Freelance Journalist, Editor, Copywriter and Author – Dubai

My Problem with British Men


I’m sure this post is going to cause something of a stir, and I usually try to steer clear of controversial topics because I cannot be bothered to deal with the stress of people swearing at me. However, this particular topic is one that I’m passionate about, so I do not care; I’m going to rant away.

If you ask any woman who isn’t from the UK to think of a British guy, she will invariably think along the lines of Colin Firth. Dashingly handsome, emotionally awkward, and the quintessential English gentleman, Colin Firth is the guy you would love to bring home to meet your mum. You can just tell that he’s someone who knows how to treat a lady – and yes, we may all be dreaming, but it’s better than believing that Russell Brand is as good as it gets. Most women who aren’t from the UK think Colin represents what a typical British guy is like – and that they all come complete with that accent.

I always feel bad about having to enlighten my international sisters with the truth, but I think it’s my duty to spread the word: British men are nothing like Colin Firth. The majority of them don’t talk like that, most of them aren’t particularly gentleman-like, and, no, none of them are going to recite poetry to you while you sit by an open fire.

I’ve had extensive experience of talking to guys over the years – guys from all corners of the globe, and unfortunately my compatriots really ruffle my feathers. So, what is my problem with British men? I’ll break it down for you.

 1.    They do not know how to chat women up

Your typical chat up line from a British guy will be something along the lines of “Nice tits, love.” Nice tits, love? Are you serious? First and foremost, if you’re going to try and chat to a woman, the last thing you want to do is make her feel like she is a porn star. Instead, you’re supposed to engage her in some way, whether it be by using your wit or your intelligence; you need to say something that’s going to make her think “Oh wow, I need to keep talking to this man.”

“Nice tits, love,” just isn’t going to cut it.

And if you feel the need to compliment a woman’s physical attributes (because, let’s face it, we do like it when men do that), you need to go the way of the Italians. The Italians really deserve an A star when it comes to dishing out the “I need to have more of you” compliments. The best line I’ve ever heard from an Italian was: “You have a beautiful shape.”

“You have a beautiful shape.”

“Nice tits, love.”

See where I’m going with this?

On top of the lack of appropriate lines, my British brothers can only seem to muster up the courage to chat a woman up when they’re drunk off their faces, which does not help their cause. They come across as leery, perverted and pathetic, and quite frankly, I hate nothing more than drunk idiots trying to talk to me. And grope me. Since when did I become your personal stress ball, moron?

Oh, and by telling me to “cheer up love” while I’m quietly trying to enjoy my drink you’re just asking for a bruising.

2.    They all think they can land a supermodel

Psychologists have found that on the whole people are attracted to people who are of similar attractiveness as themselves, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it – as much as we’d all like to think we’d be able to land George Clooney, the truth is only the likes of Stacy Keibler  and Elisabetta Canalis are going to manage that one.

British men, however, all think they have the ability to pull a Cheryl Cole lookalike (not that I think she’s particularly attractive, but she’s one of FHM’s (the British guy’s Bible) favourite pin ups, so I’ll go with her). They have no qualms in dismissing perfectly pretty girls, because most of them always think that they can do better.

I blame FHM and all ‘lads’ magazines, such as this lovely specimen. According to these publications, we’re all supposed to look like Barbie, complete with fake hair, an impossibly tiny waist and legs that stretch from Edinburgh to London. Quite frankly, I’d rather eat cake and have shit hair than land one of these guys anyway, so carry on.

3.    Lad culture

Most British guys are happy to call themselves ‘lads.’ Lad culture can be summarised in this quotation from the book Narcissism in High Fidelity: “Lads took up an anti-intellectual position, scorning sensitivity and caring in favour of drinking, violence and a pre-feminist and racist attitude to women as both sex objects and creatures from another species.”

In short, lads love football, beer and sex. They are brought up believing that exhibiting any sort of affection or emotions to members of the opposite sex is ‘weak’ and spend most of their lives trying to show how they’re ‘well hard.’

