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making a face
Don't take yourselves too seriously Frenchies!A Few days ago a British friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go with her to Sandpit8. Of course, I had absolutely no idea what this was. So, she explained to me it was a festival of “urban games”. Ok she's a bit odd, thought I. Or, more precisely, Londoners are. Never the less, intrigued, I decided to look it up on the Internet, . It turns out the dubious sounding "urban game" is actually a massive project of Hide and Seek in London. As I said, slightly odd. Then, I remembered that a few weeks ago my boss told me she had spent the weekend with friends taking part in a treasure hunt… Most odd! This made me wonder: what exactly is going on with British people? This seemed to be a reversal of the typical French/British stereotypes: Surely the French are the bon-viveurs, the relaxed fun-loving people whilst the Brits are the ever so slightly constipated nation; but could you imagine just for one second French grown-ups playing Hide and Seek in Paris? I can’t…
Do the Brits never grow up? I was eight when my parents organized my last treasure hunt in Montmartre for my birthday party. The last time I went to a masked ball with a beautiful princess dress, I couldn't have been more than six; but since I've been in London I haven't been able to escape the numerous fancy-dress and themed-party invitations. Now, it could be that I just happen to socialise with a group of rather childish people (this was indeed my first reaction), but then, I realised that even bars and clubs are organizing such events: Since I've been here I have attended an Irish dancing party, an African ball, a quiz bar, a billiard competition and received an invitation to an Amy Winehouse party, which I wisely decided against… Too much is too much!
What a surprise! I was absolutely convinced that British people were much more uptight than the French. I thought that, moving to London, I was going to learn how to drink my cup of tea whilst lifting my little finger. How could I imagine I would become an expert in table-football and dressing-up? And yet, playing seems to be, as the French would say, their "raison de vivre". I read in an amusing guide about London that it was really a national passion. One girl stated she was hooked on table-football, her mother on bingo, her uncle on quizzes, her father on darts and her aunt on casino. In comparison I know my sister enjoys playing tarot and my brother chess. But I would definitely not call these passions. This is not the case for British people. They are such players that the National Lottery handles big money everyday. And, when I say big money I mean about £40 millions a day. The British national lottery is the second one in the world in terms of benefits and yet it is a very recent creation (only since 1994).
Well, most of the time being addicted to games doesn’t have that type of reward. Most of the time, it is just about fun. Brits don’t take themselves seriously. That's all. And, well, this unfortunately is not one of the French's many qualities… French grown-ups drink wine whilst debating world issues, philosophise, have a slight tendency to put on airs and are occasionally self-absorbed. British people on the other hand still drink like teenagers, role-play, play board games… So where would you prefer to have a party? For me, the choice is clear. Believe me, if the first time you have to put a costume on is hard because you feel so self-conscious, you will quickly get used to it and, even get to like it. Join me: reconcile yourself with your inner-child!
Don’t be offended French people. The Brits are generally better than you at partying but they still have their confusing "sense of humour" and their weddings are well-known for being extremely boring whereas ours are much more fun. Besides, it seems the trend might be catching on on the other side of the channel: French people are increasingly inclined to dress-up and are less and less ashamed to do so. Well, I'm not sure I know a lot of French people who would dare to go to college costumed before going to a fancy-dress party but Paris may have changed since I left…only a few months ago.
Eventually, once again, it may be that British people simply can't do it like others: they have to find their own way to party... and they certainly have. Bloody Brits!