Sunday, March 25, 2007

Aliens Attack

A typical Briton preparing to unleash himself on the flower of American womanhood.

There were a couple of related stories on the BBC website late last week that had a fair amount of resonance for me. First up was actor, wit, and Mondale's role model* Stephen Fry, who caused a stir by suggesting that the continued success of British actors in Hollywood had less to do with their stage chops and more to do with their elongated vowels:

Brit actors 'judged on accents'

And then the BBC's own pontificators had a bit of a ramble over the subject of British accents in America in general:

Gee, I just love your accent

As my accent and myself having lived in the US for 12 years I'm somewhat of an expert on this phenomenon. I can't speak for my female counterparts, but I've found as a chap that a little drop of one's Gordon's gin accent often will smooth the path in professional or personal encounters. Much of what is said in the two BBC articles is undeniably yet superficially true, but let me offer my fellow British men a word of caution. Accent adoration has a half-life formula, which I'll try to lay out below:

Accent adorability = Degree of resemblance to Hugh Grant + hair floopiness + general bashful loveliness / amount of time someone actually spends with you after realizing that you are as obsessed with sport as much as American men + potency of your farts + first time you are observed out of your nut on Theakston's Old Peculier

Its a slightly different formula for the workplace, but not much.

(*Except for the celibate homosexuality)


Mondale said...

I have said it once, I shall say it again and I shall tell my boy as soon as he's old enough.
"The pound is frightfully stong against the dollar"

weasel said...

but only to a certain point and only against the weak minded.... Never over play the hand lest he risk becoming that Toby Young fellow.

mainelife said...

Your sports obsessions are much more quaint (cricket vs. American football or fox hunting vs. NASCAR, for instance) than American sports obsessions.
The quaintness of the sports negates the "out of the nut" portion of the divider. Sadly, nothing balances out the tooters, but you're still ahead of the American male.

msdee said...

I love the British accent and I think I am pretty good at speaking in a British accent, just ask Mondale i read an entire book in the accent , one year in his classroom BBBUUUTTTT I hate how people (especially women) get all ga ga over the accent.
I have had many experiences while working with Mondale on how parents and others get all flabbergasted when he speaks and don't even notice me on the side rolling my eyes at their stupidity and obvious ga ganess(couldnt think of better word)
It's the same for a man with a spanish accent, my husband has charmed many women just by speaking.
It's so ridiculous.
Especially if you know my husband or Mondale :)

Mondale said...

I hate how people (especially women) get all ga ga over the accent.


Stop it! Be quiet, you'll give the whole bloody game away!

Clockwatcher said...

Your formula is positively brilliant! Did that sound too British? What with the brilliant and all? It's a shame the American Hillbilly accent doesn't have the same mesmerizing affect on people. My family would be on top of the heap.

SkookumJoe said...

women here like my Canadian accent, they think I'm a very polite American, whereas men routinely tell me to "speak 'stralian, mate" and stop using big words like 'whereas'.

weasel said...

Although they would probably chunder all over my patio for saying it, I have a sneaking suspicion that your average Aussie bloke is much closer to your average red state American than you lovely Canadians are, Joe. Not to knock the standard issue Ocker, but just to acknowledge that we most condemn in others what we fear to see in ourselves.

Ms Clockwathcher, I do beg to differ somewhat. I loved the hillbilly accent as a child hearing it on TV. At least coming from this mouth.

Clockwatcher said...

I'd guess that as a young child, Elly May's skin tight plaid shirts may have had you as bewitched as her accent.