Don’t be a stranger

How many people do you meet every day in London? 

And I’m not talking those one-off randomly met people but buddies you actually interact and regularly share a bunch of meaningful moments with. So, probably, not that many?!

One who lives in London must be prepared to making new acquaintances all the time, new friends, sometimes a new love, as much as to seeing them suddenly set off for good. Think of a colleague leaving the office, a friend relocating in another city or out of the country, a relationship that ends with no ill feelings, or simply a pleasant acquaintance moving on, going places, other places, even in the same town. And with the city being so broadly spread, you as a Londoner are very aware that you’re not going to see them as much as you used to. And it lets you down.

“Take care of yourself, and don’t be a stranger.”

They all become strangers eventually, if not all, most of them. You’ll have lived some beautiful moments and experiences together, you’ll have created a bond, you’ll have shared some of your inner thoughts and feelings that you’re maybe still unsure of or simply haven’t fully bloomed yet – just because time wasn’t enough. You’ll have concentrated all your efforts in that little amount of time because there’s no right amount of time you should wait for to expose yourself to that person. Even if they eventually become a stranger. Or you do.

You promise yourself you won’t make the same mistake, that you’ll be more cautious next time. But you’re a Londoner and you’ll fall into the same loop once again. 

It all starts on a random Friday night at your local pub; you meet them and get to spend the night together, then the weekend. You discover how much the two of you have in common, or more, that they are such a surprise you couldn’t hope it to be. You understand each other from the very first minute, and before you realise it, you know you don’t want them to be strangers. So when the farewell time comes and they’re about to hop on that train, you will not want to lose them, and you’ll come clean, quietly, stammering: “I love you.” 

How many people do you meet every day in London? Hundreds, probably thousands. They might all just be strangers, or they might as well become a wonderful part of your life. 

Truth is, there will never be a right time to give it try, and you may never be going to see them again. That one might be your last time, they might be the last strangers you meet. 

They might as well be your last, one, true love. 



Jim
The Britalian Post

The 5 second rule

Some people really say odd stuff when approaching somebody they like.

For instance, I personally freak out and start struggling with my English – so I’m likely to talk crap. In fact, I believe we should count to 5 at least before spitting out random words.

But there’s worse.

I met this girl last Thursday at the Revolution Bar in Bank who approached me by making a really awkward entrance.

After making some comments on my rings, she went on asking if I was a peaceful person.

I counted to 5, answered positively and she carefully listened. But then she came close to my face spreading her eyelids wide open, and very nervously croaked:
SO WHY AM I ALWAYS THIS FUCKING ANGRY???!!! AH, TELL ME!!!

I had barely 5 seconds to say something right and save myself.

“Erm…”, 4 seconds now.

COME ON, TELL ME, TELL ME DAMN WHY?!”, she shouted.

2 seconds – my English was crashing and I was going to screw up.

1 second. It’s over! Come on Jim, say anything…

I opened my mouth and stammered: “perhaps, it’s because of this city being too… stressful…?!”

She started literally growling and put that serial killer type of face on. I thought she would start hitting me badly when she suddenly calmed down and tamely whispered: “Yeah, I think you’re right… Btw, what’s your name?”

In those 5 seconds preceding my answer, I looked at her and realised she not only was very young (and pretty), she was also new to the work environment and that super fast-paced London life. She was dealing with being far from friends and family, with new responsibilities, with loneliness – and perhaps, with that tremendous fear of growing up. And maybe that night she only needed to act out for 5 seconds.

Or she was just crazy as fuck!!!

“Erm…Sorry, I should probably go…”

Jim
The Britalian Post

The social compromise

A captivating style, an alluring outfit, is something that many look to achieve – even if it means wearing those ball-squeezing skinny jeans (ouch!) that pump up your butt and define your legs.

The clothing you choose is more or less the upshot of what you like wearing and what makes you feel like you look good. But this “looking good” changes according to the circumstances you find yourself in.

For this reason, based on the situation, “looking good” becomes a social compromise.

