It has been a spectacular 18 months for Britain: a royal wedding, a jubilee celebration, and now we're hosting the Olympic Games. We are, to use a common British phrase, "the dog's bollocks" in 2012.
As a British man living in the States, I am not totally oblivious to the fact that many Americans have a love of all things British. But it seems that American gay men have a particular penchant for the accent. I have no idea whether this is true of American gay women. I can only assume that their attraction to Keira Knightly is less about the accent and more about the foreplay of getting her out of a period costume dress. That's hours of fun with ruffles, corsets, and petticoats.
But today I write as a public service to the American men who may need a few words of advice should they happen upon a dapper member of my glorious nation. I write from experience, as I personally have fallen victim to the mistakes of many American men in the past, and the horrors have haunted me ever since.
For example, I once met an American who, in the throes of passion, demanded that I speak to him like an old British schoolmaster. Strange indeed, but because he was a former college gymnast (and because I'd had one drink too many) I kindly obliged. Unfortunately, in my merry state the only thing that came to mind was a Hogwarts professor. After half an hour of my best Severus Snape impression, the deduction of 200 house points, and the threat of expulsion, he was one step away from being an ever-pleasing house elf, willing to try anything in any position I asked.
Don't judge me: House elves live to serve. I live with my shame.
So, without further ado, I offer these kind words of wisdom: a list of dos and don'ts that should assist you as you navigate your way into the arms of any British gentleman you might happen upon in a bar (unless he is a Conservative member of parliament, in which case these tips would work just as well in any public wooded area).
- Do identify the accent correctly. I cannot stress how important this is. No one wants to be accused of being Australian.
- Don't approach unless you are positive we sound like a prince/criminal mastermind/fay squire of the hamlet.
- Do compliment us on our dashing smiles.
- Don't scream your surprise when you discover that you can't see any wooden pegs jutting from our gums. British dentistry has made great strides in the past few decades. In fact, most of us have even started using toothbrushes on a daily basis.
- Do ask after our monarchy. Many of us are proud of this great British institution, and it makes for a great introduction. The Queen rides around in helicopters with James Bond, for goodness' sake. Can it get any better?
- Don't ask if we have met them. This is ridiculous. Of course we have. They're charming. Especially the young ginger one. (And in light of recent events, it's probably wise not to mention that Mitt Romney fellow, either.)
- Do ask how large our castle is. We may not actually live in one, but we won't tell you that. Trust us, it's huge.
- Don't tell us about your house share on Fire Island, P-Town, or Rehoboth Beach. Our castles are better.
- Do feel free to tell us how you saved our arses in World War II.
- Don't forget that we have given you Ben Cohen and made Downton Abbey possible. We consider the debt repaid. You're welcome.
- Do express your love and extensive knowledge of Brit pop music.
- Don't tell us that Adele is your favorite because each of her songs connects with you on "such a deep, profound and personal level." We were all moved. You're not special.
- Do compliment us on our bodies. The rain in Britain tends to drive us inside much of the year. Many of us take cover at the gym.
- Don't ask if we're uncut. We are. And yes, it does feel much better.
- Do ask us to talk some more. After all, the accent is what attracted you to us.
- Don't try to mimic the accent. Shouting, "'Ello, Mary! You need your chimney swept tonight, love?" across a crowed bar in your best Dick Van Dyke voice will only embarrass us both.
So far, so good? OK, now you have queued politely at the bar by his side and bought him enough cold beer to soften his stiff upper lip. You've won him over, and you're in the taxi headed to your place. Good for you! But don't get ahead of yourself and mess things up now. Both of your expectations are in place: you are a militant top, hung like Jeff Stryker, and wearing a jockstrap. He is a horcrux that needs to be destroyed by a powerful sword.
Once you arrive at your place, you should lovingly place his bowler hat on the bed knob and adjust the lighting on your Ikea lamps so his blinding pale skin doesn't require sunglasses to behold. But before the fun begins, there are a few more things worth mentioning.
- Do remember we are "as God intended."
- Don't grab our junk and shake it like the fist of an angry orchard owner at an apple thief. Please don't play with it, either. It's not a toy. Or rather, it is, but a delicate and sensitive toy.
- Do feel free to talk during sex if and/or when it's appropriate. Everyone likes a few words of encouragement now and then.
- Don't keep repeating, "You like that, don't cha?" There are only so many times one can scream, "Yes, that's simply delightful!" into a pillow and still sound genuine.
- Do avoid the word "awesome" during sex. It is overused and should be reserved for situations that truly inspire awe.
- Don't think we don't already know how awesome we are.
- Do take the time to appreciate that you have bedded a nobleman from the motherland and have brought him to climax.
- Don't shout, "The British are coming, the British are coming!"
- Do feel free to say how much you have enjoyed the experience. You may, for example, tell us that the passion you felt was unlike any you have ever experienced, and that we have left an imprint on your soul forevermore.
- Don't attempt to high-five us afterwards. It's an '80s-movie throwback and leaves us feeling like one of the Goonies that has just been abused.
- Do present us with jewels as a token of your appreciation. Ever seen the crown jewels? We like them big and sparkly.
- Don't sling us a bag of Doritos and an iced "tea" (if you can call it that) and expect us to stay the night for "huggles," whatever the hell they are.
- Do realize this is what is: a consensual meeting to strengthen relations between Anglo-Saxon allies, nothing more.
- Don't insist we join you at a party your "buddy" is throwing the following day. Especially not if there is a hot tub involved. What is it with gay men and hot tubs in this country?
Right, chaps, I hope that this will be of some use to you as you go forth in the quest of bedding a Brit. Please remember that we are not all Simon Cowell. We will not judge you until you feel like a tone-deaf, teenage chanteuse whose dream is being torn to ribbons on a public stage. Of course we will judge you. But we will keep it all inside, because that is the politely British thing to do. Well, unless you'd rather we didn't.
But I bet you kind of like that, don't cha?
Follow Greg Hogben on Twitter: www.twitter.com/thebritishdevil