It’s Saturday night at the Slug and Lettuce in Kingston and a group of ‘lads’ are surrounding the bar. They all seem to be trying to cover as much space as their matter will allow. Shoulders pushed back and chests punched out, designer stubble, trendy tattoos and all with 1950’s crew cuts.
I have to walk through them to get to the bar and as I do I genuinely choke on the air. Their rigid bodies are drenched in colognes that have mixed together creating a toxic gas that would give an acid junkie a head rush. I hold my breath.
At the bar I order a pint and take a look around. Groups of girls are dancing as their hair shimmers under disco lights. A blur of orange faces seem to stick together like used blobs of play dough and I struggle to find where one face ends and another begins, and I’m not drunk I swear.
So I ask myself: Is glossy hair and a plasticine face the look that young girls are going for these days? A night out in Kingston Town certainly seems to suggest so.
But who am I kidding? This combination of orange faces and foul fragrances is not a new revelation. The UK is famous in Europe for girls who hit the town in mini skirts drowning in fake tan. British lads on tour who bubble in groups, smelling rough and looking tough are notorious in Europe.
This European stereotype of British girls became very clear to me when I moved to Spain last year. Don’t get me wrong, the Spanish I know love English people and seem deluded with the idea, that London is the best place on earth.
Their view of our girls however is far less flattering. On many occasions in Spain I found myself (bizarrely) defending English girls’ honour. When discussing the stereotypical views, the reoccurring themes that came up were: they drink too much, wear too much make up and essentially are not pretty.
Now you and I know that this just isn’t true. I am a firm believer that English girls are wonderful and indeed have a rare and warm beauty. These stereotypes truly do not do English girls justice at all. However, they did not bloom out of thin air, so where do they come from?
A lot of Europeans who have visited England tell me that the food is rubbish and the girls are un-pretty. When I ask them what British food they have tried, often I hear: “Fish and Chips”.
My response is simple. If you go to a cheap chip shop late at night, expect to get greasy and feel like shit the next day. Go to a good British gastro though, and you might wake up with a different point of view.
Let me take you back to the Slug and lettuce. Mingling through the crowds, breathing at intervals so as to prevent asphyxiation, I start checking out some of the girls, as you do.
After sufficient inspection I notice that some of these ‘English girls’ aren’t actually English at all. The place is filled with young ladies from all over Europe and beyond.
The more I think about it, in all the countries I’ve been to I’ve seen this type of girl who’s caked deep in make up and drunk on low self esteem. It’s not English, it’s just a style and like any style, it is prevalent in certain places.
The truth is that England is home to millions of beautiful intelligent girls with high self-esteem and like every other country, it has its fair share of stinkers too.
So before you generalize about what girls are like in this country, make sure you venture a little further than just the local brewery on a Saturday night. You never know what you might find.