Aware of appearances always coming first, that Essex girl knew a thing or two about social compromises. In fact, she had to dress up for work – but in her daily life, she would opt for ripped jeans and brazen hoodies. According to her friends, that just wasn’t adequate for a lady, and she‘d have to show more flesh if she wanted to be noticed. Then, I mean, if someone needs to take an accurate look at your boobs before even hearing you pronouncing your name, just make sure it’s worth agreeing to that social compromise.

As a result, appearances lead us to act accordingly: by adapting our look to different circumstances and to what people would want us to look like. We get so deeply influenced that, eventually, all that is left of us is nothing but pure appearance.

Even that Essex girl had to take a step back, follow her friends’ wise advice and abide by that social compromise:

“If you don’t like what I’m wearing, you can just go fuck yourselves!”

Jim
The Britalian Post

I’m staying

Spent last night at Leadenhall Market among a bunch of drunk-ass smart-dressed City chaps celebrating a birthday.

For the first half or so, I was shyly hiding behind a friend for feeling too out of context and totally unable to fit in, and for a moment, I started thinking: should I stay or should I go?

The environment of the City, which sometimes you feel like being a boastful space full of cocky and materialistic blowhards, appears to be a tight-knit circle where prejudice and discrimination connotate the general opinion towards strangers, or immigrants. A person like me – with that accent and not dressed up alike – surely catches their attention, and thus their ire.

Turns out I was a victim of my own prejudice.

It simply was a great night – I was dragged in hilarious jokes, interesting chats and drunken group singing. I was treated equally and why would it be otherwise?

For how different our worlds can be, most times our own prejudice clouds our own judgement.

So, honestly, doesn’t matter what Theresa May says or does, what people voted for or didn’t.

I’m staying.

Jim
The Britalian Post

Passing by…

We often say that people in London are extremely individualistic, that they don’t like interacting with passers-by and always treat others indifferently.

This morning, an old lady hopped on the 67 bus route to Wood Green and came sitting right next to me. Smiling, she said something to gain my attention.

Maybe she only wanted to exchange a few nice words with somebody, have a quick and pleasant conversation before ending up at home on her chair.

But I’ll never know. Because I totally ignored her and barely smiled back.

The fact that I was focused on some reading and listening to music doesn’t count as an excuse, and I didn’t even have the decency of taking off my earphones, ask her to repeat herself and how her day was so far.

We often say that people in London are extremely individualistic, and judging by my own behaviour, this is so damn true.

Jim
The Britalian Post

How to find your perfect British partner in 4 steps

When you’ve lived in London for a while, you’ve finally embraced the local habits – the lifestyle, the culture – perhaps it’s also about time you’re hoping to settle down for good or at least give it a try. Step by step, after becoming a proper Londoner, you’re thinking of looking for a pure, genuine, incomprehensible, Brit-born and -bred partner. Firstly, because…come on, dating a pure British fellow is so damn cool, innit?! Secondly, it’s another opportunity for you to blend in the local culture – so yeah, cool again.

Therefore, after gathering some tips and tricks from various people (mostly Brits), here are the 4 steps on how to find your perfect British partner.

1. Join happenings

Pick a nice spot – a club, a venue that throws themed nights, a small and intimate gig – or any trendy and popular event in London. Possibly choose new wave, revival, hipster clubs/bars and festivals over heavy techno discotheques and exclusive clubs. They’re so posh and swank that nobody will give a damn about you unless you have a serious amount of paper. Or drugs.

Pro tip: Don’t go to the Zoo Bar or the O’Neill! Not because they’re bad places (actually really fun at times), but remember that you’re looking for a “perfect” British partner, not for la crème de la crème of the daily immigration flow. Focus only on places Brits would plan on going to.

Choose a decent outfit – possibly a mix between alternative, hipster and casual. That makes you more appealing to pure Brits. H&M, Pull&Bear and Bershka can give a good variety of pretty cheap options for stylish clothing and…”60 FUCKING QUID FOR A PAIR OF JEANS?” Yeah…well…
Unless you just don’t give a shit! In that case, right, who fucking cares?!

Now, if you’re good-looking, an eccentric and intriguing person, and you got a cheeky and engaging attitude, you’re already halfway to victory. If you feel like you might struggle with your appearance, bet on your genius mind and make your other features stand out.

Unless you’re a total loser!

