Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's Not Funny Being an Englishman

Written by The Expectant Father


You know, it's not that easy being an Englishman. We're despised the world over because of the actions of our ancestors (Let me again apologise for “Carry on up the Khyber”, I can assure you lessons have been learnt.). But I can assure you, it isn't any easier being an Englishman in England. Every day there's a great pressure on you. Let me explain.

I was born into the English middle classes. This meant I inherited a great tradition that has been passed from generation to generation of middle classer: a duty to aspire to become an upper classer.

An aspiration that is rarely achieved but one that must be followed nonetheless. In our futile pursuit of this goal, us middle classers behave as we think the upper classers would. We are polite, dignified, gracious and always, always terrified of offending others.

It is mainly this fear of offending and the shame that it might bring that keeps us middle classers going. In Japan, if you have shamed yourself or your family the popular options is hari-kiri. In England, things are not so easy. You have to endure years of dirty looks, Baines not inviting you to the Norfolk Broads on his yacht and having your car parking space taken away from you at work. This is clearly intolerable.

So the Englishman has developed an anti-shame defense mechanism, the “stiff upper lip”. This is not acquired by a white collar-starching accident but by years of institutionalised bullying and abuse. It enables an Englishman never to show his emotions (or otherwise behave inappropriately). It is endless useful, as there is no greater shame for an Englishman than to allow his to lip to wobble. Even when watching his dearest, most loyal and trusted hound/butler being put to sleep. It is embarrassing for him and more importantly it is embarrassing for the vet.

The stiff upper lip comes into play with an Englishman's children too. Children are dirty, noisy, disobedient and, in all, just plain offensive. It is best to leave the wife to look after one's offspring. On top of this, an Englishman is too busy wondering why Baines hasn't invited him to the Norfolk Broads on his yacht this weekend to be dealing with children. Unless, that is, his children need disciplining. Dishing out a jolly good spanking, like those he received at Boarding School, is the sole responsibility an Englishman has towards his children. If he shows them he loves or cares about them in any way, they will not respect him nor fear his spankings.

Yes, the stiff upper lip is an Englishman's metaphorical “back bone” (the back bone is his literal “back bone”).

But a funny thing happened on the way to me becoming a father: I discovered maybe I wasn't such a stereotypically Englishman after all. My stiff upper lip has disappeared; I cried when my wife had a miscarriage a year ago and I cried again when she told me she was pregnant this time. And God help me, I'm pretty sure I'll cry when I hold my son in my arms for the first time. What's more, I'm going to be the one staying at home to look after him. As I'm not the violent type, spankings are out of the question but will I be able to show my son I love him?

As an expectant father it's something I genuinely worry about. Nearly as much as worrying why Baines hasn't invited me to the Norfolk broads on his yacht this weekend...


Ian gave up his job as an exotic dancer in the Gin Joints of Lichfield to become an Expectant Father"

8 comments:

Suburban Oblivion said...

Interestingly enough I married an Englishman, and I certainly see a bit of him in this piece. He's by far the most ambitious man I've ever met!

Mama Zen said...

Very cool post. It's not that often that we get Dad's point of view.

nutmeg said...

Yea, but y'all have that sexy accent to go with the lip and the backbone.

Ian said...

Hey Y'all.. no I just can't pull it off.. What-oh!

I'm glad you like the post.

Suburban Oblivion - Ah, it was ambitious men like your husband that won us our Empire. I hope he is also gracious when he rightly has to give Empires back ;)

Mama Zen - When you start digging there's quite a few Daddy bloggers. Try the BlogFathers or DadCentric for some top quality Daddy Blog Hub action.

Nutmeg - Thanks for the compliment. To keep up the pretence of us English having sexy accents I'd advise you to not to speak to anyone from Birmingham.

melody said...

I love reading posts of daddy bloggers. I think I enjoy knowing SAHD become as hysterically insane as SAHM. Oh, didn't mean to scare you since you're an expectant father. It's all good. I promise. ;)

Stay at home dad said...