Out of all of this, it’s the attitude these guys have towards women that really gets to me. Fine, have your beer and your football (both of which I love), but it’s this ‘whatever’ stance a lot of these guys have towards women that really bugs me.

From my experience with British men, you spend most of the time second-guessing how they feel because they cannot seem to manage simple displays of affection in the way guys from other countries can. They feel the need to seem ‘aloof’ the whole time, which is just so unappealing to me.

I always used to compare British guys to Cypriots. Sure, Cypriot men have a lot of flaws themselves (I could write a whole blog entry on that, too), however, their saving grace is that they’re not afraid to show their true emotions towards a woman they’re pursuing. If they like you, they will let you know.

 4.    Their idea of romance is beer and a curry

I cannot claim to be the world’s most romantic person, however, I’d be a liar if I said that I don’t like being told sweet nothings from time-to-time. And, let’s face it, I’m a writer, so I like a man who isn’t afraid to express how he’s feeling, even if it’s just a simple text message to say how much he misses me.

British men seem to have skipped the part in the manual that teaches romance. I’m talking real romancing. Whatever happened to wining and dining a lady? Dates in the UK (if you can even call them that) usually entail a few pints in the local pub and maybe a movie, if you’re lucky. There’s no thought behind it.

And it needn’t be anything cheesy – I for one hate too much cheese unless it’s of the Brie variety, but come on lads, step up your game a bit. I can only speak for myself, but I’m sure that a lot of women feel the same – we’re all looking for a gentleman. Someone who isn’t afraid to show how he feels, someone who puts thought into the whole courtship part of a relationship, and someone who can think of a date that’s more original than pints and pies.

So these are the reasons I have a problem with British men, and, on the whole, I avoid them. Which is fine, I’m sure they’re not too enamored by me either.

Note: I cannot stress enough here that this is just the way I see things, and I’m more than aware that there are always exceptions to any rule. However, this is how I view the majority of them, and for this very reason, I gave up on them a long time ago.

  • Mo Heathcote

    While this post certainly touches on some valid truths that span across both British men and other nationalities, I have a valid truth of my own. Women do say they want a gentlemen, someone who cares for them and who would express their feelings even if it is just to say ‘I miss you’.

    But from my perspective, while they say they want that, when they do get that.. They ignore it.

    • admin

      Yes, you do have a point, but not all women are the same.

      Also, why do they always say that men like bitches? As women, we’re bombarded with information on how we should act aloof with men if we want them to fall for us, but from my experience, not all men are like that. Well, I’d like to think that not all men are like that!

  • DHD

    Nice blog but very stereotypical I think. Yes the ‘lad’ culture is a problem with Brits, along with beer and curry, do like a good Indain myself however.. Chat up lines..hmmm, you know what? maybe you’re right, thank God I’m Irish!!

    • admin

      Hello and thanks for stopping by 🙂 Yes, it’s very stereotypical…but it’s just an entertaining view of how I see things (I’d like to think it’s entertaining, anyway!). Jokes aside, I do always try to judge people on an individual basis! But sometimes, after one too many crap chat up lines, you just think SOD OFF!

      Ha – the Irish are a different story 🙂

      • DHD

        Ah well you should try a charming Irish gent out for size…:)

        • admin

          Hahaha – I do love the Irish accent 😉

          • DHD

            Sadly mine only creeps back when I go home or talk to my mother…… But for sure in a nice Irish brogue I would say (re your tits comment) you’re looking grand!.. 🙂

          • admin

            Hahaha – I can definitely take that more than great tits love 😉 Especially in an Irish accent – you’re onto a winner!

          • DHD

            maybe I should think of a good line to ask you out then…..? 🙂

          • admin

            Will depend entirely on the line! 🙂

  • Mo Heathcote

    True, and I know not all are the same but I’ve damn well seen enough of them that would ignore the person trying to be ‘expressive, caring or gentlemen-like’ and then go around and say that they want that.