Pro tip: Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Beauty is subjective and goes beyond a pretty face or a fit body. Stay as you are; if people like you, they’ll like you anyway.

If you suck…well, you’ll just suck anyway!

2. Look around and interact

Don’t be shy, don’t hide in a corner keeping your head down all night long. Have a look at the crowd instead and spot types you like at first sight. Find occasions to interact with people – whether they’re boys or girls – and be friendly with everybody. That’ll help you join bigger groups but bear in mind that you’ll have to buy rounds for perfect strangers because (fuck this shit!) that’s just part of the game. While waiting to be served at the bar, start with the usual “Hey how’s it going?”, “What drink is that?”, “Sorry guys, can I bother you for a filter (or a cigarette)?”, “What does that tattoo say?”, “Hey, what’s that accent from?”, etc. This has proved not to be a lame approach, and if it doesn’t work, don’t give up and keep trying. Not all people are eager to start a conversation, but some are, so go for it!

Pro tip: Don’t be a fucking pain in the ass!!!

3. Make the move

Wowowowo, hold your horses!

Once you’ve identified the type you like, deepen the conversation and try to get to know as much as you can of that person. Ask many questions (maybe not boring stuff), show interest – you know, that kind of shit. Once you realise there’s a mutual interest, make the move: slow down and ask for their number.

You will contact him/her the day after – better let the clock hands go full circle before you write anything. Yeah, anyway, just don’t do anything hasty! Then, according to the social rules, you’ll let the boy make that first move. Actually, since we are pretty evolved, either of you can do it, right?!

Then be patient and wait for a reply.

Think back to everything you said to each other. Remember the smiles, the laughter, the flirting, your fingers playing with theirs. Think of their look, their eyebrows bending in bashfulness. Think of the fun thing they said and that you misunderstood because your English sucks; it was too noisy there and you were not really paying attention because your dumb mind was already lost into them. Isn’t that it?!

Think of that unusual spark you sensed because that person was simply perfect – perfect for you.

Imagine the first date, the first excitement, the “Sorry, can you say that again?”, and the embarrassing moments of silence followed by smirky laughs.

Picture the first kiss, the vibe, those weird shivers down your spine – even if it’s just a simple kiss. Imagine exploring London together; seeing the city lights from the Millennium Bridge, the busker tuning up that one song down Southbank, the intimate spots near Borough Market, and those Sunday drinks on Primrose Hill.

Picture taking them to your hometown, showing them the beauty of your city, the places where you grew up, the squares of the endless nights of your university period; the food and the local specialties, the restaurant on the hill, the breathtaking panorama that even you had forgotten about and that enchants you every time you see it. So while up there, you get distracted for a moment – they stroke you and ask “Hey what’s up?” You smile and say “Nothing”. Imagine getting home quietly not to wake up your parents, whispering jokes that you’re not sure you understand and then sleeping together in your bed.

Dream of all the other fantastic things you’ll do together and how you won’t still be able to believe that you’ve finally found your perfect British partner.

Imagine just how beautiful would this all be.

Meanwhile, you’re still waiting for their reply and plenty of booze has knocked you out.

4. Follow-up

You wake up the day after with a bit of a headache – you are probably hanging for the wild night – and you go check your phone. Nothing – you keep waiting. That text back never comes and you’ll never hear back from them; you realise they’ve just vanished like they never existed, like that moment never happened.

You think you should add them on Facebook, write another direct message, say something more, something different. You start wondering what’s wrong with you – if your first text wasn’t too silly to be even elaborated and you should have typed something better, something clever.

Eventually, your dream suddenly starts crumbling and you feel like shit ’cause you’ve failed once again.

. . .

And you know what? It won’t really matter.

Because that one was clearly not your perfect British partner. Because there are no best steps to get to know one or maybe your perfect partner is not even British.

In the end, you’ll know you have learned a really important lesson. You’ve learned about the cool events around London and that they’re worth being attended. You’ve learned that you enjoy being around, that all in all you are really an interesting person, that people like you; you’ll have overcome your shyness, made a new and unexpected experience you’ll be willing to tell, and that you can’t wait to do it again.