We are generally, it has to be said, hysterically insane.

Enjoyed that very much and cried at those same points too. (Actually at the birth I might have been beyond tears by then...)

Sahd.

Ian said...

Thanks both for the encouraging words ;)

To be honest, I only signed up to the staying at home part because of the prospect of insanity!

Blogger said...

I've just installed iStripper, and now I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my desktop.

Featured Post and Blog of the Week



You Are Here

by Amie from
MammaLoves...


You did well in school to get into college. You tried to get by well enough in college to be attractive to an employer or graduate program, and along the way you may have opened your heart a time or two. Maybe you even found true love.

With a foot in the door, the first years of work were the time to
prove your mettle once again. Promotions, raises all with the goal to secure your future will allow you to settle down, buy a house, travel, commit to a relationship, have kids or not. In what feels like a blink of an eye, your future is here.

And now what?


Read the full post...

Chance Favors Only Those Who Court Her

by Debbie from Missives from Suburbia


After a less-than-friendly divorce, I was on the market again. Seizing the opportunity, my friends scoured their address books and Palm Pilots for single men and set me up on blind date after blind date. My reaction to most of those dates was, "I call these people my FRIENDS?" One of my real friends suggested Match.com, and given how much I love the Internet, I gave it a go.

A couple months of e-dating passed by in a blink. It was fun, but so far nothing meaningful had hit my radar, and my match inventory was starting to run low. You see, Match.com "matches" you to people based on a list of your requirements, and I'd pretty much run through all my existing matches who didn't seem psycho or stoned, based on their profiles.

Then, one day, I got an email from a guy who was not a match by my standards...

Read the full post...

A Lost Opportunity

by John from Altjiranga Mitjina


Trying to break in as a writer in the comic book industry can be a bit like the one legged man in a butt kicking contest. Every step forward you make means you land on your butt after your kick forward. Comic books are a visual medium. An artist can bring a portfolio to an editor at a convention and said editor can sit there and look at it within minutes and decide if this artist is worthy of working on the newest issue of Stupendous Man or not. Trying being a hopeful writer handing over a script to this same editor at a busy comic convention. You’ll be lucky if the editor agrees to take the script and promise that they’ll look at it later. Most times the hopeful writer is told to send for their submission guidelines and mail in their proposal.

The best way for a writer is to find an aspiring artist and hook up...

Read the full post...

Jesus Toothpaste!

by Karen Rayne from Adolescent Sexuality Today with Karen Rayne, Ph.D.


This weekend I went out of town, leaving my family to fend for themselves. On Saturday, my darling husband took my two darling daughters – 6 and 3 years old – to what he heard was a fun new toy store in town. Great, right?

They walk in the door, and the 6-year-old pipes up with “Look, Daddy! Jesus toothpaste!” He takes one look, puts one hand on each girl’s shoulder, and does a 180 out of the store. It may be a fun new toy store, but it’s intended clientele does not include the under-13 set.

When I got home on Sunday, the first thing the 6-year-old says to me was, “Guess what! We saw Jesus toothpaste!” I blinked, figuring I hadn’t heard her correctly. Regrettably, I had...

Read the full post...

A biker, a green thumb, a cracked hand, and a Queen.

by Megan from Velveteen Mind, originally guest posted at Queen of Spain


A random biker on a Harley-Davidson took my picture last week. What I wanted to do was take his picture, but I hesitated. Now, instead of a photo of some random biker holding an i am bossy.com bumper sticker, all I have is a lame photo of me holding the bumper sticker and the mental picture of him riding off into the sunset, never to be seen again.

Okay, it wasn’t as romantic or dramatic as that. It was nine in the morning and there was no sunset.

This is not the first time that I have hesitated to seize an opportunity. I don’t expect it will be the last. However, I hope with each lost chance for something intriguing, I will lose a shade of that hesitation for next time...

Read the full post...