    • admin

      We’re all very peculiar creatures. I wish I had all the answers, but a lot of the times, nothing makes sense!

      • Mo Heathcote

        Yeah, guess we all are. But anyways I’ve learned my lesson as you have learnt yours

        • admin

          Hmmm, the only lesson I’ve really learnt is to try and take each person as they are, on an individual basis…which, judging by the blog I’ve just posted, is a lesson I haven’t learnt too well!

          • Mo Heathcote

            Yeah I guess you do have to take individuals as they are, and I’ve certainly done that. Anyways, nice blog.

          • admin

            Thank you 🙂

  • star

    wow! that is exactly what i would like to know about them. But it is too late because I ve already hook up with one of them. 😉

    • admin

      Lol – hope he’s a good one at least? 😛

  • jess

    Hehe, the worst Brit chat up line I’ve ever heard is “cheer up love, you’re not *that* ugly!” I thought he was trying to insult me, but no, he was trying to chat me up. It didn’t work.

    There are good Brit guys though. Ok, Colin Firth is cream of the crop, so much like most americans aren’t on the same level as Brad Pitt, most of our Brit boys are no Colin Firth.

    I have a rule – avoid football fans. It’s a lads game, played by lads, watched by lads, getting a load of lads together in a stadium, pub or living room so that they may watch lads play a lads game.

    My advice to international ladies looking to bag a decent british man is to wait until match day, go to a bar that doesn’t have a TV while the game is on and start from there.

    • admin

      Interesting rule there, Jess! Hadn’t thought of that one before.

      I just don’t understand how they think that they’ll get anywhere by insulting women. The other thing that upsets me about British men is how aggressive they can get when you don’t respond to their shit banter. From wanting to chat you up, they start to abuse you and call you names. Like *that’s* going to help their cause.

      My rule is – avoid British men, full stop. It may be narrow minded of me, but I’ve just never had any good experiences with them!

      • jess

        I had a man once twist, and sprain, my wrist in a club because I didn’t want to “get off” with him. I never, ever, ever wonder if I should have married him.

        But there *are* decent british men. I have one. He’s a devoted dad, kind, considerate, educated, hard working and all-round decent. Hates football.

        I can understand being put off British men though. A night out in any British town centre would convince any sane woman to add “being from the UK” to her deal-breaker list. For the very same reason British women have a bad reputation, for our ladette ways and awful, awful, awful hen party antics.

        Ah well, a diamond will always stand out in a hand full of gravel. So as long as we go in to the search knowing that we’ll have to rummage for a good ‘un, the lesser-spotted decent British bloke shall prevail!

        • admin

          Ah yes – it’s slim pickings out there, but I do know of some very decent British men. It’s just sad that they’re a minority.

          As someone who now lives abroad, though, I really don’t need to bother with them. And I don’t! 🙂

  • red

    I tend to agree, but then on the other hand, find the whole thing terribly depressing I’m looking at the 3 years ahead, living here work-bound. I have in fact in all seriousness considered all sorts of escape routes (leaves of absence, internships, anything please! just get me out of here)- men here are indeed so very unattractive- behavior/ personality-wise- that I might have as well gone to a monastery for this time.

    • admin

      So what is it about them that you like the least?

  • Joaquin

    Hey, I find this somewhat annoyingly true! I’m half English half Maltese, I can say that around half of English guys are probably like this, especially when out with their friends or intoxicated, however, I assure you, if you stray to less mainstream bars and cafes, you’ll find a huge amount of people who are absolutely nothing like this, people who know how to articulate, treat women correctly and have amazing sense of humours (the Colin Firths if you will). I think this half just about make Britain worth it!

    • admin

      Hey, thanks for reading 🙂 I have, for the sake of this piece, completely generalised, but I do know that away from the bars and clubs that there are decent British men out there – they’re just a little harder to find, that’s all!

  • Nelca Joy E. Magallanes

    Hahaha. The best and funniest blog I’ve read.