You’ve learned that you just have to live it daily, to get to know people every time you can – to be social, open-minded – and that sooner or later that perfect partner will come, whether they’re British or not. Because the perfect partner is worth the wait, is worth failing for, is worth becoming a better person.

And remember, your perfect partner will be looking for you as much as you’ll be looking for them.

Unless you’re a complete loser!

Jim
The Britalian Post

A London bbq

Oh, Britons are so weird!

Their classy and composed speaking, their messy and uneducated eating, their stone cold behaviour and aggressively drunk manners along with their unstable position in relationships – distant, indifferent, uninterested. Sometimes you wonder about what they feel like, if they feel something; how they handle their daily life, their BBC, their afternoon tea, and that thing they call ‘latte(y)’.

LATTE(y)???
Yeah, apparently they’ve discovered some evolution of cappuccino for us still unknown.

Speaking of which, our friends threw a bbq a couple of days ago to celebrate a mate’s bday.
With the rare fantastic weather being the perfect background – steaks, burgers, sausages and much more flipping on the grill, diffusing a drooling flavour that accompanied the entertaining tunes played through the Bluetooth speaker – 30ish people were swallowing cans of beer like they were nuts.
And sure thing, they were really nuts!

Among the number of countries that showed up on that day, I can recall Spain, Brazil, Austria, Germany, Peru, Slovakia, Italy and, well well well, England. Yes, one of the sophisticated Britons had honoured us with his presence. And whether it was for the alcohol making them sociable or the folks there just being naturally friendly, all went along with each other – judging by the loud Spanish-blasted laughter and the Italians-led group dancing.

You know London itself is practically a huge bbq – a place where different types of meats are cooked on the same irons creating a unique taste.

With a closer look though, I realised that we strangers were the ones who were grouping up per country/language, setting the others aside. The English dude instead was the only one who was ping-ponging from group to group to socialise with everybody.

Wait a minute.
We often talk about Brexit, about being left apart from a number of Britons who are segregating us for being immigrants. Whereas, sometimes I feel like it’s us who are exiting them – taking ownership of a space that doesn’t belong to us and we should appreciate more, and not being excluding individuals who are giving us the opportunity to remain.

So while I was totally zoned out having this random thought, I turned towards him and he was sitting there choking himself with a stripe of steak he hadn’t cut.

“Oh, dude, I can’t take you anywhere.”

Jim
The Britalian Post

Comprehension is hard

Comprehension is hard.

Even if you’re good at languages and speak one regularly, you will never own it as much as a native does, and will always experience some issues when trying to express yourself or understand what others are saying.

Simply said: you suck!

I remember the time I started watching the first episode of Game of Thrones and how weird it felt when I realised I couldn’t catch a damn thing. So I sat in front of the tv to pay more attention and began to wonder if they were using some of those made-up languages like in The Lord of the Rings.

After a few lines, I started grasping a couple of random words here and there and…of course it‘s English, you ignorant dickhead! Given so, I put subtitles on and dialogues became much clearer. More or less.

That made me think about how freaking awesome would it be if all people spoke with subtitles. Can you picture it? Like, when somebody’s talking, you actually see these words in white that flow right above the chest. Can you imagine how everything would just be easier? Communicating would be so simple, misunderstandings and awkward moments would no longer happen. Above all, you’d always know what to say back; even better, you’d always have something to say.

However, when you have subtitles, you tend to focus more on the reading rather than on the listening, more on the words than on what one’s seeking to express.

She wouldn’t get you wanted more than just screw her – you know…guys with their perverse mind, right?! Yet, when you told her you loved her, just right there by the river, when the night was over and you were drying her teardrops with your fingertips, she wouldn’t know what to say back.

“I…I don’t understand…”
“Punch me or run away!”

So she left.
But she didn’t turn her back, she slowly walked backwards holding your look until she disappeared behind that alley.

Sometimes, even if you say something clearly, if declaring a so ordinary and pure something should be really easy, you just end up like us when dealing with native English people. You got it: with that dumb fuck expression on! Because everybody will always focus on the meaning of the words rather than on what you’re desperately seeking to express.

That’s why we shouldn’t need subtitles. That’s why comprehension is hard.

That’s why you suck!

Jim
The Britalian Post

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