man’s case. In Britain, the only occasion where I have seen people make a real effort to dress up are weddings. Don’t you all British girls and women just die waiting to show off your evening dresses a bit more often? Is a Christmas family dinner nothing more than yet another meal so ‘I might as well wear the same T-shirt that I had on when washing my car this morning’? Brits should definitely learn how to make special occasions special.

OK, I think I am done with my tirade. Got it off my chest and I feel much better now. I hope none of my British family members and friends take any of what I have said above personally. I love you as you are and you have welcomed me in your country, but as an expat I do miss Polishness and want to celebrate what is good about it. Just like you would miss you baked beans for breakfast in Poland.







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