    • Andrea

      Lol, happy you can relate 🙂

  • Tealja .

    I’m currently travelling around the UK, and something I noticed is that a lot of guys call you “love”. At first I thought it was sort of cute or meant to be endearing or something but now it actually comes across as sort of rude to me, so I litterally googled “why do british men call you love” and the first thing that came up was this blog “My problem with british men.” I thought that was pretty funny haha You’re so right though, small part of me wishes I never came here, because it has crushed my dreams of finding my Mr. Darcy. Worst is, they are frightingly similar to the Dutch men, so I’ve decided to move to Italy lol Great blog!

    • Andrea

      Hahaha, yeah – ‘you alright, love?’ That’s their favourite question. Always with the ‘love’ at the end. Good luck with the Italy move – I’m sure it will be a lot of fun 😉

  • Richard

    As a British male (I wanted to see what foreign women think etc), I had to wince, especially at point 1. Whilst I’d hope I’d not fall into any of the aforementioned castes, I’m certainly partial to the undercurrents they represent. If I may add my perspective, you have to consider several points.

    Firstly, we’re pseudo American; capitalism has slowly seeped through the pores of our – albeit mongrel – culture. Whilst appearing quite innocently, it has (since my generation < 1990) devoid us of much of our cultural heritage. This is much worse in the States (replace "love" for "babe"); commoditization has every man to thinking he can have a "supermodel" (praying mantis with no personality?). I suppose women get it too (Colin Firth? Jonny Depp) – love of individualism has been replaced by fake representations of what the lizard brain wants to mate with. That's why you get most men luring over FHM's latest.

    Secondly, I think the core of the issue is that British men are unable to express their feelings. I don't know why, but it's the reason you get the boyish behaviour when it comes to romance. It's the same with alcohol (and by the way, this is much much much much worse in the States); shitty "chat up lines", no idea about how to take care of an incredible partner, setting their standards unbelievably high – it's synonymous with insecurity / immaturity.

    This is also exemplified with our fear of assimilating other languages / cultures. I never understood "penis envy" until I experienced other folks conversing in 4 or 5 languages.

    Thirdly, much of men's value (ego?) is tied up in how well he "provides". If a man doesn't provide, I'd imagine the hints for him to buckle up would be coming thick and fast. The way men are paid is to appear constrained, controlled, "masculine" (kind of likes Daniel Craig's James Bond without the guns and women). Effeminacy is often a turn-off in business circles (I know because I've seen it); I've also seen the more "tuned in" a man is to business, the less he is able to express himself romantically. This is where much of the diffidence originates; tuning out of the "logical" mind takes a lot of time. What earns money doesn't earn female accolades.

    Lastly, you have to consider the calibre of man you've been around. Many of my male friends never call women "love", all endear themselves to long term relationships, into which they can actually invest themselves. Many of the gripes you mentioned would be expected from the less sophisticated in *any* society.

    Which leads me onto my conclusion.

    Although British men are awkward and lack certain finesse, I think your observations are that of the wider caste (men and women) who never muster the courage to grow up. You obviously have; most men never progress past the "fresh out of puberty" stage, end up with a wife they went to school with, using FHM etc to liven up their boring lives.

    Whilst we don't have the style of Italians, the finesse of the French, the passion of the Spanish, the efficiency of the Germans, we do have the imperialistic, calm nature which lends itself to respect and regard. A "gentleman" as you put it. Hard to imagine, but not so long ago, we British were responsible for an Empire onto which the sun never set.

    British men – learned ones at least – have a certain reverence in the world which I've found to be very special. Being British is a safe bet for many foreign women. We're trusted, somewhat liked, and revered as part of a global intelligentsia. If you mention you're British – especially English – whilst in many countries, you're treated as aloof of many of the petty problems a "small" country would proliferate — as if being part of our nation gives us automatic responsibility.

    American & Canadian women fall hook line and sinker. And whilst French and Italian boys may do well for some nocturnal frolics, British men are definitely more husband material.

