Wearing my ‘New York Face’ in the UK

Twice in the last two weeks I have gotten myself into trouble by wearing my “New York Face” in the UK. That is, I was walking down the street facing straight ahead, minding my own business, and not making eye contact with total strangers on the street. I also tend not to speak back to large burly British men, even when (or perhaps especially when) spoken to. It was this lack of response that caused a mild uproar in both cases. One ‘gentleman’ called me a c*nt and the other called me a “fat cow” when I did not respond to approaches beginning with “excuse me, miss” on the street. These experiences have led me to believe that the Brits are really in favor of extremes. They are either extraordinarily polite or stunningly rude with very little or no middle ground. And apparently my “New York Face” is not considered an appropriate visage for England.

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One response to “Wearing my ‘New York Face’ in the UK

  1. There’s an interesting recent post at languagehat.com that has prompted readers to discuss the relative frequency and potency of several epithets in the UK vs. the US. It might explain a bit more about what happens when New York face meets UK mouth…

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