    Such is the way with men. Who wouldn't love a Monica Bellucci to come home to? But alas. Would she understand – or even care about – savings accounts, investments, financial acumen, starting & growing business interests? Likely not. Nor would her father.

    Therein lies your quandary. Do you want an amigo or a Sir.

    PS you'll want to look at the film "Idiocracy" to see a good example of the sexual behaviour you've alluded to.

    • Briony

      Nice comment. Not that Andrea is totally wrong but, as a foreign woman my view is closer to yours than to hers. Thank you for sharing.

    • Αλίκη

      You have an “imperialistic and calm nature that lends itself to respect and regard”? In other words, you have a patronizing, demeaning, or blazé attitude that makes you look down on others as (mostly annoying or loud) brads, better to be ignored and avoided? Even more so, I suppose, considering they know nothing about how to run a business or an empire? Well, I’ve got alarming news for you, “Sir”: No woman in her right mind would feel respect and regard for someone who would think of her like that or treat her like that. In fact, I can think of a rather ugly word many women would use to describe that person. Pity!

      • S MacMillan

        I think he meant that while British men are not as ‘showy’ and outgoing as their French and Italian counterparts, they come off as better choices in the long run than most Italian and French men. I would have to say I have that impression. Showiness is an act. It fades. British, Irish, and Scottish men do seem like the types less likely to cheat, abandon families, file for divorce of no reason, refuse to work, refuse to help out around the house, ignore women and children, do a disappearing act, become violent, become verbally abusive, sleep with prostitutes, take up drug trafficking and gun toiting. There is plenty that could be said of certain types of North American men that is really not pleasant (they always claim it is women’s fault-their default defense mechanism). I could see why foreign women would consider British and Irish men over their own local men and Italian/French men.

        • Mas Salleh

          Except that divorce is more rampant in UK.

  • The Crazy running guy

    Andrea thank you that was refreshing, a good read and very well written. I do envy you being a very knowledgeable and capable writer I would like to aspire but am too old and well too American and you well know we terrible writers and won’t admit it. Your style is confident, supported but not condescending and rather to the point. I do disagree with you though, regarding the attractiveness of Cheryl Cole, (I really didn’t know who she was and required a Google search), she is a beauty. Anyway now that it out of the way considering that you are attractive and apparently well traveled and educated, from your experience what men for which would you find more desirable and worthy of spending more time?

  • Charodeyka

    I realize I’m reading an article from 2012 and am late to the party. An interesting and enlightening read. Thank you Andrea. Also thank you Richard for your informative reply. Will reflect on both your viewpoints when I’m there. A field experiment to look forward to :))

  • Jamie Bowden

    Andrea, you need to either change your social haunts or your social circle a bit more if these experiences are what has informed your perception of British men. Your generalisation is beyond parody. It would be like the absurd notion of a British writer and author expressing the view that the personal hygeine of Mediterranean women is suspect, or that French women smell of garlic. You have a comic book steroetyping of British men. I see you are in Dubai. Maybe its time for a relocation to another more enlightened society if the only British men you meet are like that.

    • Maria Ackerman

      Exactly,my british boyfriend is nothing like that.However,maybe both of you are the exceptions.

  • Mary

    I dated a Brit and discovered there is a lot of truth in what you say. I was surprised at the immaturity and outdated attitudes. Live and learn.

  • Sam Carruthers

    Hmmm. The last thing I would say to a women is “Nice tits love”. I reckoned what’s happened here is that the Andria (the journalist writing this) came close to getting her Colin Firth type here but it didn’t work out. Better Luck next time Andria. All I can say is when I went to Greece I was over whelmed by their beauty. I wasn’t expecting it at all. It hit me like a train.

    • Mas Salleh

      Came close?
      More like she didn’t found any.Or perhaps she met those Russel Brand types.
      And just be aware of those brit tourist hating greeks.I recall one brit tourist got burn by greek girl in 2009(literally).

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